Kadarius Toney took a ton of heat on social media after the Kansas City Chiefs fell to the Detroit Lions on Thursday Night Football, and for good reason. He was dropping passes left and right, struggled running the ball, and one of his targets deflected right off his hands and sprung the Lions interception that went for a touchdown.
Despite all of this, Pro Football Focus’ lead analyst Sam Monson called out fellow wide receiver Skyy Moore publicly after the game — rather than Toney.
“I’d be far more concerned about Skyy Moore than Kadarius Toney from that game,” Monson voiced. “Toney had drops, they were bad. We also know he can be an electric playmaker even if only as a gimmick player. Skyy Moore ran 31 routes & had 4 targets. The only pass he caught was negated by penalty.”
Later, Monson clarified in the comments that the point of his post was to highlight “how little [Moore] was targeted/looked at” despite being on the field for 31 routes. That typically means lack of separation by the receiver, or lack of trust from the quarterback.
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes Appeared to Trust Kadarius Toney More Than Skyy Moore Despite Constant Drops
With Moore, he attributed the lack of chemistry to “missed connections” throughout the night. “Something you have to continue to work on,” Mahomes added. “Like I said, [Moore’s] one of those guys that has a ton of talent, that can make a lot of big plays happen. So, we’ll learn from it and try to be better next time.”
Whatever the issue was between Mahomes and Moore, it wasn’t only evident in the eyes of Monson and the KC media. Arrowhead Pride film analyst Ron Kopp Jr. fired off a couple of posts about the second-year wideout using X (formerly Twitter) on September 8.
“Despite only playing 16 snaps, Kadarius Toney shared the WR lead in targets (5) and was looked to on 3rd downs & other crucial moments,” Kopp stated. “Team/QB clearly trust the ball in his hands, but not Skyy — who led room in snaps, yet was just run on motions and not used as in primary reads.”
Later, Kopp pointed out: “2 [out of] 3 [of] Skyy’s [targets] last night weren’t in the flow of play. One was the desperation heave he *should’ve* caught. The other was the jump ball off his fingers — but 15 [Mahomes] had to float it over a LB because he hesitated to trigger when Skyy was open initially.”
“Uncomfortable looking 24’s way,” the Arrowhead Pride analyst concluded regarding the current Mahomes-Moore relationship.
To support his argument, Kopp also shared that “Mahomes was not sacked [against the Lions], the 19th time in his career he’s got through a game clean. Among those games, last night was his lowest passer rating (77.5).”
At the bottom of this final post, he explained that the purpose of that information was to not to disparage Mahomes, but to further spotlight the poor pass-catching and route-running by the receiving unit as a whole.
Justin Watson & Marquez Valdes Scantling Lead Chiefs WR Corps in Week 1
It’s important to remember that this is only one game, but it’s also good to give credit where it’s due. Despite the hype surrounding Toney, Moore and second-year talent Justyn Ross, veterans Justin Watson and Marquez Valdes-Scantling led the way at wide receiver.
Yes, rookie Rashee Rice flashed as well — with a touchdown reception and three catches — but the frequently criticized Watson may have been the most impactful pass-catcher overall. His two receptions for 45 yards were just three yards behind “MVS” for the team lead, and don’t forget that the veteran drew a 41-yard defensive pass interference flag that helped produce another three points.
Valdes-Scantling added 48 receiving yards of his own, while the trio of Toney, Moore and Ross combined for just seven yards off two grabs (nine targets). Moore was also the only targeted skill position player that was held without a catch against the Lions.