This is part three of a three-part weekly film analysis on the performance of Patrick Mahomes.
The record for quarterbacks under the age of 25 to play the Patriots in Gillette Stadium has been awful—it’s 1-24—and Patrick Mahomes contributed to that number.
Watching the first half, you can understand why. The New England defense was able to throw unique looks at Mahomes, and it ultimately led to mistakes that cost the Chiefs the game.
After two quarters, Mahomes was 13 of 23 for 164 yards and two interceptions. By far the worst halftime line of his young career. Based on the Bill Belichick track record, you wouldn’t expect to see the kid dig himself out of that hole. But he did. And it’s part of what should make you believe he’s going to be a franchise quarterback for years to come.
Sometimes, the improvements can happen from one half to another.
The first 30 minutes of the game was bad, but the response is everything you need to know about your signal caller.
Here was Mahomes' response to his roughest half of football to date. Hard to imagine him not sustaining a lot of what we're seeing. He's just special. pic.twitter.com/RVeTyX8fYH— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 16, 2018
Mahomes looked flustered at times in the first half. He looked like he was trying to manage the energy he had to play on a big stage. I think Belichick knew that was likely to happen and wanted to slow the unit down as much as he could in that time. The Patriots threw new looks at Mahomes he hasn’t seen before, then adjusted players after he set the protection and dropped players in coverage that he didn’t see (more on that in a second).
They got him early.
But not late. The response is what excites me about Mahomes’ outlook moving forward. The first throw after his red-zone interception was a 67-yard touchdown pass on a crucial third-and-2. On Tyreek Hill’s 14-yard touchdown reception, the Patriots adjusted alignment late. It didn’t affect Mahomes. He fixed his problem at halftime.
There’s no fear, no timidity in the way Mahomes plays the game. Amidst that mentality is the ability to adjust and not make the same mistake in-game. That is going to serve him well over the course of his career. I think that’s part of why he’s developed and grown so quickly.
Hopefully, Mahomes doesn’t make this mistake twice.
Off of pla= action, Mahomes thinks he has Travis Kelce open on a crossing route. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower initially fills on the action but gets depth and under the throw for Mahomes first interception of the game. He just didn’t see him.
Tanoh Kpassagnon recorded an interception in training camp courtesy of Mahomes in a similar situation. I was there for it. There have been other instances this season in which you’re not entirely sure Mahomes saw the underneath coverage dropping from or near the line of scrimmage. We might see this more moving forward.
Sammy Watkins thread begins based on random slander of him based on the box score:— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) October 16, 2018
Even removing Hightower from this play, this should be a hi-lo read. Single high S rolled over Hill/Watkins. Kelce pulls coverage to the MOF, not a soul in sight to stop Watkins on the Slice. pic.twitter.com/SLo9VEndlK
What’s more on this play, as Matt Lane mentioned, Watkins is open. Not only was it intercepted, but also there was a deeper option available. The response to score 31 points in the second half was fantastic. The challenge could have been less if this play went differently. Maybe the Chiefs win.
Regardless of this play, Mahomes has been great about improving every single week, sometimes mid-game. He’ll continue to grow and develop and as great as his vision is in most cases, this blind spot he seems to have will go away too.
Miss this week’s episode of the AP Laboratory?
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