All season long, the Kansas City Chiefs have been seeking any sort of secondary target in the passing game to take pressure off of star tight end Travis Kelce. Kelce has long been the sole source of consistency for Patrick Mahomes in the passing game but it's possible that rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice could be emerging at just the right time.
With six weeks remaining in the 2023 season, the Chiefs just got their best performance so far this season out of the rookie Rice, a second-round pick out of SMU. Against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 12, he had eight receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown. But more than just one big game, we've been seeing some consistent signs over the last six weeks that Rice is emerging as a legitimate threat.
In the opportunities he's been given this season, Rice has led the entire NFL in yards after the catch per reception with 8.4 YAC/reception. At the wide receiver position, that's the best in the league by nearly a full yard over Lions WR Kalif Raymond.
The Chiefs' offense has lacked a true threat at the wide receiver position since Tyreek Hill was traded. As we saw last year, it didn't end up mattering all that much as the players the Chiefs assembled wound up making enough plays to help the team in a Super Bowl. And they could do it again in 2023, but they might actually have a threat at wide receiver that can create opportunities for Travis Kelce as well as create explosive plays for the Chiefs' offense on his own.
Not to the degree of Tyreek Hill, of course, but Rice has dynamic speed, he's got great size, and he's capable of doing things like this as well:
The Chiefs have a big matchup this coming weekend against the Green Bay Packers where Rice's skills will once again be put to the test against a talented Green Bay secondary.
How long can Rice keep this up? Is he emerging at just the right time? With his first 100-yard game of the year, it certainly looks like the Chiefs might have discovered that missing piece of their offense when they needed it most.