It’s our Monday morning column, The Re-Up. 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.
If you can manage it, travel back in time with me for a second.
We don’t have to go too far back—only a month. Let’s imagine it’s August 25, 2018. It is about 4 p.m. Arrowhead Time, and the Chicago Bears, led by an old friend in Chase Daniel, have just made the Chiefs pass defense look silly in the team’s final dress rehearsal prior to the 2018 regular season.
Other than The Throw, the Chiefs offense, well, the Chiefs offense looks—average. David Amerson is still a member of the Chiefs and the organization has these daunting first six weeks of the season ahead:
- Week 1: the AFC West favorite Las Vegas-Los Angeles Chargers at Soccer Central USA
- Week 2: the unbeatable Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field
- Week 3: the undefeated Jimmy G and the San Francisco 49ers back at home
- Week 4: Monday Night Football vs. a tough Denver Broncos defense on the road
- Week 5: Oh, and speaking of defense, Jacksonville Jaguars at home
- Week 6: Sunday Night Football on the road in New England against the Patriots
Me (and probably many of you): “Sh-t. 3-3 would be great.”
Well, it took three weeks for the Chiefs to clinch that record, and with their next three opponents combining for a 3-3 start, 6-0 doesn’t just seem plausible; it seems... likely?
In a brand new day of Kansas City football, the Chiefs have opened up as four-point favorites heading into Denver next week. Jacksonville just lost 9-6 to the Tennessee Titans and the mighty New England Patriots are 1-2.
Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes has thrown an NFL-record 13 touchdowns through the first three weeks of the season and for all the worry of him not being able to take care of the football—he’s thrown no picks (by the way, Alex Smith has one, but I digress).
So how did we get here, and why does it feel like a blur?
When I first started writing today’s column, I was thinking a lot about how this whole thing feels like the beginning of a movie. But it really isn’t that—because a movie lasts two or three hours, and it’s over in a flash.
What this feels like is the beginning of Mahomes, the Netflix series—and we are on episode two or three of season one in a series that is starting to feel like could run as long as The Simpsons.
It isn't just that Mahomes is winning; it’s how he’s winning.
He is in sync with one of the best play-callers in history in Andy Reid on an all-star team. And we’ve seen in the past that on a team of all-stars, those said stars could get restless.
But that isn’t happening since everybody’s getting fed.
“It speaks to the guys that we have,” Mahomes, who has thrown a touchdown pass to nine different receivers this season, said after the game. “There are guys on the practice squad that we have that can come up and play. Guys everywhere, we’re really deep at every single position. Knowing that I have those weapons whenever someone has to get a break, we say if you’re tired get a break, because I know that I can trust the next guy coming in that he’ll make a play.”
And that isn’t just player-speak; it’s true.
Mahomes is placing full trust in every single potential pass target—from Anthony Sherman to Demetrius Harris, both of whom, by the way, have touchdowns on the season.
Sherman has two touchdowns with Mahomes in four games after a drought since October of 2014. Harris scored for the first time Sunday since opening night in New England last season.
And that’s why it is no wonder there are exchanges like this:
Our photographer Bill Lindsey captured a brief exchange between Anthony Sherman and Patrick Mahomes before the game.— Tom Martin (@TomKCTV5) September 23, 2018
Sherman walks up and says, "Just be you."
Demetrius Harris chimes in: "Which is great." pic.twitter.com/4mPmjmVgr0
Even 23-year-old prodigies can use reassurance, and Sherman was there to tell him to just be himself. And right there was Harris to confirm. End scene.
On the field, Mahomes made a play Sunday that I feel only Aaron Rodgers—and perhaps Russell Wilson—could have made, when he was pressured to his left, found a way to escape to his right and had the presence of mind to locate Chris Conley in the back of the end zone and throw on the run for the score.
“That one where he rolled out and threw it. I taught him how to do that,” said Reid after the game, laughing. “Listen, the guys are making plays. They are doing a great job of that. For instance, that one that Patrick did. You can’t teach that. He’s seeing it down there, the guys are getting open, they are working to get open, which is important when you are in the red-zone. Those are small windows in there and he is able to see it and throw it.”
Mahomes’ play on the field is shattering preconceived notions that have been instilled in me from watching and later covering football for the last 20 years.
You shouldn’t be this sure the Chiefs are going to win with the defense this damn weak. But doesn’t it feel like if anyone is going to alter the cliché, “defense wins championships,” it’s going to be Mahomes?
The Chiefs have allowed 1,422 yards on defense this season, the worst in the league and more than 150 yards more than the next team in line, yet I am certain the Chiefs will have an opportunity to win the next three games and every game the rest of the season.
This must be how Packers and Patriots fans and writers have felt for years. Players two to 53 on a roster matter little when your No. 1 is this good.
And here’s a bonus: how good a person No. 1 happens to be.
It became apparent Sunday that 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppoolo would likely be done for the season due to an ACL injury suffered against the Chiefs. Here is a candid video of Garoppolo being carted out of the stadium that was caught by a San Francisco columnist:
Garoppolo carted out of Arrowhead. pic.twitter.com/KNz6QX2EXO— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dkurtenbach) September 23, 2018
See that nine-second mark?
That’s Mahomes—the king of Kansas City and the savior of Chiefs football—going out of his way to wish Garoppolo well. Mahomes could act a certain way with how great he is playing.
But the best part of the way he is performing on the field is that he is every bit humble—and by all indications, a good man off of it.
He’s the perfect main subject for this Netflix original series—the one Chiefs fans hope will never end.
STAT OF THE GAME
This week’s stat of the game is less about the game and more so a preview.
The Chiefs will play the Cleveland Browns on November 4 and will feature Mahomes taking on Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, but the two have already faced each other in college. Texas Tech (Mahomes) played Oklahoma (Mayfield) in college and the two combined for 1,383 yards of total offense and 14 touchdowns in 66-59 Oklahoma win.
Mahomes went 52 for 88 for 734 yards, five touchdowns and one interception in the game.
GIF OF THE GAME
TWEET(s) OF THE GAME
- 1. Patrick Mahomes on Chris Conley’s road back from injury: “I saw it all last season after he had his injury last season. The rehab that he came in every single day and attacked. He is a guy who wants to be on the field, he plays with a ton of passion and a ton of heart and I respect that and he makes plays out there.”
- 2. Andy Reid on the offensive line standing up for Mahomes after the play: “It’s like sweet and sour pork. Some of it is good and some of it is not so good. You want them there to protect their quarterback and you understand that. They love the kid. On the other hand, you don’t want penalties. You have to be smart with it. They seem to be smart and still get their point across not to mess with him (Patrick). That is important to have that element that those guys take a lot of pride in protecting him. Very important, and likewise for the running back.”
- 3. Sammy Watkins on the Chiefs’ ability to break tackles: “I think it’s from the coaches. First off, I came here and I wasn’t catching the ball and finishing cause that wasn’t what other teams did. But now, that’s what they harp on. Catch the ball, sprint, get moving, then as soon as you catch the ball that’s kind of natural reaction. Now I think as soon as I get it, it’s trying to find green grass.”
- 4. Tyreek Hill on Mahomes’ wild touchdown pass to Conley: “He had scrambled out my way for a minute then he reversed field and made a play. It was crazy. Pat is slow. Let’s be real, he’s slow. (laughing) It was a great play though, I’m not taking anything away from Pat. It was a great play. He did his thing and Chris, he stayed with Pat in the back of the end zone, two yards from the back line. He did his thing.”
- 5. Dr. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif on playing at Arrowhead Stadium: “You get here in the morning and there is that BBQ smell, everybody is around cheering and it’s getting loud on third down. We got a few offsides on their side because of the crowd. Of course, it made a big difference for us.”
THE BIG THOUGHT
I know the Chiefs are up against the cap. I know that gives them very little room to maneuver. But something has to be done about the defense (I’d guess the Chiefs know that with rumors swirling about safety Earl Thomas). The Chiefs are 3-0 and their offense is historically good. I think about the 5-0 start to last season with Alex Smith and how that team eventually hit a speed bump. But I just don’t think that will happen to the Chiefs offense this year—they are scoring in too many ways and are rolling, all while running back Kareem Hunt, a star in his own right, hasn’t even hit his stride yet. This is a championship offense THIS YEAR. There are never any guarantees in the NFL (or in life, for that matter) on a year-to-year basis. Improve the defense now and win the wide-open AFC.
POLL OF THE WEEK
Which of the next three games scares you the most?
This poll is closed
at New England
Tell us why in the comments.