KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- This may have been overlooked because it was a busy fourth quarter of Sunday's game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers. But when the Chiefs were facing desperate times -- they were down by five points with 2:12 left and no timeouts remaining -- they turned to a rookie, De'Anthony Thomas, instead of Knile Davis as their returner for the kickoff after San Francisco's last field goal.
It didn't make a difference because Phil Dawson's kickoff went to the back of the end zone and was not returnable. But it's interesting and probably more than a little insightful into the Chiefs' thinking that they went with Thomas at such a crucial time.
Thomas, who was playing in his first NFL game, already had a nice debut going. He hadn't played much but Thomas started Kansas City's final touchdown drive with a 28-yard punt return and finished it by taking a screen pass 17 yards to the end zone, outrunning several defenders in the process.
Then, when the Chiefs needed a big play more than ever, there was Thomas. If they're willing to go with him there, the Chiefs will likely make Thomas one of the regulars in their offensive lineup when they're trying to win a game in the fourth quarter.
Other than on his screen pass, Thomas wasn't featured on offense in San Francisco. That's OK because he was just making his way back to the lineup after missing the season's first four games because of a strained hamstring.
But expect more of Thomas as time goes on. He wanted that final chance to return and was disillusioned after catching the ball beyond the end zone, smacking it with his hand afterward.
"I was disappointed about not getting great field position for our team to put us in a position to score a touchdown," Thomas said.
It didn't happen that way in the fourth quarter against the 49ers. But from the looks of things he'll get more chances, and soon.