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Reid: Travis Kelce has taken his game 'to another level'

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Travis Kelce has always been good with the ball in his hands. Now, the premier run-after-catch tight end in the NFL has upgraded his game.

Last week against Denver, Kelce set the Chiefs' record for receiving yards in a game by a tight end with 160. Anytime someone blasts past records set by future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez, praise is warranted.

With a week to go, Kelce has already set career highs in receiving yards (1,117) and receptions (84).

"I think he's taken his game to another level," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said of Kelce, via the team's official website. "He just knows what to do. He's not out there thinking where he has to line up, which route to run and all those things. He just goes out and plays now.

"You're getting the full gamut of his skills."

Kelce has earned 100-plus receiving yards in six games this season, the most by a tight end since at least 1999. Those six contests of 100-plus receiving yards are tied for second most among all players -- Julio Jones has seven such games.

Kelce leads all tight ends in receptions (84) and receiving yards this season and trails only Greg Olsen for the highest percentage of a team's targets (22.6 percent) and receptions (24.4 percent) among tight ends, per NFL Research.

When healthy, Patriots' Rob Gronkowski is the best tight end in football because he's a tremendous blocker, the best red-zone target in the NFL and a mismatch against defenders of all shapes and sizes.

Kelce is making up ground in the blocking department. The 27-year-old, fourth-year player has always been a good receiver, but on Christmas night provided two jaw-dropping blocks that set the edge for big plays on TD runs by quarterback Alex Smith and receiver Tyreek Hill.

"It's an isolation play -- if we get that look and the guy crashes it's him and me on the edge," Smith explained of his touchdown scamper. "[Kelce] is a premier catching tight end in the league and to have two huge blocks like that to spring guys -- huge block on Tyreek's run as well that got that going -- he does a lot for us.

"When you have those things from your key players on your team and in your locker room, those things rub off-those effort plays and guys giving it up. He's special. I do think he's ascending and getting better, but for him to do that I think sets a great example for the whole team."

The Chiefs have a shot at a first-round bye if they beat the Chargers in San Diego and the Raiders lose to the Broncos.

With Kelce's emergence as an every-down threat and Hill's explosive playmaking, to go along with a stout defense, the Chiefs are a team no AFC title contender wants to tussle with at Arrowhead.

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