This is part one of a three-part weekly film analysis on the performance of Patrick Mahomes.
A very happy new year to all of you; it promises to be a big one at Arrowhead Pride. We have some exciting plans already that we’ll reveal in the near future. I’m grateful to be part of a great group of people.
I spent hat-and-T-shirt day against the Raiders in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, where I watched the game from a Buffalo Wild Wings, the only place that had the Chiefs game. The only TV near me that had the broadcast was a very sharp look up. I even ran into a few Chiefs fans from Liberty. Small world.
This week’s performance from Mahomes was one of his worst of the season. There were near-interceptions and inconsistencies with ball placement. I realized something this week about Mahomes that seems to have held true throughout the season: even when things aren’t going great, he’s found ways to move the chains. He’s consistently bailed himself and his team out of bad situations on third-and-longs. What’s amazing is it’s been repeatable. There are a few third-down instances that will show up again this week in the article. It’s an encouraging sign moving forward.
It was an historical week, as Mahomes surpassed 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns on the season. The touchdowns he tallied to get there will be featured later. One play that led up to his first touchdown pass of the game gave him the chance to do it.
#SomethingGood Mahomes' 49 TD pass almost didn't happen on the first drive. 3rd and long, pressure closes, Mahomes spins out, gets his eyes to the flats quick, rotates enough to get a throw off to Sherman. Great effort. pic.twitter.com/TBKL3MjbZp— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) January 1, 2019
The Chiefs face a third-and-10 on their first drive of the game. Kelvin Benjamin, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are working past the sticks. Anthony Sherman and Charcandrick West are leaking late after chipping. Mahomes doesn’t even get to the top of his drop before facing pressure and spins out. His eyes get back downfield field quickly and he sees Sherman in the flats. Mahomes doesn’t get a full rotation to deliver the ball but is able to turn enough to get the ball to the fullback as he’s being dragged to the ground. Sherman does a great job getting the line to gain after the catch. Mahomes giving this play a chance was excellent, and he was rewarded with his 49th touchdown pass of the season a few plays later (more on that later this week).
Mahomes made a great throw early in rhythm.
I think Mahomes knew he was going to the dig pretty early on the snap of the ball. His eyes start to the three-receiver side lined up to the field but gets back to Kelce on the hitch of his drop. Great ball, on time, out in front of Kelce to give him a chance to do something with it after. Mahomes is good out of structure, but he’s also been surgical at times if you don’t generate pressure. You have to pick your poison with him, and it’s rarely a good answer.
Mahomes’ lone interception of the game came on a shot play.
The Chiefs line up in the condensed formation they’ve used a lot of the last two years—the deep concept on this play is a post by Hill with a dig underneath it. With front-side pressure off the edge, Mahomes stepped up a little to avoid pressure and then hitched to try and get enough behind the ball. Had that little slide up not happened, Mahomes gets this off cleanly and probably gets enough on it to throw over the top of the entire defense. Instead, the hitch up carries him into pressure up the middle. His arm gets hit and he isn’t able to get everything he wants on it. Amazingly, the ball still travels over 55 yards in the air. Unfortunately, the ball is underthrown and intercepted. I wonder if he might’ve been able to get the ball to Hill without such a big hitch up. Not positive on that, but it might have given him a better chance.
Every week, I add a quick note about something I’ve picked up about the quarterback position through my time learning and playing the game.
“How do you feel about...”
In most situations, quarterbacks get some input on the play-calling. Coaches will be in communication with the quarterbacks before the game plan is built, before the final call sheet is printed and sometimes on the sideline/during a timeout whether they want to run a certain play. Good coaches want their quarterback to feel comfortable and keep things fluid with them all the way up to the play call. Things could change throughout the week or game to affect the comfort level.