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Patrick Mahomes film review: something smart and something special

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Part two of our three-part Patrick Mahomes Week 1 film review is in.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

This is part two of a three-part weekly film analysis on the performance of Patrick Mahomes. Part one here.


Something smart

After all the good things that had happened throughout the day for Patrick Mahomes, this left me a little speechless. Not because it was spectacular, but just because I felt guilty for getting to enjoy another great play by the young quarterback.

“That was a beautiful throw to Sherm. I was anticipating the corner falling off on Sherm, and #51 carrying Kelce. But he read through that and it ended being how we practiced it.” - Andy Reid at his Monday teleconference

This isn’t a wheel route but actually part of a simple four verticals concept run out of a unique personnel grouping and formation. This is a switch release at the top of the screen. Sherman runs his vertical from under Travis Kelce to a landmark outside the numbers. As Reid mentioned, they anticipated the corner to fall off to the outside vertical, Sherman and the outside linebacker to carry Kelce. Instead, the opposite happened and the defense sorted through the switch release. Mahomes did a great job of identifying the coverage.

The timing, touch and anticipation to hit a fullback who probably doesn’t get thrown to a lot is impressive. Where some guys Mahomes has built up a lot of reps with, Sherman isn’t going vertical all too much. Nonetheless, Mahomes placed it perfectly over the chasing linebacker—a perfect up-and-down ball to hit Sherman in stride for a touchdown.

The fact that the team anticipated one look but it didn’t deter him from reading through the play is a great sign. Mahomes is not a robot. In fact, he mentioned that he hit Sherman the three times in practice they ran it that week because they weren’t getting the look from the scout defense they were anticipating seeing in the game. He’s thinking through what he’s seeing and pulling the trigger. He continues to impress me as he shows his ability to process.

Something special

So much to unpack here. This is fun.

This is an example of Andy Reid tailoring concepts to the talent he has to work with. Where the Chiefs used a lot of run-pass options with bubbles attached to run plays, the Chiefs elected to primarily run slants attached to the backside of their run plays. The front side of the play is running a run play, and right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz are in pass protection.

What’s more, everything about the body language of Mahomes makes me think this was a hint of a no-look pass. Not a full-fledged Jason Kidd, but more of a peripheral no look.

Talking through it with the rest of the AP Nerd Squad, Matt framed it as “The Madden vision cone wasn’t centered” referencing the QB vision on the NFL game. That’s an excellent way of explaining. I don’t think safety Derwin James thought this ball was getting thrown behind him. The underneath defenders seem a tick late opening up to the throw, as if they didn’t anticipate it being there. I think Mahomes held the underneath defenders just a tick extra.

Another thing to appreciate is how quickly Mahomes got rid of the ball. Chargers defensive lineman Brandon Mebane has a free shot at the young quarterback, and not much distance left to cover.

Mahomes is able to deliver the throw in limited space and time, something that not many quarterbacks and the planet are capable of.