Patrick Mahomes does things that are absurd on the football field.
This is not an article to write about Mahomes’s film against the Broncos. That will come later this week. I’m incredibly excited and my first (and second, upon re-watching the broadcast view) impression is that Mahomes did well, but I reserve the right to change my mind (its happened more than once before and after reviewing a game).
No, for right now, I need to get a little commentary off my chest. Because Mahomes is ... he’s ... I don’t even know what to say. The plays and throws he can make are absolutely abnormal. Utterly strange.
I believe that tendency to do things that are nearly unheard of is why many people said things like “he won’t be able to do that against NFL defenders” when they looked at his college highlights. Then, when he did the same things during the preseason, that changed to “he won’t be able to do that against non-scrubs.”
Turns out, those people lack the gift of prophecy. Worth noting.
So since we don’t have the film yet, I’m instead going to focus on the five times I was the most incredulous due to Mahomes doing something ridiculous. Let’s have a little fun.
(Also, for the love of all things good and pure, can we save the fighting about Alex Smith for the actual Mahomes film review? We can do it. I believe in you guys)
Number 5: Frozen Ropes to Demetrius Harris
This was maybe the 7th most impressive play/throw by Mahomes on the day, and it was a freaking dime. His arm is unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/VsiM643IK0— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) January 1, 2018
Unfortunately, I can’t get a great angle on this yet (darn you Gamepass), but this is a HECK of a throw into a very, very small window. Now, that happens in the NFL. So it’s not like this is an example of a play no other QB can make.
What had me going sheesh is the fact that, even on a throw that needed a little air under it in order to clear a defender, Mahomes is still able to get noticeable “zip” on the ball. That’s just weird. He’s a weird guy, with a weirdly powerful arm.
When people think of arm strength they think of 50 yard bombs, lasers thrown in a straight line, or perhaps some of the off-balance throws that will follow this list. But for me, a regular franchise-QB level throw like this highlights Mahomes’s arm strength just as well as those throws do. Because it looks weird.
Number 4: Let’s Get it Started
I was really mad at Demarcus Robinson after this play.
Very first snap was my very first "whoa." Mahomes, despite being hit as he throws and moving left, fires a DART to Robinson that, from all appearances, should have been caught. pic.twitter.com/0GlbYYehpz— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) January 1, 2018
Now, to be fair, I can’t QUITE tell with this angle whether or not Robinson had that ball batted away by Chris Harris or if he simple couldn’t handle it and was affected by the (apparent) interference. I slowed it down and it looks like the ball gets to Robinson’s right hand, so I’m leaning towards the latter.
Regardless, this is a wildly underrated play, and started the game off on a perfect “oh crap what am I about to watch” note. Mahomes has a linebacker on him from almost the moment he begins to scan the field post play action (RPO? I think it was play action, but I could be wrong), and said linebacker actually plays this really well. He recognizes where Mahomes is looking, lays a quick hit on Sherman to mess with his route, and closes FAST on Mahomes, laying a nice hit. Obviously the intention is to force a throwaway or collect a sack
Except Mahomes doesn’t cooperate. Instead he squares his shoulders and fires the ball shortstop-style, across hos body, towards Robinson. And (this is the crazy part) the ball proceeds to move with velocity right to his target. Seriously, words don’t do this play justice, but the summary is: Mahomes throw the ball across his body without his feet while getting hit and still drove the ball with velocity and accuracy on the money to a tight window.
That crap is WEIRD, man. Very few NFL quarterbacks can make that throw with that velocity and that precision.
Number 3: Falling Dimes
This is stupid.
Last gif of the night. LOOK AT THIS. This is a tough throw into a tight window under good conditions. Mahomes sticks it while about to get hit by a blitzer without being able to step into the throw. pic.twitter.com/Mq9yBujyEq— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) January 1, 2018
Seriously, we’ve already ventured into “are you kidding me” plays at this point. As I say in the tweet, that’s a small window and a tough throw under any circumstance, given the proximity of both defenders.
Here, Mahomes doesn’t have the benefit of any sort of clean pocket, as Akeem Hunt doesn’t quite pick up the blitz and he’s got a defender screaming towards him. Said defender forces him to make an immediate decision, release quickly, AND not step into his throw.
Oh, sure, no problem. Let me just drill that in between two defenders with as much velocity as a lot of quarterbacks have on their normal throws. Whatever I guess. Now I’ll go do something easier, like move some rocks with my mind.
Number 2: Refusing to go Down
Oh, what’s that, your blitz went perfectly and you have instant pressure on third down? You’ve even gotten to the quarterback and have him wrapped up? Yeah, that’s great.
This is unbelievable. First, the deke that forces the defender to hesitate and buys a split second. Then, the awareness to see Wilson coming open with a defender draped on him. THEN, the strength to stay upright and fire a dart with no legs underneath him to Wilson. pic.twitter.com/UY8rqn3Ihz— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) January 1, 2018
This was the first play (on third and long, no less) that made me literally jump out of my chair and go “HOLY CRAP!!!!”
You could watch an entire weekend of football and not see a quarterback make this play, and that is not even the tiniest exaggeration. Mahomes demonstrates a few things here.
First, look at his eyes. He sees the blitzer coming but never, ever stops looking down the field, even when he’s wrapped up. He has an unbelievably cool head under pressure. Second, the lower-body strength and balance Mahomes possesses are unique, to have a defender completely wrap him up but unable to bring him down. It’s absurd. Then again with the cool head, seeing Wilson coming open.
Finally, the throw. Because of aforementioned blitzer, Mahomes has NO legs on this throw. However, it has to come out now before the window closes, so Mahomes fires it with all arm. Yet again, under bad circumstances, Mahomes is able to get “normal” velocity on the ball. He’s a legitimate freak, and plays like this are the reason he was drafted.
Well, that ... and this.
Number 1: It Doesn’t Matter What Your Defense Does
Words don’t do this play justice.
I was told you can't get away with plays like this in the NFL. Defenses are going to hate playing Mahomes. HATE it. pic.twitter.com/L3e6PxSsGh— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) January 1, 2018
I could describe this play a dozen different ways, and they’d all fall short.
First of all, keep in mind the situation here. There are under two minutes left to play and the Broncos have come roaring back. Mahomes left the game with seven minutes to go up 14, thinking he was done for the day. Now he’s unexpectedly been called back in to try and win a tied game. First two minute drill of his young career, and it comes on the road against Von Miller and the Broncos. No pressure, right?
The play itself is ... well, I’m out of words. Miller flashing inside leads to Mahomes bailing out of the pocket (not sure I agree with that decision, but that’s EXTREME nitpicking, especially if the all-22 reveals no one was open at this point). Doing so, as it often does, leads to several defenders closing in quickly. One of them happens to be one of the best defenders in the NFL. They have Mahomes dead to rights and retreating. A sack or a throwaway are all that’s left.
Except Mahomes, unbelievably, begins his throwing motion despite being turned around and moving backward and being a guy who is about to get hit. This is the type of throw I’ve been told time and time again Mahomes simply CAN’T make at this level, because NFL defenders won’t let you get away with it.
Except he does. Despite everything working against him, Mahomes manages to drive the ball with enough velocity and accuracy to get between three defenders to Robinson, pulling a first down out of a negative play in a way that almost no other quarterback in the NFL could have done.
That play reduced a four-year NFL veteran to giving a “what are we supposed to do?” shrug of exasperation.
Bradley Roby's response to Mahomes's incredible throw to Demarcus Robinson on the game-winning drive is everything. We don't understand how he did that either, Bradley. pic.twitter.com/gZOc6rgxkX— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) January 1, 2018
Playing Mahomes must be a wildly frustrating experience for a defense, because sometimes it just doesn’t matter what you do. You can get everything right and still get beat.
I’ll say it one last time: I don’t know yet how Mahomes graded out in my system. We shall see. But for right now, I’m going to sit here and enjoy the fact that I watched a rookie Chiefs quarterback win a game for the first time in three centuries (give or take), and revel in his ability to make genuinely inconceivable things happen on a football field.