The Kansas City Chiefs' Week 11 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles highlighted plenty of the team's shortcomings and also confirmed some of its perceived best parts.
Steve Spagnuolo's defense, for example, was once again a very stout group for the most part and was borderline championship-caliber. The Kansas City offense showed flashes of being productive in the first half but down the stretch, it faded and was the leading reason why Andy Reid's club lost. Somewhere in the middle, the enigma of Kadarius Toney provided some intrigue on a night scattered with it on both sides of the ball.
Part of that was due to a thumb injury to wide receiver Mecole Hardman. After Monday's game, head coach Andy Reid confirmed the ailment and tipped his cap to Toney for the job he did as a returner in relief.
"Mecole's thumb, he hurt [it] in the first half," Reid said. "I thought Kadarius did a nice job stepping in for him in the punt game."
Bringing back six punts, Toney recorded 58 yards. His first went for 21, bringing the ball into Philadelphia territory at the 45-yard line and setting the Chiefs' offense up for its second and final touchdown of the evening. After that, the third-year man logged a 16-yard return that again put Kansas City on the opponent's side of the field to start a drive. That possession, another scoring one, led to a field goal. A 10-yard bring-back ensued for Toney on his next attempt, but it was his last of that nature the rest of the way. Still, three nice jolts of energy helped set the Chiefs up in a decent position.
In a move that many were wondering about, Kansas City even got Toney involved on offense. In his last three games combined, he had four total touches. On Monday, the former first-round pick matched that mark on two receptions and a pair of rush attempts. Toney being weaponized a bit more within the system was a development that several Chiefs fans pounded the table for during the bye week, and Reid obliged. Part of the prior limitation was due to load management, something Reid recently admitted to, but he praised Toney for handling more work in stride this week.
"Yeah, well, we did tonight," Reid said of working Toney in. "It's mainly the health part. He had a great week of practice. I've been cautious with him with his knee. We upped his load this week, and he handled it and did a good job."
Staying healthy has always been the first and foremost question mark with Toney. The former Florida standout played in just 10 games during his rookie season, then wasn't very durable in 2022 with the New York Giants and later once he came over to Kansas City via trade. Back in July, he suffered a knee injury on the first day of this year's full-squad training camp. He's been on the injury report with minor ailments since then.
Toney has managed to play in every regular-season game but saw his workload cut into once Hardman got back into the fold. Heck, he even briefly exited Monday's game when his own hand/wrist area appeared to get banged up. As Reid and the rest of Kansas City's coaching staff attempt to get Toney more looks, though, him playing through discomfort and doing well will help his case. It's far better than the alternative. Despite the Chiefs' loss, Toney's mini-resurgence was a bright spot for them.