This is part two of a three-part weekly film analysis on the performance of Patrick Mahomes. Part one here.
Just because Patrick Mahomes threw his first and second interceptions of the season doesn’t mean he still didn’t check some boxes last week. We shouldn’t forget that performance was in the rain. The elements were working against the passing game, and it didn’t seem to bother him all that much. He was still able to drive the ball well, throw it 70 yards in the air and even showed excellent touch and timing (more on that in a minute).
I was there for a rain practice during training camp and the elements weren’t drastically impacting his game.
Good decision-making early in the play can lead to little plays becoming more lucrative than they normally are.
#SomethingSmart Empty, five man protection. Mahomes sets it to Myles Jack. Telvin Smith blitzes. Mahomes is hot (line would've picked it up still), hits Kelce on adjustment with space to change direction and run for a lot of YAC. Great play, set up by smart decision making. pic.twitter.com/GNyVkpbzs0— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 9, 2018
Mahomes has his team lined up in empty, something he will always be comfortable. The Chiefs are in a five-man protection, taking the four down lineman and whoever Mahomes declares as the mike. He chooses to set the protection to Myles Jack, the linebacker to the field. If Telvin Smith blitzes, He might have set it to Jack because if Smith does rush than that leaves two defenders for two receivers and space to work. Mahomes is technically hot and will have to throw the ball quickly to beat the unaccounted for defender.
Jack does not rush, but Smith does. The offensive line actually was able to work to Smith had Mahomes not got rid of the ball so quick, but nonetheless, he executes his assignment and gets the ball to Travis Kelce. In some cases, receivers adjust their route if they’re the hot receiver to look for the ball quickly and be an early outlet to beat the blitz. In others, a hot route isn’t an adjustment to the route because the structure of the play is already calling for a quick route, and the receiver just has to break early. It looks like Kelce does make a route adjustment because of the blitz.
Mahomes delivers a ball on time to Kelce, and because of the space he had, sticks a foot in the ground, makes safety Barry Church miss and runs for a 40-yard completion. Mahomes executed well and made quick, smart decisions that helped result in an explosive play on a hot slant.
This throw plays like a trick shot. But there’s a lot of substance to it.
Lord have mercy. Moves away from backside pressure on the snap, steps up from front side pressure and delivers this ball with unreal touch. There's more to this throw we'll be talking about on Wednesday in the article. Rare, rare throw. pic.twitter.com/uhYYbFYPCn— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 8, 2018
The Chiefs send Tyreek Hill on a jet motion, and the Jaguars counter by bringing cornerback Tyler Patmon on a CAT blitz. Mahomes peaks and sees backside pressure, so almost immediately on the snap fades away into the boundary. He’s forced to step up against front-side pressure and then lofts a ball over the top of the trailing Jack and into Travis Kelce’s hands.
The throw is spectacular. He pulls up on the delivery and avoids contact. His base isn’t set up to deliver that throw, but he still delivers a ball with great touch and anticipation. I heard someone compare Mahomes to Steph Curry. If that’s the case, this was his floater in the paint.
The feel for pressure and delivery was great, but understanding the structure of the play and knowing he had the void to deliver the ball in was impressive too. He identifies the Jaguars playing Cover 3 Match, and knows the corner is clear, trailing Sammy Watkins on the vertical. He’s not even looking at Kelce until late, but is processing the coverage and concept. He knows where the void is and the space he has to deliver the ball into it. This play is a cocktail of the traits we love talking about.
It’s simple, but I love this play.
Mahomes wants Kelce on the slow release slant, but he has to hang on it for a beat so Kelce can embarrass Telvin Smith (we're laughing now). The throw from the end zone view is my favorite. Quick, quick release with a guy in his face. Exploded out of his hand. pic.twitter.com/23G1gv0MG2— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 8, 2018
Mahomes wants to hit Kelce on the delay slant. On the play, Kelce makes a slow release of the ball, gives a nod outside, sticks his foot in the ground and hits Smith on the slant (Let’s all laugh at Telvin).
On Mahomes’ hitch, Kelce still hasn’t broke in yet so he has to hang onto the ball for an extra beat. That little bit of time brings pressure into his face, so Mahomes as to make a more athletic throw from a slightly less stable base.
He delivers an absolute strike with one of his quicker releases of the day. He adjusts his plan, held the ball long enough and made up for the lost time with a quick strike to allow Kelce to run after the catch.