This is part three of a three-part weekly film analysis on the performance of Patrick Mahomes. Part one: something good and something bad here, part two: something smart and something special here.
Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween. I went as the GOAT.
I dressed up as @JoelThorman for Halloween. pic.twitter.com/NB4VrZYCgp— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 28, 2018
Week over week, the comfort level for Patrick Mahomes increases.
#SomethingImproved Mahomes is becoming more space efficient and quiet in the pocket every week. He looks more natural as time goes on. Movements are more subtle than they used to be. pic.twitter.com/S5yFCM7kKM— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 31, 2018
Whereas earlier in his young career, Mahomes had the propensity waste space in the pocket, now he’s starting to show efficiency. He’s showing continual growth and comfort in the spaces he’s being asked to work in.
With front-side pressure, Mahomes uses a slight step up in the pocket, showing ball protection through the movement up. It looked more instinctual than it ever has, as if the experience gained every week is starting to make a difference to his habits. That comfort is reflected in how he doesn’t skip a beat in his progression and sees Sammy Watkins on a crosser coming into his line of sight. Because his movements were small and controlled, Mahomes has a good base underneath him to deliver an accurate ball to Watkins in stride who finished for a touchdown.
It’s a small detail, but these kinds of little things are what can separate quarterbacks over the length of a career. As he develops, it can help him create opportunities inside the pocket that other quarterbacks aren’t. Continually showing more control and command in situations like this is what makes me believe he’ll reach that giant ceiling.
There hasn’t been many youthful mistakes and moments this year, but these certainly qualify.
#NeedsImprovement I don't love the decision making here. Both of these throws are in the 4th Quarter. First one is a no look attempt, the second is trying to fit a ball to Kelce on a first and ten. Up 10 late in the game isn't the right time for these kinds of plays. pic.twitter.com/4H2ImTxlHJ— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 31, 2018
There is a time and place to make plays and show off the rare talents. Icing away a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter does not qualify as a time to make a flashy play.
On the first clip, Mahomes tries a no-look pass on a slant to Tyreek Hill. He’s upset afterward, presumably because Hill slows down. Had Hill continued to run, the connection might’ve been made. But it wasn’t and the ball very realistically could’ve been intercepted.
Even though it’s practiced and players need to learn to expect that ball, the time isn’t right to be trying that. The Chiefs are up 10 at this point in the fourth quarter. An interception there makes the game much more interesting.
The next clip is Mahomes’ interception. On a first-and-10 around midfield, Mahomes steps up against pressure and tries to force a ball into Travis Kelce who’s got tight coverage on him. Mahomes sails the throw in the middle of the field, leading to an interception. He was going to get taken to the ground either way, but I’d rather him have just eaten the play and lived to play second down.
Again, in this situation up 10, it’s not the time to be trying to make this kind of play. Especially since it’s a first-down play. This was another sign of inexperience that Mahomes has done a fantastic job of minimizing for the most part.
The last throw specifically was the kind of throw you expected to see more frequently from the second-year player. To that point, he should be commended. Both plays were still very likely addressed by the coaching staff with Mahomes.
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