It’s our Monday
morning afternoon column, The Re-Up. In this column, I’ll write about some deeper thought I had about the last game and finish with some fun stuff to ponder at the article’s end. Check out last week’s column here.
I had been hoping, heading into Monday night’s game, that when Tuesday morning rolled around, for the first time in four tries, perhaps I’d be able to focus on someone or something other than Patrick Mahomes for this column.
Who knew that it would be precisely the wrong game and wrong week to do so.
While I could never sit here and kill the rest of team in its entirety—Mahomes wasn’t the only player who performed well (I’m looking right at you, Kareem Hunt)—I can say with confidence that for much of the time, Monday night just wasn’t the Chiefs’ night.
There were obvious tackling issues, Travis Kelce—albeit his fault or not—had a few uncharacteristic drops and both Sammy Watkins and Dee Ford left the game early.
The Denver defense became the first unit that punched Mahomes square in the mouth all year. And for a while—I’d say, three quarters or so—it seemed as if he would be down for the 10-count...
...and that’s because as writers and followers and fans of the Kansas City Chiefs, that is precisely what we’ve all become conditioned to expect.
“Man, I thought we were good. But yet again, we’ve been proven wrong.”
It is why I love this comment from Andy Reid after the game, acknowledging just that when asked about how this year’s team compares to those of prior seasons.
“Those teams are done,” Reid said. “That’s already been done so we have to keep on going. We’ve been here. We’ve put together some string of wins and then fallen down. You’ve got to keep pushing forward. We’ve got a great Jacksonville team coming in this weekend. You’ve got to get back and figure out how to take care of that. I’m proud of this group and I like this team. I like their effort and their tenacity. You don’t see any bickering going on or anyone giving up hope. It’s all been positive. Even when we are behind, guys are ready to make a play and get one done.”
I look at Monday night’s game in Denver and I wonder, what, if anything, I will recall about it 20 years from now.
Overcoming the 10-point deficit was nice, as at one point in the fourth quarter, ESPN gave the Broncos a 93.9 percent chance of winning the football game. But it’s not that.
Mahomes’ navigation of the pocket on second-and-30 to free himself and find Demarcus Robinson for 23 yards was masterful, but I’m afraid I’ll probably forget that, too.
What I’ll remember from Monday night in what hopefully will be a long career of thousands and thousands of plays is when Mahomes switched the ball to his damn left hand and completed a pass for a first down.
They could tell you about it better than I ever could:
“I didn’t think [about] it at all,” Mahomes told the media in his post-game press conference. “I was kind of just scrambling left. I felt [OLB] Von [Miller] on my back and knew I couldn’t throw it with my right hand, I knew we needed the first down, so I kind of shot-putted it to [Chiefs WR] Tyreek [Hill]. He got the first down and made a great play. You just have to get the ball in their hands somehow.”
“Obviously, it was a great play,” Tyreek Hill said. “It caught me off guard. I’ve never seen a quarterback who is right handed throw the ball left-handed. [Chiefs QB] Pat [Mahomes] made a great play. Pat actually throws better than me, and I’m left handed, so that’s crazy. It was a good throw.”
“I was gaining ground on him and I kind of just—it just felt like he was getting ready to throw it, so I was just trying to get down there and clip the ankles,” Broncos linebacker Von Miller explained. “I knew he was getting ready to throw it though. I kind of felt it. But I didn’t know he threw it with his left hand.”
“I thought, ‘Is this dude a magician or something?’” running back Kareem Hunt said. “He is doing things that you don’t see often. He is a great player and I’m glad he’s on my team.”
“Nobody in history has ever seen that,” safety Eric Murray said. “C’mon now. Nobody. I’ve never seen that one [in practice]. That one is new. I’m glad we all got to see it.”
On social media, some called the play Brett Favresque.
But I just don’t even know anymore.
For example, if you could guarantee Mahomes would be Matt Ryan, would you take it? Or would you settle for the mystery door? What about Matt Stafford? Andrew Luck?
(Again, this was in the summer—try to think back to that time when you had no frame of reference)
And now here we are and I’m thinking and I’m thinking, and I remember watching Favre and I look at his career and I can’t help but wonder: Favre wasn’t great until the fourth year of his career, when he was 25. Knowing what I know now about the recently-turned-23-year-old in Mahomes, would I even take Favre?
Would I even take Tom F-cking Brady?
The preseason Throw, the roll-out-right score to Chris Conley from Week 3 and the left-handed pass just have me feeling some kind of way, and I know I’m not alone.
Sometimes the fun in talking sports becomes so much about comparisons.
But I think it may be time to stop caring if Mahomes ends up being Favre or Manning. Let’s let him write his story.
Through five games, it looks like it will be a fascinating one, and the beauty of it all is that there really is no ceiling.
THE RAPID REACTION
Here were my very first comments from the Arrowhead Pride postgame show Monday night. (full show)
Here were my initial thoughts on the Chiefs’ comeback win over the Broncos on Monday Night Football. pic.twitter.com/XD5qi0Pc39— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) October 2, 2018
STAT OF THE GAME
OK. Take a second, and read this stat. Let it sink in, then read it again.
Patrick Mahomes has thrown for 192 yards out of the pocket tonight, the most such passing yards in the last 10 seasons.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 2, 2018
GIF OF THE GAME
Travis Kelce pretends to pocket the Broncos fans’ middle fingers. So good.
Broncos fans giving the Earl Thomas version of a Mile High Salute pic.twitter.com/R511jKjwn3— Nick Ashooh (@NickAshooh) October 2, 2018
TWEET(s) OF THE GAME
We’ve got a couple this week.
Patrick Mahomes rocking red velvet smoking slippers with tassels. Strong move. pic.twitter.com/bHzKSvFYNA— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) October 2, 2018
- 1. CB Kendall Fuller on the energy the offense provides to the defense: “We definitely feed off them. Just the way they’ve been playing all year. That energy that they have carries over. I know they were excited to see us get off the field. It’s just going to keep on going the whole season.”
- 2. LB Justin Houston on the resilience of the Chiefs to come back and win: “I think that shows a lot. We made the stops when we needed to and that should give the defense as a whole confidence. I think we just need to put a complete game together. We still have yet to put a complete game together. That’s our goal is to play the first quarter through the fourth quarter, a complete game of pure dominance. That’s what we want.”
- 3. Broncos CB Chris Harris Jr. on going up against Patrick Mahomes: “I was covering. He made us cover for a long time. I had to go inside and get an IV. I had to get two IVs and I was just done. Just playing those extra times, he made us scramble in coverage the whole game. We couldn’t sack this man. He’s a hell of a player, he’s a hell of a quarterback. He made plays with his feet and I can’t wait to play him again though.”
- 4. Broncos LB Von Miller struggling to sack Mahomes: “Yeah, it’s tough. He’s fast. We’ve got to get him down. That’s just plain and simple. He’s pretty fast. He’ll run all day, buy time and especially to the right, deep. I’m talking like 20 yards deep and then he’ll throw the ball 40 yards. He’s a great quarterback. He did a great job tonight.”
- 5. Patrick Mahomes on his discipline in the pocket: “I’m not fast. I know that my strength is not running the ball. I know I have a lot of playmakers whose strength is catching the ball and making people miss. I know if I keep my eyes down field and get it to them, they’re going to keep working for me and make big plays.”
THE BIG THOUGHT
I don’t know if we talk about the Chiefs’ 2016 signing of right tackle Mitch Schwartz quite enough. When the Cleveland Browns completely botched bringing him back in free agency, the Chiefs pounced, inking him to a five-year contract. On Monday night, Schwartz started his 100th career game in 100 opportunities.
Schwartz was named a second-team All-Pro the last three seasons, and he takes such pride in his streak that he even pushed and started the Chiefs’ meaningless Week 17 game last week against the Denver Broncos. Through three weeks this season entering Monday night, he had allowed three pressures in three games, and last night, his nemesis in Von Miller was held without a sack. In the NFL, you hear the cliché a lot—the best ability is availability. Like his former teammate Joe Thomas, who Schwartz looks up to, Schwartz provides exactly that for Kansas City.
POLL OF THE WEEK
What’s been your favorite Patrick Mahomes play so far?
This poll is closed
The Throw (69-yard preseason TD vs. Atlanta)
The Week 3 roll-out TD to Chris Conley
The left-handed pass for a first down
Second-and-30 pass for 23 yards
If your answer was other, tell us what it was in the comments.