SANTA CLARA, California. Kansas City chiefs like to use Mekola Hardman in jet tracks, not only because of his apparent speed.

Hardman was so good at a reactive sweep in Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers that the Chiefs decided they would keep trying until the 49ers forced them to stop. They never did.

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He threw three touchdowns en route to a 44–23 victory for the Chiefs.

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“I think I feel good about it,” Hardman said. “Honestly, just seeing and trying to find little holes and little gaps between [defenders] . . . If you can get through it at speed and try to take someone one on one, that defender will have a long day. So I’m just trying to do it.”

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Two of his touchdowns were runs and one came on a pop pass from Patrick Mahomes. The longest of the three 25-yard runs showed why the Chiefs love to jet the ball to Hardman.

Hardman quickly rounded the corner and then stopped to let his blockers, tight end Noah Gray in particular, do their job. He then picked up speed along the touchline and did some graceful footwork to stay within reach before reaching the end zone.

“Mecole did a great job, quickly and patiently, and then they succeeded,” Chiefs coach Andy Reed said. “Our guys blocked it well. In fact, it is the same play three times at different times.”

In the past, Chiefs and Hardman have not been as efficient. Mahomes said one reason for this is that the Chiefs were more productive in their regular game against the 49ers. Running backs Isaiah Pacheco, Clyde Edwards-Heler, and Jerich McKinnon combined averaged 5.4 yards per carry.

“Reactive sweeps work better when you’re in control of the ball,” Mahomes said. “Then when you get other guys like Travis [Kelce] passing in the middle, sometimes they lose sight of the jet engine scouting guy.

“What makes Mekole so good at this is that he is obviously very fast, but he runs very fast, and a lot of times when you have smaller receivers and you run into those guys on the jet sweeps, they want to go outside and how to get to the sideline and go out of bounds. With Mecole, this man is firmly on his feet, he comes forward and trusts his blockers. You don’t see that with a lot of guys in this league and that’s a special talent.”

Hardman entered the game with two receiving touchdowns, but the 49ers’ performance was his best of the season. The Chiefs’ other top wide receivers – Travis Kelsey, Juju Smith-Shuster and Marquez Valdez-Scantling – also had big games. Smith-Schuster and Valdez-Scantling went over 100 yards and Kelche went 98 yards.

They’ve each had at least one big game this season, but it was Hardman’s turn on Sunday.