This is part one of a three-part weekly film analysis on the performance of Patrick Mahomes.
You would not describe Patrick Mahomes’ performance against the Bengals as flashy. There wasn’t a laundry list of throws that make your jaw drop. Not much, if anything, from this week’s Sunday night game is going to end up on the glut of YouTube cut-ups of season highlights that are going to invade the video platform this offseason.
Regardless of those facts, the intricacies of Mahomes’ performance should not be understated. There were some very encouraging moments from this week’s game. He may not have flashed the gun this week, but the restraint and control he consistently displayed throughout the game revealed another step in the development of the young signal-caller.
We know what he’s capable of on any given play. His continual narrowing of the gaps in his game did not stop, even though the highlight real is pretty barren. The re-watch of this showed that Mahomes still checked a few more boxes. There’s one glaring issue we need to discuss, but more on that in a minute.
The patience by Mahomes here made a world of difference.
#SomethingGood Mahomes helped make this touchdown by holding the underneath defender as a threat to run and dumping to Hunt at the last second. Great finish by Kareem as well. pic.twitter.com/iSFvZfF6sk— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 23, 2018
The Chiefs have used similar play-action rolls this season, especially on third-and-short situations to high levels of success. In most cases, the Chiefs have hit Hunt out of the action, but with Hardy Nickerson Jr. in coverage, Mahomes doesn’t want to hit him when he normally does.
This is where patience comes in for Mahomes. He threatens Nickerson with his legs, forcing him to chop his feet at the potential that the quarterback will cut inside him to try and score. Mahomes waited on the last possible moment to throw the ball. That one moment created enough space for Hunt to catch a high throw from Mahomes and finish at the goal line for a touchdown. That extra patience made a world of difference on this play.
Even though there wasn’t flashy moments, the arm talent still came in handy.
#SomethingGood The Chiefs wanted to take a shot off of play action and it wasn't there when Mahomes wanted it. Good job to get off of the post to drive a ball to Kelce before the corner can drill him. The velocity he has made this possible. pic.twitter.com/YRksa4g5bX— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 23, 2018
The Chiefs dial up a play-action boot shot play. Mahomes wants to hit Tyreek Hill on the corner post here, but when he sets up to throw, the safety is still over the top of him. Not wanting to take the shot, Mahomes elects to hit Travis Kelce on the deep crosser. He actually helps create the window.
Mahomes stops and looks back into the middle of the field and sells it with eyes and shoulders. Linebacker Jordan Evans actually slows down for a second before Mahomes whips his eyes and shoulders back to Kelce with a strike. Because Evans gives up, he can’t get any more underneath the throw from Mahomes. Evans extends to contest, but to no avail. The ball from Mahomes is impressive. The velocity to beat cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick before he can break up the play. Outstanding ball.
Mahomes was able to find a touchdown on a broken play this week.
“It was supposed to be a run play, with kind of a pass-option. But whenever you get down there, most times you hand it off. Especially when you have a guy like Kareem and our offense line. It was a little low snap, but at the same time I was kind of stepping back to get out of Kareem’s way. That combination made me drop the ball and I started scrambling to the left and I was going to run it and he was just wide-open in the end zone so I threw it to him.” - Patrick Mahomes on his touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill
It sounded like he was probably going to hand that ball off if the snap wasn’t bad. Nevertheless, being able to think quick enough to find Hill off the broken play was a nice job by him.
This might be the worst of the bad.
This play seems so uncharacteristic for someone who has been so good out of structure this season. We’ve got videos of young Mahomes hitting game-winning three-quarter court heaves. He was drafted in multiple sports. It seemed like there was nothing the kid couldn’t do. Then the glass shattered.
Mahomes looks lost from the start. If he were in church, he would be one word behind the rest of congregation in song. Has our franchise quarterback ever been to a wedding reception? This is the first time Mahomes has looked robotic on the football field.
The freestyle move at the end as everyone is running off the field made me laugh no less than 18 times. He pulled out the “there’s a spider at my feet” to try and make up for the lack of synchronization. It missed like Andy Dalton to anyone not named AJ Green. I could not stop watching (laughing at) this masterpiece. The rest of the Arrowhead Pride Tailgate and post-game show can attest.
The end zone view does him no favors.
#SomethingBad The endzone view doesn't look much better for Mahomes. You'd like to see more fluidity in the hips. The arm movements are inconsistent. He looks like he's thinking too much. pic.twitter.com/KI3GCdYvTJ— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 23, 2018
Mahomes probably wants more side-to-side motion here in his hips. He looks very rigid and uncomfortable. The hands are struggling to sync up with the rest of his body. You can tell he’s thinking out there, not uncommon for a rookie.
I guess it runs in the species.
Tom Brady’s dance moves tho pic.twitter.com/XwFvRvdlQf— Entertainment Tonight (@etnow) September 28, 2018
Every week, I add a quick note about something I’ve picked up about the quarterback position through my time learning and playing the game.
Teams try to recreate bad snaps to help prepare for the response to it. One drill I’ve seen is a bad snap drill where the quarterback is hot (forced to throw quick due to the protection rules not accounting for a free rusher). In that kind of situation, the throw isn’t about laces or the perfect set up to deliver a ball, but getting it out. Drills like that can help you prepare to respond in a situation like Mahomes faced on that touchdown pass to Hill.