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Breaking down one of the best throws of Patrick Mahomes’ career

Yes, the jump-pass was a top-10 moment. The fact that it’s somewhat debatable speaks to the magic of Mahomes.

Kansas City Chiefs v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

This is part two of a weekly film analysis on the performance of Patrick Mahomes. Find something good and something bad against the Titans here.

Here is something smart and something special from this week’s game.

Something smart

Safety Kenny Vaccaro is lined up over Travis Kelce in the boundary. The Titans are in man coverage. They have four defenders over bunch set to the field, and my guess is Mahomes knows that won’t be the case on the snap of the ball. It’s likely Cover 0.

Safety Kevin Byard enters the box late, and Tennessee is sending six for the Chiefs’ five blockers in the protection call.

Mahomes signals running back Damien Williams out of the backfield and to the field with linebacker Wesley Woodyard following. The ball is intentionally snapped early so that the linebacker creates traffic for the defenders lined up over the bunch. That small bit of execution actually gets Sammy Watkins uncovered after Woodyard trips cornerback Adoree Jackson.

Tyreek Hill is darting to space in the boundary corner of the end zone against man coverage with no help over the top. The Chiefs are running mesh underneath with Kelce and Demarcus Robinson, furthering proof they anticipated man coverage. The Titans send six for the Chiefs’ five blockers. Mahomes sees it, and he knows he has a good matchup with Hill running away from cornerback Logan Ryan. Knowing he has to get the ball gone, Mahomes smartly throws fading away at the top of his drop and lofts the ball to allow Hill the chance to run under the ball. The throw is on time and perfectly placed. Mahomes had to process through the play quickly to convert in the red zone. He was able to avoid a free shot by getting the ball out early and falling away from pressure.

Something special

Remember in Space Jam when Michael Jordan jumped from the mid-court line off a pile of Monstars and Stretch-Armstronged for a buzzer-beating score? Mahomes’ jump pass was the realistic football equivalent.

The Chiefs are running a Sticks concept on this third-and-9 play. They send three men out (Kelce, Hill and Mecole Hardman) to get past the sticks and find space. Running back Darrel Williams is staying in to protect with Demarcus Robinson chipping and leaking late into the flat.

The Titans are in man-free coverage and send five to rush the quarterback. Mahomes feels pressure off both edges and is forced to step up in the pocket at the top of his drop. The problem for the quarterback is that there isn’t much space to get the throw off because the pocket has collapsed up the middle. Does Mahomes, 24 days removed from dislocating his kneecap, give up? Nope. He just jump-throws it to create space to get the ball off. He goes air-born, is able to release over the line to Hardman, who is working the middle of the field against Ryan.

The ball placement is absurd, considering what he had to do to get the ball even thrown. Hardman sticks his foot in the ground as Ryan runs past. Mahomes throws the ball with anticipation of the break away from the recovering Ryan. There wasn’t a ton of separation, but Mahomes’ ball placement allowed Hardman to catch the ball on his upfield shoulder, letting him to run through the arm tackle and burst down the field. He was about to outrun safety Amani Hooker and Jackson for a 63-yard touchdown.

This was a truly special play that sits in Mahomes’ top 10 on his career. The fact that it’s debatably in the top 10 tells you all you need to know about the first 25 starts of his career.

Arrowhead Pride Laboratory

We went into further detail on Mahomes’ performance and more on the mailbag edition of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory.

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