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DENVER – It was not until kickoff that the Kansas City Chiefs informed Mecole Hardman that fellow wide receiver Tyreek Hill landed the wrong way on his heel during the pre-match warm-up and sustained an injury that would keep him out for the most part. of Saturday’s game against the Denver Broncos.
Hardman, the Chiefs’ quick alternative to Hill, said he locked himself in and got ready for a big fight at the time.
“I certainly turned a switch,” Hardman said. “I’m ready for that kind of situation when they present themselves.
“You definitely need to have an extra boost knowing that you will be targeted a little bit more and the team will need you a little bit more.”
Hardman delivered to the Chiefs in their times of need. He had the first 100-yard game of his career, catching eight passes on 103 yards, to help the Chiefs end their regular season with a 28-24 win.
“Finally,” Hardman said in his third NFL season. “I finally got 100. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen 100 yards. I think it’s back to South Carolina vs. Georgia [in college] since I’ve seen 100 yards.
“It’s a great achievement. It’s definitely something to be proud of, especially when we got the win. Hopefully I can get some more of them.”
Hardman had been close to 100 yards earlier in his career and got 97 as a rookie in 2019 against the Baltimore Ravens and 96 last year against the New York Jets.
But his season-high had been 76 yards, and not much thought he would have a big game against the Broncos until Hill’s injury, which limited him to 16% of the Chiefs’ snaps.
“We were able to get the ball in [Hardman’s] hands fast and you saw him just explode. He played fast, very fast, “coach Andy Reid said.
Hardman delivered the Chiefs’ two longest passes of the game, 44 and 21 yards.
“He’s had games happen all season,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “He may not have the big numbers in terms of statistics all season, but in big moments he plays a lot of big games. He has all the talents in the world and we will need that going forward in the playoffs.
“None [else] is Tyreek. He is a special player [the likes of which] has never been seen in this league. But Mecole is pretty close. He has a lot of speed, he has a lot of shifts. “I’m sure he wants more stats and all those different things, but he’s prepared for this moment.”