This is part one of a three-part weekly film analysis on the performance of Patrick Mahomes.
Two Mondays ago, we saw Patrick Mahomes’ first comeback on Monday Night Football, in his fifth career start, on the road against a divisional opponent. The post-game buzz in the city was nothing like we’ve seen. The kid continues to one up himself, convince everyone this isn’t a fluke and put the league on notice.
Although still plenty of great moments for the young quarterback showed up on tape, the home win against the Jaguars was not the same kind of performance that we’ve seen from him. But something more important was revealed in that game: the Chiefs fully took on Mahomes’ energy, confidence and personality.
Mahomes has been the guy for five wins to start the 2019 campaign, but Sunday felt different throughout the rest of the team. Mahomes’ fearlessness was prevalent on both sides of the ball. No one was scared of the bullies, and both sides of the ball played like it. Mahomes wanted to scrap, and the rest of the team wanted to scrap with him. He was more demonstrative and active after the whistle and from the sidelines, and his team and the crowd fed off of it.
This was the most-animated #Chiefs locker room that I’ve seen in a while.— BJ Kissel (@ChiefsReporter) October 7, 2018
This win, particularly how they won it, was huge.
After seeing the response this week, Monday Night Football seemed to be a galvanizing moment for this organization.
Mahomes proved himself on the biggest stage, and now the rest of the team fully believes. He checked a lot of the remaining boxes. In a production business, he produced in the biggest way. The feel of the team yesterday shifted from, “He’s talented and playing great ball,” to “He’s it and can take us to February.”
Everyone looks completely bought in. The entire team played like they knew they had the guy. The buzz didn’t die with the fans. The organization has shifted. Monday Night Football may prove to have been an exorcism. There will be a few losses this season, but belief isn’t going to die because of them. This team is playing like it knows it has one of the best quarterbacks in the game.
You knew we had to talk about this play, right?
#SomethingGood Tyreek Hill lined up to the field. Single high safety on the far hash, you've got to take this shot. Hill burns Jalen, Mahomes holds the safety for a beat, fantastic up and down ball with perfect placement. Almost six. pic.twitter.com/AanBsTPq3o— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 8, 2018
The Chiefs are lined up in a closed formation into the boundary that they used frequently against the Jaguars. Tyreek Hill is lined up to the field against Jalen Ramsey, who had kept Hill relatively quiet through the first three quarters of the game. The Jaguars are playing with a single-high safety.
Based on alignment, where they are on the field and Ramsey in press, this is the kind of situation where taking a shot to Hill makes a ton of sense. The opportunity was correctly identified by Mahomes. He does a great job holding the middle-field safety with his eyes before going to Hill late. There’s a lot of trust built up with Mahomes and his weapons.
Mahomes delivers a great ball, up and down with timing, touch and anticipation. He dropped it right into Hill, who didn’t have to adjust at all to the ball and came close to finishing it for six. Hill had been wearing down Ramsey during the game, and the timing to execute this play was perfect.
I wanted to make sure to give this play some attention too.
How about this throw on a 3rd and 1? Free rusher in his face, running back isn't open, no hesitation to work to Sherman. Quick release, velocity and ball placement. This is stupid. pic.twitter.com/t1Pxw4Y8cE— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 8, 2018
You’re taking your fullback 15 yards down the field on third-and-1!? Pat, you savage.
It was the smart decision. The Chiefs have been using these play-side rolls off of the run action a lot recently and primarily have hit the running back in the flat. Mahomes doesn’t like the look to Spencer Ware in the flat (he probably gets the first down), and gets off him quick. With a free rusher in his face, Mahomes elects to hit his fullback (TE3!?) running a corner route (!!!). It was a quick decision, showed a lot of trust and a great ball. First down en route to another opening drive score.
Mahomes tried a little too hard a few times this week.
#SomethingBad Mahomes tried a little too hard to create here. Wanted to extend the play, in the rain against one of the better defenses in football. Trying to run back to escape turned it into a 42 yard field goal attempt. Not a chip shot. Good thing they got points.. pic.twitter.com/Bm1boba1r5— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 8, 2018
It’s third down inside the 10-yard line in the second quarter. The Chiefs line up in an empty formation. He has time to work through the plan initially and does a good job hanging in there to see it out. He feels pressure front side and starts an escape left. With a linebacker closing, Mahomes tries to get depth to escape, resulting in a sack and a loss of 15.
The Chiefs were forced to kick a 42-yard field goal after being just nine away from scoring. Not exactly a chip shot in the rain. Speaking of rain a situation like this, where your footing won’t be perfect, against one of the best defenses in football, already up, is not the time to try so hard to create. Throw it to De’Anthony Thomas and give him a chance or flip it near him for an incomplete pass.
Mahomes isn’t going to make that mistake again. As the games start to matter more, these kind of things can’t happen. I’m sure he knows that now. Yes, he’s uniquely capable of extending and making plays others can’t, but situation should always be taken into consideration as well.
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.
Quarterbacks get prepared for the elements long before they have to play in them. Coaches love practices in the rain during training camp to get teams ready for unpredictable conditions. If the forecast is not letting a coach get enough looks in adverse weather during camp, some teams will drench footballs in water and make you play in team periods with them. For a small school like where I was at, that meant using balls that were 15-plus years old with the laces about off of them. It didn’t go well.