Travis Kelce is hands-down one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history, but he’s nowhere near being done. He just completed his 10th season in the league and has spent his entire career with the Kansas City Chiefs – the same team that selected him in the third round (No. 63 overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft.
His rookie year didn’t quite go as planned, though. He didn’t play in Week 1 and only played one snap with the special teams in Week 2 before having season-ending knee surgery. He returned the following season and ended the 2014 campaign as the Chiefs’ leading receiver with 67 catches and 862 yards.
It wasn’t until 2016 that he finally recorded his first 1,000-yard season, but he has reached that mark every season since – establishing himself as one of the league’s best. Now through 144 career games played, Kelce has 814 catches for 10,344 yards and 71 total touchdowns – including two rushing TDs.
Travis Kelce Has Been Unstoppable in the Playoffs
There’s no doubting Travis Kelce in the regular season, but he has been just as reliable in the playoffs and has now helped lead his team to two Super Bowl championships in the past four seasons. He made his playoff debut during the 2015 season and has played at least one playoff game in every season since.
Over the past eight seasons, Kelce has played in 18 playoff games – including three playoff games in each of the past four seasons. And, while he didn’t record his first playoff touchdown until 2017, he has recorded at least 200 yards and three touchdowns in each of the past four playoffs – which is unheard of.
All in all, Travis Kelce now has 133 catches (165 targets) for 1,548 yards and 16 touchdowns in 18 career playoff games. He’s averaging 86 yards per game in the playoffs and has an 80.6% catch rate – he has only fumbled the ball once in the playoffs. There’s a reason teams have a hard time stopping the Chiefs!
To commemorate his second Super Bowl win on February 12, let’s take a look back at each of his playoff performances since entering the league – starting with his playoff debut on January 9, 2016.
18. Chiefs Defeat Texans 30-0 (Jan. 9, 2016)
On January 9, 2016, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs clobbered the Houston Texans 30-0 in the 2015 Wild Card – advancing to the Divisional Round. Kelce finished the game with 10 targets, 8 catches, and 128 yards, leading all receivers with Alex Smith as his QBs. Houston didn’t have an answer for him.
The Chiefs started the game with a 106-yard kickoff return TD by Knile Davis and never looked back. Chris Conley caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Smith in the third quarter to take a 20-0 lead, while Spencer Ware added to their lead with a 5-yard rushing touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter.
17. Patriots Defeat Chiefs 27-20 (Jan. 16, 2016)
On January 16, 2016, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the New England Patriots 27-20 in the 2015 Divisional Round. Kelce struggled to make an impact with just 23 yards – despite having 9 targets and 6 catches. He had a 13-yard reception, but averaged just 2 yards per catch with his other 5.
The Chiefs failed to score a touchdown in the first half, but were down just 14-6 as they entered the third quarter. Alex Smith threw a 10-yard passing touchdown to Albert Wilson, but they were still down 21-13 and didn’t score again until late in the fourth quarter. By then, it was too late and the Patriots moved on.
16. Steelers Defeat Chiefs 18-16 (Jan. 15, 2017)
On January 15, 2017, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 18-16 in the 2016 Divisional Round. Kelce finished the game with 7 targets, 5 catches, and 77 yards with Alex Smith as his quarterback, but still hadn’t scored his first playoff touchdown. His longest catch was for 24 yards.
The Chiefs took an early 7-3 lead when Smith threw a 5-yard touchdown to Albert Wilson, but allowed the Steelers to make four unanswered field goals to take a 15-7 lead. Kansas City attempted a late comeback with a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Spencer Ware, but their 2-point conversion failed – a heartbreaker.
15. Titans Defeat Chiefs 22-21 (Jan. 6, 2018)
On January 6, 2018, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Tennessee Titans 22-21 in the 2017 Wild Card. Kelce had just 4 targets and 4 catches, but made the most out of his touches – finishing with 66 yards and the first playoff touchdown of his career. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for the win.
Kelce was ballin’ in the first quarter. He had a 14-yard catch just 50 seconds into the game and a 27-yard catch five minutes later – which helped set up a Kareem Hunt rushing touchdown. Kelce’s 13-yard TD came with two minutes left in the first quarter and he also had a 12-yard catch late in the second quarter.
14. Chiefs Defeat Colts 31-13 (Jan. 12, 2019)
On January 12, 2019, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-13 in the 2018 Divisional Round – advancing to the AFC Championship. Kelce finished with 10 targets, 7 catches, and 108 yards, marking his second career 100-yard playoff game and first with Patrick Mahomes at QB.
Kelce had a big first quarter with a 16-yard catch, 14-yard catch, and 16-yard catch as Mahomes looked for him early. He had another 10-yard catch, 30-yard catch, and 7-yard catch in the second quarter. His final reception was a 15-yard catch four minutes into the third quarter. He led all receivers in yards.
13. Patriots Defeat Chiefs 37-31 (Jan. 20, 2019)
On January 20, 2019, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the New England Patriots 37-31 in the 2018 AFC Championship game. For the second time in his playoff career, Kelce struggled to make an impact against the Patriots – finishing with 5 targets, 3 catches, and 23 yards – he did have a TD, though.
Kelce didn’t record a catch in the first quarter, but had a 9-yard reception and 2-yard reception in the second quarter. His 12-yard touchdown reception came just two minutes into the third quarter, but he struggled the rest of the way – including a fumble that got called back due to a pass interference call.
12. Chiefs Defeat Texans 51-31 (Jan. 12, 2020)
On January 12, 2020, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Houston Texans 51-31 in the 2019 Divisional Round – advancing to the AFC Championship game. Kelce had the best playoff game of his career, finishing with 12 targets, 10 catches, 134 yards, and a whopping 3 touchdowns in the victory.
Kelce had 2 catches for 20 yards in the first quarter before dominating the second quarter – he had 6 catches for 63 yards and scored all three of his TDs within a 7-minute span in the quarter. He also had 2 catches for 51 yards in the third quarter. His 134 yards and 3 touchdowns are both playoff career-highs.
11. Chiefs Defeat Titans 35-24 (Jan. 19, 2020)
On January 19, 2020, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Tennessee Titans 35-24 in the 2019 AFC Championship – punching their ticket into Super Bowl LIV. It wasn’t the best game for Kelce, but his team got the win thanks to Sammy Watkins’ 114 yards and Tyreek Hill’s two touchdowns.
Kelce ultimately finished the game with 4 targets, 3 catches, and 30 yards. He had 2 catches for 12 yards late in the first quarter and an 18-yard catch late in the second quarter, but didn’t receive a single target in the second half. Luckily, his team scored 28 unanswered points in the second half to make up for it.
10. Chiefs Defeat 49ers 31-20 (Feb. 2, 2020)
On February 2, 2020, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV – the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory since 1969. Kelce was targeted six times and finished with 6 catches for 43 yards and one touchdown – and, boy, was it an important touchdown!
Kelce had 2 catches for 20 yards in the first quarter. While he didn’t receive a target in the second quarter, he did have 2 catches for 13 yards in the third quarter. After drawing a pass interference call, he caught a 1-yard TD halfway through the fourth quarter to give his team the lead, which catapulted them to the win.
9. Chiefs Defeat Browns 22-17 (Jan. 17, 2021)
On January 17, 2021, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Cleveland Browns 22-17 in the 2020 Divisional Round – advancing to the AFC Championship game. Kelce had himself a very good game, finishing with 10 targets, 8 catches, 109 yards (one yard behind Tyreek Hill), and one touchdown.
Kelce had just one catch for 7 yards in the first quarter, but had a 20-yard touchdown catch just one minute into the second quarter – he also had a 14-yard, 9-yard, and 22-yard catch later in the quarter. He added an 2 catches for 13 yards in the third quarter, and a 24-yard reception in the fourth quarter.
8. Chiefs Defeat Bills 38-24 (Jan. 24, 2021)
On January 24, 2021, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Buffalo Bills 38-24 in the 2020 AFC Championship game – punching their ticket to Super Bowl LV, their second-straight Super Bowl appearance. Kelce finished with 15 targets, 13 receptions, 118 yards, and two touchdowns in the win.
Kelce started the game hot with 4 catches for 37 yards in the first quarter and followed that up with 5 catches for 55 yards in the second quarter – he had 9 catches for 92 yards in the first half. He added 2 catches for 9 yards and one TD in the third quarter, and a 2 catches for 17 yards and one TD in the fourth.
7. Buccaneers Defeat Chiefs 31-9 (Feb. 7, 2021)
On February 7, 2021, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV – they couldn’t stop Tom Brady from getting his 7th career Super Bowl win. Kelce played well and finished with 15 targets, 10 catches, and 133 yards, but couldn’t seem to find the endzone.
Kelce started the game cold with just one catch for 6 yards in the first quarter, but had 4 catches for 41 yards in the second quarter – all coming on the same drive. He added just one catch for 8 yards in the third quarter, but had 4 catches for 78 yards in the fourth – one of his targets ended in an interception.
6. Chiefs Defeat Steelers 42-21 (Jan. 16, 2022)
On January 16, 2022, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 42-21 in the 2021 Wild Card – advancing to the Divisional Round. Kelce finished the game with 7 targets, 5 receptions, 108 yards, and one touchdown – he also threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Byron Pringle.
Kelce had two targets in the first quarter, but couldn’t bring either of them in. He exploded with 3 catches for 94 yards and one touchdown in the second quarter. The third quarter saw him bring in another 2 catches for 14 yards, while his 2-yard touchdown pass came in the fourth quarter. He was everywhere!
5. Chiefs Defeat Bills 42-36 (Jan. 23, 2022)
On January 23, 2022, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Buffalo Bills 42-36 in an overtime thriller in the 2021 Divisional Round – advancing to the AFC Championship game for the third straight year. Kelce finished with 9 targets, 8 catches, 96 yards, and the game-winning touchdown.
Kelce was limited to just one target and no catches in the first quarter, but had 3 catches for 34 yards in the second quarter. He added an 8-yard reception in the third quarter, 2 catches for 36 yards in the fourth quarter, and another 2 catches for 18 yards and a game-winning touchdown in the overtime period.
4. Bengals Defeat Chiefs 27-24 (Jan. 30, 2022)
On January 30, 2022, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Cincinnati Bengals 27-24 in the 2021 AFC Championship – missing out on a potential third-straight trip to the Super Bowl. Kelce was impressive from start to finish – ending the game with 11 targets, 10 catches, 95 yards, and one TD.
Kelce had a 10-yard reception in the first quarter and followed that up with 4 catches for 45 yards in the second quarter – one of those catches was a 5-yard touchdown. He had a 7-yard grab on the last play of the third quarter before having 4 catches for 31 yards in the fourth quarter – all on the same drive.
3. Chiefs Defeat Jaguars 27-20 (Jan. 21, 2023)
On January 21, 2023, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-20 in the 2022 Divisional Round – advancing to their fourth consecutive AFC Championship game. Kelce had his fingerprints all over the win, finishing the game with 17 targets, 14 catches, 98 yards, and 2 TDs.
Kelce had a spectacular first quarter with 6 catches for 40 yards and a touchdown, and followed that up with 4 catches for 15 yards and yet another touchdown. He added 2 catches for 17 yards in the third quarter and ended the game with 2 catches for 26 yards in the fourth quarter. He kept hauling them in!
2. Chiefs Defeat Bengals 23-20 (Jan. 28, 2023)
On January 28, 2023, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in the 2022 AFC Championship – advancing to their third Super Bowl in four years. Kelce had himself a fine performance in this one, finishing the game with 8 targets, 7 receptions, 78 yards, and one touchdown.
Kelce had 3 catches for 41 yards in the first quarter, but fumbled the ball after a 12-yard catch with two minutes left in the quarter – it was recovered by his teammate. He had a 14-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter and had 3 catches for 23 yards in the third quarter, but didn’t have a catch in the fourth.
1. Chiefs Defeat Eagles 38-35 (Feb. 12, 2023)
On February 12, 2023, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 in Super Bowl LVII – their second Super Bowl victory over the past four years. Kelce had a pretty good performance with 6 targets, 6 catches, 81 yards, and one TD – his second career TD in the Super Bowl.
Kelce was unstoppable in the first quarter, totaling 3 catches for 60 yards in the quarter – including an 18-yard touchdown reception halfway through the quarter. After no targets in the second quarter, he had 2 catches for 14 yards in the third quarter and followed that up with a 7-yard catch late in the fourth quarter.
Travis Kelce Has So Much More to Give
Travis Kelce is the most reliable tight end in the NFL today. Not only does he put up big numbers on a weekly basis, but he has only missed three regular season games over the past nine seasons. With seven consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and five consecutive 90-catch seasons, we know what to expect.
And with Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback, we can expect much of the same in the coming years. He has established himself as the Chiefs’ No. 1 receiver, which was evidenced by his career-high 152 targets and career-high 110 catches last season – he also set a career-high with 12 receiving touchdowns.
While it’s unclear if he can duplicate those numbers – let’s not forget he was just 79 yards away from a career-high in yards – we do know that he’s going to bring 100% to the team each and every game in 2024 and beyond. For that reason, the Chiefs will continue to be the team to beat in the AFC and NFL.
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