This is part two of a three-part weekly film analysis on the performance of Patrick Mahomes. Part one here.
It’s the midway point of the 2018 season and Clark Hunt was in town this week to deliver his state of the Chiefs address. Of course, he is clearly satisfied with what is happening currently in Kansas City. His 7-1 team has arguably the MVP of the league and best young asset in football, Patrick Mahomes.
The proof of those two statements mounts every week. It’s an embarrassment of highlight riches for a fan base finally getting the taste of a franchise quarterback experience. Chiefs fans are wiping their nose with $100 bills. The standard for what amazes is higher than in any other city right now. You’re experiencing rare displays of arm talent each and every week. I hope we never get numb to them. This week is litmus test for that because there’s a throw that hasn’t made rounds yet that absolutely deserves to be.
We’ll start this week with something special. The situation and moment is not nearly as glamorous as some other throws Mahomes has delivered, but this should be up there with all the ones you’re thinking about right now.
#SomethingSpecial This is one of the best plays of Patrick Mahomes' young career and I hope it gets the attention it deserves. The end zone view shows the exceptional anticipation, accuracy and arm talent. Rarest of throws here. pic.twitter.com/y9o18fTg14— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 30, 2018
Denver is in a split safety look and the Chiefs are in a five-man protection with Spencer Ware free releasing on a swing route. Travis Kelce is running an out route and attacks safety Will Parks before breaking out. Mahomes is facing pressure from Shaquille Barrett, who is free on a twist. He doesn’t get a chance to step into this throw completely as he’s hit on the delivery. Regardless of the pressure, Mahomes shows some of the best anticipation he has all year, releasing the ball right as Kelce is getting out of his break. The arm talent to deliver this ball 20 air yards despite everything going on is rare. Even without following through on his throw, Mahomes places this ball perfectly to Kelce in stride and between a triangle of defenders.
If you just want to watch the end zone view over and over again, here it is. Mercy. pic.twitter.com/wvvMIeLzx7— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 30, 2018
Denver had a great call on a pressure that got home and it didn’t matter. Mahomes flat out beat it with his rare abilities. We get moments like this every week. Panning for gold isn’t supposed to be this easy.
It wasn’t the first time that game he delivered through pressure and contact.
This is yet another fantastic throw. Mahomes delivers a strike in the red zone as he’s feeling backside pressure and is actually hit as he’s releasing it. It doesn’t affect the ball enough to be inaccurate—Mahomes arm talent gets the ball through the pressure. Lesser velocity might’ve forced this ball to be altered, but not with Mahomes here. Where the Chiefs were on the field is important to this too. The margin for error slims down the closer you get to the end zone.
Speaking of red zone efficiency...
#SomethingSmart Everything is tighter in the redzone. Every bit of space matters. Great job to hold the middle field safety enough to allow a window for Kelce on the front line of the end zone. pic.twitter.com/SZyS5MtHsy— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 30, 2018
The Broncos are showing a middle field closed coverage shell with Kelce flanked out in the boundary in a 2x2 formation. He will be running a post. Mahomes is going to trust Kelce in this situation 100 times out of 100. He’s the best tight end in football.
To maintain the window to throw this ball, Mahomes needs to keep the middle-field safety from driving on Kelce. In order to keep that window, Mahomes gives eyes and his shoulder to the field to hold the safety before whipping his eyes and hips around at the exact right time to deliver a strike to Kelce on the front line of the end zone. The safety is not able to close to contest the throw in time and the Chiefs score a touchdown.
Decision making that close to the goal line has to be quick. Being able to process the information pre-snap, work his eyes and shoulders to maintain a window, and the timing to flip back to give Kelce a chance to score is exceptional work from a young quarterback. It’s becoming common, but these plays need to continue to be appreciated.