Chiefs rookie Skyy Moore fumbled punt vs. Rams. This was his response right after

Nick Wagner/nwagner@kcstar.com

After stepping out of bounds, Kansas City Chiefs receiver Skyy Moore skipped four times and nodded, raising his arm to the crowd following an 18-yard reception against the Los Angeles Rams.

The extended celebration, in this instance, was understandable — especially considering what had just happened in the first quarter of KC’s 26-10 home victory Sunday.

“That was right after the dropped punt, so I needed it,” Moore told The Star in front of his locker Wednesday. “I was feeling it. I needed to get back on my groove.”

In this instance, the rookie did that not just by contorting himself to catch a pass from quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

He did so — most importantly — by making an essential in-play adjustment required for his route to open up at all.

The adaptation traces back to Moore’s work at training camp in St. Joseph. During those summer weeks, Moore sat in the row behind Mahomes during film sessions and was able to tap him on the shoulder whenever he had questions about plays.

Moore’s growth with the offense has only picked up with experience over 11 regular-season contests.

“I don’t ask the same questions anymore,” Moore said. “Instead of like, ‘What route do I run or where do I line up?’ ... It’s, ‘How do I do it?’ versus, ‘What do I do?’ So the questions are next level now.”

And the answers are coming when they might not have earlier this season.

This first-quarter play shows some of that progress. Moore noticed that Rams defensive back David Long Jr. was creeping toward him before the snap, which indicated what was coming next.

Moore said he looked to the safety on his side of the field and saw he was playing deep. That — combined with the corner coming up — meant the Rams would be playing “cloud” coverage to his side of the field.

And that also meant an opening for a throw in the intermediate area between the cornerback and safety.

“Once you get more reps, it becomes easier,” Moore said. “Like, ‘Oh, I’ve seen this before.’”

The designed call had Moore running an out route, just like teammate Justin Watson was on the other end of the field.

That wasn’t going to work against this Rams defensive look, however. So Moore made the needed revision, changing to a fade route down the sideline while trying to place himself between two Rams defenders — an area commonly referred to as the “hole shot.”

Once Moore made his way past Long, he sensed the ball would be coming his way.

“I really think I’m coming along, just as far as like in the receiving game, just being on the same page as Pat,” Moore said. “And once you do that, everything starts to click it seems like.”

The 18-yard reception was just the start of a productive day for Moore. The second-round pick (54th overall) finished with five catches for 36 yards and was the second-highest graded player on the Chiefs offense according to Pro Football Focus, trailing only center Creed Humphrey.

For the season, Moore’s 74.6 PFF overall grade ranks fourth among rookie receivers with at least 23 targets. The three wideouts in front of him — Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson and Drake London — were all top-11 picks in April’s draft.

Mahomes said he wasn’t necessarily looking Moore’s way following the fumble to help him regain confidence, but instead found him as part of his normal progression. The quarterback also liked how his teammates were focused on looking ahead following Moore’s early mistake.

“We know the guys here are competing. They’re doing whatever they can to put everything on the line. And if something happens bad, we know the next time you get a chance, you’re gonna make a play happen,” Mahomes said. “That’s what great teams do, and that’s what great players do.”

Moore admitted that making the catch “felt good for me” following his punt return gaffe.

Of greater importance, though, was making sure he was at the location where his quarterback and team needed him to be.

“When you’re on the same page,” Moore said, “the offense works great.”