Travis Kelce came into Monday night’s game with a tremendous amount of pressure on his shoulders as the Kansas City Chiefs looked to get back into the swing of things following a bye week.
The only thing standing between them was a rematch of Super Bowl LVII against the Philadelphia Eagles. There was no better way for Kelce to come out swinging amid the noise about how he plays when his girlfriend Taylor Swift does not come to see him.
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Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, #87, flexes to celebrate a 4-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter of an NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs on Nov 20, 2023 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
All should have been well. Kelce visited Swift during his bye week while she was on her tour in Argentina. He got some extra rest coming out of the team’s win against the Miami Dolphins in Germany.
There was no question – Kelce made an impact early in the game. He ended his touchdown-less drought with a touchdown catch with under two minutes to play in the first half. However, he did not get his first target or catch until 8:26 left in the second quarter.
Then, he went quiet.
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He was called upon in the fourth quarter to make a play. He made a catch and then the ball was punched away from his grasp. On the Chiefs’ final drive, he dropped a pass from Patrick Mahomes before he followed up with a catch on fourth down.
That was it.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce celebrates as he scores on a 4-yard run during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, in Kansas City, Missouri. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Kelce finished with seven catches for 44 yards and the touchdown. He was targeted nine times. Kansas City lost the game to the Eagles, 21-17.
The chatter around Kelce’s play is not going to get any quieter. Swift was not in attendance on Monday night – neither were her parents, despite rumors about their parents meeting each other.
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The Swift effect will get some more legs. Kelce had 34 catches for 432 yards and two touchdowns when she was in attendance for his games. In the last game she attended, Kelce had 12 catches for 179 yards and a touchdown. The Chiefs topped the Los Angeles Chargers 31-17 in that game, but that was back on Oct. 22.
On Oct. 25, Chiefs coach Andy Reid commented on Kelce’s improved stats with his girlfriend in attendance.
“Taylor can stay around as long as she wants,” he said last month.
Travis Kelce, #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs, fumbles the ball after being hit by Bradley Roby, #33, and Zach Cunningham, #52 of the Philadelphia Eagles, in the second half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Nov. 20, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Swift’s international leg of her tour ends on Nov. 26. In theory, she would be free to follow Kelce and the Chiefs to finish the regular season. Her tour does not start up again until Feb. 7 in Tokyo.
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Ryan Gaydos is a senior editor for Fox News Digital.