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.
The tone of the press conference played out, for the most part, as expected—excitement in Kansas City hasn’t been this high in a long time due to Patrick Mahomes, Hunt is pleased with both head coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach and yes, Eric Berry “literally is day to day.”
But there was a moment, in particular, that jumped out to me when I listened back. And it came when Hunt was questioned about his franchise quarterback’s leadership qualities.
“I think watching his demeanor when he talks about the team in press conferences, that’s one example,” Hunt said of Mahomes. “He’s very quick to give credit to his teammates and he does have a tremendous group of teammates. Those offensive skill players are really special, and I think he rightly points a lot of the credit for our success to them.
“Then also watching him in the locker room in postgame situations, whether it’s been one of the wins or our loss in New England, the way that he carries himself and the way that he speaks to his teammates. You can just see how they respect him. He’s very, very well spoken, and I think he hits the right message in those situations.”
So I pulled up the New England post-game tape to zone in. As if you don’t remember, that’s the game in which the Chiefs offense scored 40 points and still lost.
“Yeah, I missed some throws,” Mahomes, who went 22 of 36 for 352 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions, said after the game.
“You can’t miss those throws,” he added. “We left some points out there and so when you go back and look at the tape, you have to learn from that and try to do better whenever you get the next opportunity.”
Now living in an NFL landscape that is well aware of all that Mahomes is capable of on the field, I actually think Hunt nailed a prime of example of something that probably isn’t talked about enough when it comes to the second-year quarterback.
It is a trait Mahomes shares with the likes of Tom Brady, Derek Jeter and the Manning brothers.
Absolute and undeniable confidence, competitiveness and even cockiness on the field with complete humility and selflessness off.
Mahomes went 23 for 28 for 326 yards and six touchdowns, and he invites the Pittsburgh Steelers to come and stop him.
Mahomes went 28 for 39 for 358 yards, four touchdowns and an interception, and he waves at the Bengals as they try to rough him up after the whistle on the sideline.
And how about a touchdown, a brush-off and a flex on Monday Night Football against the Denver Broncos? The Chiefs won that game, too, thanks to overcoming a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit by way of an off-hand pass to shatter those Mile High dreams.
After each instance, Mahomes left the competitiveness and the fire in between the lines, reported to the podium after the game and talked about the opposition with respect while crediting his teammates.
I asked Reid about Mahomes’ ability to balance that competitive fire with being the face of the franchise on Monday.
“In the moment, I guess—he’s not going to come in here and bark and do all that and flex for you,” Reid said. “I think he’s into that moment. He loves playing and we all get to see that. At the same time, he is professional enough to where when he’s off the field he handles that situation—whatever that situation is—whether he’s with little kids or with y’all, he handles it the right way, and he’s got a knack for that.”
Mahomes had his eighth game in a row of 300-plus yards on Sunday in the Chiefs eighth win of the year. He threw for three touchdowns, but the post-game topic of discussion once again had nothing to do with him.
Instead, he complimented opposing quarterback Baker Mayfield and discussed how eager Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce were to play well in their hometown.
“I knew they wanted to play well and win here in Cleveland,” he said. “They love it here in Cleveland so they wanted to play well in front of their families. It was cool for them to have a combined five touchdowns between both of them.”
And more specifically on Hunt, who has become one of the hottest players in the National Football League of late...
“When he’s running the ball like that, and catching out of the backfield, it makes it that much harder for defenses to stop us,” he said. “I feel like when you have guys like that at every position, trying to do their role and being the person that they are, is when you have those good offenses.”
None of what this season has become would be possible without Mahomes, but you’ll never hear that from him.
Let’s call it what it is. Patrick Mahomes is playing with a dream team. pic.twitter.com/QlxQNp1P9U— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) November 5, 2018
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
.@Chiefs QB @PatrickMahomes5, who played his 10th career game today, has 29 TD passes and 3,185 passing yards, both the most by a player in his 1st 10 career games in @NFL history.— NFL345 (@NFL345) November 4, 2018
Mahomes is the only player in league annals with 3,000+ passing yards in his 1st 10 career games. pic.twitter.com/kv9vUuiWN0
GIF OF THE GAME
TWEET(s) OF THE GAME
Bernie!! So cool finally meeting you. You’re the man!! https://t.co/EyDya3B8DI— Travis Kelce (@tkelce) November 5, 2018
Lol but I don’t even play for the chiefs ♂️ ♂️ my dawgs did they thang tho https://t.co/b4fWgI4Zym— Charcandrick West (@Charcandrick26) November 5, 2018
The best quarterback in Big 12 history…and Baker Mayfield. pic.twitter.com/FQJyssqt61— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) November 4, 2018
and staying on theme...
- 1. Andy Reid on his favorite Kareem Hunt screen passes: “My favorite thing is the one like Kareem had where he scores. Those are the ones.”
- 2. Offensive lineman Cam Erving on him, Mitchell Schwartz, Austin Reiter and Andrew Wylie playing for the Chiefs in the win over the Browns (via friend of the site Tom Martin): “We showed everybody in the Cleveland Browns front office what a mistake they made, four out of five [Chiefs starting offensive linemen] were on their team... It was just a statement game, man.”
- 3. Quarterback Baker Mayfield on Browns general manager John Dorsey: “We believe in what he is doing. We believe in the guys that he has brought in here and everything they are about. It is about building culture. That is where it starts. He established a culture there. He brought in the right pieces. You have to get people to believe in that. It doesn’t matter who you have if you have that fixed, then you can go a long way. We are working on that. Like I said earlier, we have to keep getting better.”
- 4. Running back Kareem Hunt on the feeling when Andy Reid dials up a play for him: “He believes in me. If I get the ball in some space, I can make the play to get whatever yardage we need.”
- 5. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes on checking on cornerback EJ Gaines immediately after taking a rough hit: “Football is family. Everybody knows what we all go through, nobody wants anyone to be injured. I knew we had the touchdown, so I wanted to make sure that he was all good. Hopefully he’s healthy.”
THE BIG THOUGHT
Like we have seen in recent years when it comes to professional baseball, football is heading in a direction in which statistics and analytics are going to matter more. Head coaches and personnel men already factor them in when it comes to decision-making on the field. Former Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson and the Philadelphia Eagles made headlines when it was revealed how much of a role analytics played in their Super Bowl-winning season in 2017.
But Sunday should serve as a reminder that while analytics are worthwhile, this is a sport played by human beings. This was the first opportunity Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce had to play in front of a hometown Cleveland crowd—literally, the stuff of dreams—and it showed.
They played their hearts out.
“I was a kid that grew up right down the street in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, dreaming of one day being able to play in this stadium in front of these fans,” Kelce said after the game. “It’s a dream come true. It’s a cool feeling. Browns fans, I’m sorry we had to do it, but we’re about business over here in Kansas City. It’s fun playing with these guys in this locker room.”
There are some moments in sports you’ll never be able to place a number on, and that’s what keeps us watching.
POLL OF THE WEEK
Which of these teams is the biggest obstacle for the Chiefs in the way of a Super Bowl championship?
This poll is closed
New England Patriots
Los Angeles Chargers
New Orleans Saints
Los Angeles Rams
If you can’t see the poll, click here. Discuss in the comments.