This is part one of a three-part weekly film analysis on the performance of Patrick Mahomes.
You deserved that, Kansas City.
Patrick Mahomes’ debut as the leader of this organization did not disappoint. There were varying levels of excitement and nerves throughout the city. So many unknowns, so much unfamiliarity with having a young quarterback of Kansas City’s own. Mahomes was not perfect, but he did so many things to grow the positive energy. He certainly didn’t do much to discourage.
In this post, we’ll get an overview, Wednesday, we’ll look at the physical and mental traits and Thursday we’ll talk about the growth process. Here’s something good and something bad from week one.
I am stunned this play isn’t getting the attention it deserves. This is what happens when there are so many plays to talk about.
#SomethingGood The Chiefs are up 12 in the 3rd Quarter on this 3rd and 13. Mahomes doesn't play it safe. He steps up in the pocket, escapes towards the flood concept and makes the right read with an aggressive throw to the deepest receiver. Derwin James is distraught. pic.twitter.com/psZNqIk9VC— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) September 11, 2018
This is an absolute dagger. Late in the third quarter, up 24-12. Third-and-13, backed up on your own 11-yard line.
The Chiefs are going to run a flood concept out of bunch. Travis Kelce is the point man of the three-receiver side and will take a short out route, Sammy Watkins comes underneath Kelce and runs a flat-7 route. The outside corner stays with Watkins, leaving Tyreek Hill in space with against Derwin James. Tyreek Hill threatens James vertically, gives an inside nod that he bites on and breaks out toward the sideline.
Mahomes knows all the receivers to that side are working to the sidelines. When he sees space to step up and escape he starts working to them, like he would if he were on a sprint out. It works perfectly within the structure of the design, and even though he is working out of the pocket is able to give the structure of the play a chance.
Mahomes throws with excellent velocity and anticipation. I like that Mahomes attacked the deepest route on the play, but he also made the right decision. There was so much pace for Hill to work with that he could adjust back to the ball a little. When you create that much space, you have some wiggle room.
Even though the game was winding down and the Chiefs were up two scores, Mahomes didn’t show any fear. He saw the opportunity and pulled the trigger. He went for the throat even though they were backed up near their own end zone. The Chiefs ultimately extended the lead with a touchdown to end this drive that Mahomes and Hill extended.
#SomethingBad There's some good things on this play from Mahomes we'll talk about, and he had a guy near his feet. If he's going to miss, he needs to miss long here. Hill made an amazing catch to adjust to the underthrow. It cost him a little time and could've cost him more. pic.twitter.com/GGtPj5ojHH— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) September 11, 2018
There was a lot of good on this play, but not everything. The design was great and Mahomes actually killed into this play, meaning that they had more than one call in the huddle and based on alignment elected to run it.
Mahomes came out of play action with Tyreek Hill running a deep cross from the slot and Travis Kelce coming underneath him on a high corner. The Chiefs were able to get Sammy Watkins, Kelce, Hill and Hunt (after a faint attempt to chip the EDGE) all out on routes. Hill made an incredible catch, but it came at a price. He was checked for head and shoulder injuries after that acrobatic catch on an under-throw in traffic.
Mahomes pulled up on the throw, leaving it inside and short. It might have been due to the defensive lineman at his feet, but he needs to deliver through the pressure if he’s going to try and throw over two defensive backs, which he failed to do. If he’s going to take that shot, I would’ve liked to see the ball placed deeper, over both safeties and near the sideline. If he can't then he should (*gasp*) probably work down to the running back. Hill was able to track the ball and adjust in the air to complete it, but he landed awkwardly and had to sit out the next series as a result of medical checks.
The Chiefs need to keep the Mahomes to Hill connection healthy, and it was put at risk with the ball placement. If you’re going to take a shot like that, you can’t put Hill in a compromising situation like that. The risk was avoidable, and it would’ve been awful to see half of the newest, most explosive tandem in football miss time.
Every week I’m going to add a quick note about something I’ve picked up about the quarterback position through my time learning the game.
Good quarterbacks lie. Their bodies and eyes tell the story they want it to. When we’re talking about what a quarterback is reading, just because his head or body is moving doesn’t mean they’re processing the play where they’re looking. In some instances, the processing is already done and they’re using the time to move defenders to create or maintain space to deliver a throw.