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The Re-Up: Patrick Mahomes’ belief in his teammates is consistent and contagious

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Even despite the Chiefs defense’s early struggles, Mahomes’ confidence in it never waned. That attitude paid off on Sunday night.

It’s our Monday 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.


NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

One week ago, the Kansas City Chiefs traveled to Foxborough, Massachusetts, and watched their first-year starting quarterback in Patrick Mahomes go toe to toe against the greatest quarterback this generation in Tom Brady.

The Chiefs trailed by 15 points at halftime, but Mahomes rallied the troops, tying the game at 40-40 with three minutes to go thanks to a 75-yard, 12-second score to Tyreek Hill.

We all know what happened next. In a game in which the Patriots never had to punt, Brady traveled down the field and in six plays, set up a game-winning 28-yard field goal.

Mahomes threw for more than 350 yards and four touchdowns, yet the team still took its first loss of the season.

There is a rather unpleasant road the Chiefs could have gone down with such a result—and I think about the Sunday reports out of Jacksonville.

But Chiefs head coach Andy Reid wouldn’t let that happen. Neither would the Chiefs 23-year-old quarterback, who, apparently wise beyond his years, did not flinch when reporters asked if the Chiefs scored too fast last week.

“I don’t think so, in that situation, especially when you’re down seven points,” Mahomes said. “Touchdowns are hard to come by in the NFL, so if you can get in there you try to get in the end zone as fast as possible.

“We have trust in our defense that they can make plays to get a stop and get us the ball back. We had a third down and we were close to it, so you have to have the trust in the defense that they’re going to make the plays and we have that trust on this team.”

...“Trust in our defense” that allowed more than 400 yards in five of the first six games of the season and exactly 500 against the Patriots in the loss.

But here’s the thing—I know it may sound crazy, but as he said those words at the Wednesday press conference, I believed them. I not only believed them, but I also believed he believed them.

Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

It’s something I’m learning about Mahomes as I spend more time around him this season.

Mahomes has this presence about him that, despite his age and experience, exudes leadership, and I find as we navigate through the first half of this season, that like an Eric Berry, Mahomes makes everyone around him confident by the way in which he carries himself.

The Chiefs defense had its best performance of 2018 on Sunday night, holding Cincinnati to just 239 yards. Coming into the game, the Chiefs were allowing 28.6 points a game; Andy Dalton and the Bengals only managed 10.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

“Week-in, week-out we’ve just been preaching playing consistent, playing a full 60 minutes,” cornerback Kendall Fuller said after the game. “We’ve been putting good film out there but it’s just a matter of doing it the whole time. That’s something we’ve been preaching and working on in practice and things like that. It just came to light today.”

Reid has stressed nearly each week that because of injuries and other complications, the defense hasn’t had an opportunity to play with each other enough yet. Reid explained that with time, it would improve.

His quarterback mimicked those words after the game on Sunday night.

“Our defense is getting better every week,” Mahomes said. “They’re making plays. Even when I threw the interception, it seemed like they got a three-and-out right after that. They’re really playing well. I feel like as the season goes on, they’re going to keep getting better and better. I think as a team we’re starting to gel more with the offense, defense, and special teams all playing off of each other and getting that momentum going.”

And some fans won’t want to hear this, but there is credit that is owed to defensive coordinator Bob Sutton for sticking with it.

The Bengals’ most dangerous threat, wide receiver AJ Green, said as much after the game on Sunday night.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

“They didn’t play a lot of press,” Green said. “I think they had a drive where I had a couple of catches where they would be pressing me and bailing and then a lot of two-manning on my side. They switched up some things that we didn’t see on film.”

Joe Mixon, the Bengals’ talented running back, was held to just 50 rushing yards on 13 carries.

“We just did what we did,” Chiefs linebacker Reggie Ragland said. “We stayed in our gaps and were gap sound. What did they have, like 50 some rushing yards? If we can keep the team one-dimensional and let the guys in the back end do what they do, we are going to have a shot at winning a lot of games. Especially with the offense we’ve got.”

And there it is. If you’ve heard me on the radio or read some of my stuff here, you might have heard me mention Ragland’s point before, but it’s worth reiterating (especially since he brought it up).

The Chiefs defense doesn’t need to be the best in the league because the offense is going to be there. The defensive players just need to be good enough to allow Mahomes to have a shot to win each came.

Mahomes believes they can, and that hasn’t changed since the beginning of the season.

Do you?


RAPID REACTION

This week’s Rapid Reaction was taken from my opening thoughts on the Arrowhead Pride post-game show, as first heard live on 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City.


STAT OF THE GAME


GIF OF THE GAME


TWEET(s) OF THE GAME


FIVE QUOTES

  • 1. Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis when asked if he was disappointed in his team’s number of tackles: “We did not tackle very well.”
  • 2. On the very next question, Lewis was asked what he attributed that to: “We did not tackle very well.”
  • 3. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, on the team frequently winning coin tosses this season and starting with the ball in the second half: “You’re trying to jinx us, man. It’s weird. We’ve won it every time so far, I think even back to the preseason. First off, the defense when they get that first stop and get the ball back in our hands and we can score, that’s huge. It sets the tempo and we have that early lead and that momentum. Then coming out of the half, this week we got points whereas last week I could learn from throwing an interception or just taking a field goal. Then you’re allowed to build that momentum and get that touchdown on that first drive and it’s like a 10-point swing in the game.”
  • 4. Bengals linebacker Preston Brown on the speed of the Chiefs: “[Tyreek Hill] is super fast. He was catching the ball and then running backwards and then running forwards. It’s like playing punt. You don’t usually see that on a defense. It’s tough to play a guy like that because he’s so fast. You just got to gang tackle him, everybody’s got to run to the ball. And, we need to do a better job of tackling.”
  • 5. Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, upon learning tight end Demetrius Harris said he runs like a bull: “I like that. I like a bull. I like to be an ox, too.”

THE BIG THOUGHT

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

My favorite moment of the game was safety Ron Parker’s interception for his first career touchdown, except I didn’t know it at the time. That changed when I heard Parker’s pregame story:

“That was a great feeling man,” Parker said. “That’s what I was waiting on my whole career. It was crazy. My daughter asked me before the game, ‘Hey daddy, how come you don’t score a touchdown?’ So that one was for her.”

If you’re unfamiliar with the story of Parker, he bounced around the league before finding a home with the Chiefs in 2013. Parker carved out a career for himself in Kansas City from 2013-2017, but the Chiefs released him back in March to save salary cap space. He rejoined the Chiefs when it didn’t work out with the Atlanta Falcons and is making the most of his opportunity. I love little stories like this that transcend the game. That play and that pregame moment is something Parker will never forget, and maybe now, neither will you.


POLL OF THE WEEK

Poll

What happens first?

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  • 43%
    Chiefs trade for a defensive back
    (987 votes)
  • 56%
    Eric Berry practices
    (1281 votes)
2268 votes total Vote Now

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