Chiefs WR Kadarius Toney primed for big role in his playoff debut

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The touchdown scored by Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney in a Week 10 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars will be remembered for just being his first in the NFL.

Toney got to the end zone in an unusual manner. He hopped along the sideline on his right leg to keep his balance and stay in bounds to finish the 6-yard scoring catch.

“I didn’t think he was going to score on that one, but it was cool to see,’’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “Everybody was excited for him. Luckily, he didn’t run out of bounds. He was getting close there on the sideline.’’

Toney has done all manner of things for the Chiefs since joining them in a midseason trade with the New York Giants. He’s lined up as a wide out, in the slot, as a running back and even as a tight end. He has caught 14 passes, rushed for 59 yards and scored two other touchdowns, one rushing, one receiving -- neither hopping on one leg.

Toney has shown the quick change of direction and speed that can make him a difference-maker. With another speedy Chiefs wide receiver, Mecole Hardman, ruled out because of what the Chiefs are calling a pelvic injury, Toney looms as a key figure for the Chiefs in Saturday’s divisional round playoff game (4:30 p.m. ET, NBC) at Arrowhead Stadium, also against the Jaguars.

“K.T. is a special talent,’’ Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling said. “He was able to come in and learn quickly. We put him in some positions to get him the ball and find out how he can help this team because he’s super dynamic.

“Coming into this offense is never easy. So being able to come in and learn as much as he’s learned and be able to go out there and play fast is important. I think he’s going to be a huge asset to this team as we make our run.”

Toney has played in seven games with the Chiefs. He missed the other three after aggravating a hamstring that caused him to miss time with the Giants early in the season.

His hopping touchdown against the Jaguars came in just his second game in Kansas City.

“It’s my job to know what I have to do,” Toney said. “So why not spend every waking moment, or every moment I’ve got, doing what I’ve got to do?”

The Chiefs were only too happy to get Toney involved as quickly as they did. Hardman hasn’t played since Week 9 against the Tennessee Titans, which was Toney’s first game for the Chiefs.

“He’s learned a lot fast,’’ Mahomes said. “We’ve been able to put him in [different] positions [because] he’s a smart guy, he plays hard and whenever he’s got his opportunities, he’s made plays happen.’’

Toney’s notable plays for the Chiefs also include his 38-yard catch against the Broncos after going in motion across the formation and getting matched up with a safety, and a jet sweep touchdown he scored against the Seattle Seahawks.

He also had a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders on the Chiefs’ Arctic Circle play called back because of a penalty, though he scored on the next snap anyway.

“He brings energy,’’ tight end Travis Kelce said. “I think his ability speaks for itself. He’s very quick, can put his foot in the ground with the best of them and he’s special with the ball in his hands.

“He’s one of those guys where his awareness is crazy. You think he’s got eyes in the back of his head because he sees guys coming from different angles and stuff. We haven’t seen the full arsenal that is him yet, but I think he’s definitely going to help us out in the near future, definitely in the long run, for sure.”

The hopping touchdown wasn’t Toney’s most spectacular play, as the Jaguars left him uncovered in the flat after he had come in motion.

But it was special to him because it was his first touchdown.

“I was hopping because I was too close to the sideline when I caught it, and I just was excited,’’ Toney said. “I saw the sideline [and I said], ‘Oh I’ve got to hop. I’ve got to get in there somehow, some way.’’’

He’ll have the chance to score his first postseason touchdown when he makes his playoff debut Saturday.