“I remember watching that game when he got hurt,” Mesa said. “We played great that game, and I couldn’t even enjoy it. I was just sitting there so sad. Before he stepped in as our quarterback, we hadn’t really had since Len Dawson an elite quarterback. Nobody is like Pat Mahomes, anywere. He’s like a generational talent. He does things — the no-look pass, never seen that before.”
So when Mahomes recovered so quickly?
“No surprise,” Mesa said. “He’s just built different. Anybody else would have just blown out their knee on that play. But, nah, his knee’s built to take that. He’s half-man, half-amazing.”
Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
Mahomes brings the arm strength, but perhaps even more so, he offers unmatched touch. Rodgers qualifies here, on occasion, but there are few quarterbacks in NFL history who’ve showcased more highlight-reel arm and body contortions -- and then completed precision throws in the process. If you need someone to drop an airy floater right into the arms of a streaking receiver, he’s your guy.
8. Kansas City Chiefs (down 6)
Even when the Chiefs lose Patrick Mahomes looks like he’s being controlled by a 10-thumbed alien playing Madden (in this scenario the alien is well versed in both the rules of football and an experienced gamer). The problem is they’re losing too often (that does tend to be a problem in professional sports). Two more and they can probably say bye to their playoff bye.
Patrick Mahomes to Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
Next Gen Stats says ...
The Chiefs will need Hill’s ability to create yards after the catch as they fight for playoff seeding. According to Next Gen Stats, Hill’s YAC-success rate comes in at 54.8 percent, the highest mark on the team among those with at least 40 targets.
While London has received the influx recently, the appetite appears present in Mexico. Leech said the league’s research has shown there are 22 million NFL fans in Mexico. It further categorizes one-third of those as “avid football fans.”
“I think it’s a tremendous market for us, and there’s a lot of opportunity,” Leech said. “So while there are over 20 million fans here in Mexico, we think there’s great opportunity to increase that number over time. And certainly having games in that market is a great way for fans to touch and feel and experience the NFL. But we’re constantly looking for other ways, as well, to connect with those people.”
Quarterbacking the Chiefs was Steve Bono — the latest in an endless line of ex-Niners signal-callers to eventually wind up in Kansas City and a man, who, to put it nicely, had his legs account for 0.0 percent of his presence in the NFL. And yet he ripped off a near-unprecedented, extraordinary touchdown run that was really just going on a lovely stroll with a pal for what felt like eternity.
The Patriots game that immediately preceded it definitely deserves to be on here. While comebacks were abound when the Patriots faced off against teams like the Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos in the playoffs this decade, no non-Super Bowl game was as purely thrilling as the 2019 AFC Championship Game between the Pats and the Kansas City Chiefs. In it, Tom Brady was pitted against young upstart Patrick Mahomes, in what many billed as the “passing of the torch.” As it turned out, Brady was not yet ready to cede the mantle to Mahomes.
Chargers (4-6) vs. Chiefs (6-4), Mexico City
Bold prediction: The Chargers will rush for 200 yards. Melvin Gordon recorded his first 100-yard rushing game of the season last week (108) in a loss to the Raiders. The Chiefs are giving up 148 rushing yards per game, second worst in the NFL. The combination of Gordon and Austin Ekeler should create problems for Kansas City defensively. -- Eric D. Williams
Around the NFL
“We are extremely disappointed in what transpired last evening at the end of our game,” Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement Friday. “There is no place for that in football and that is not reflective of the core values we strive for as an organization. We sincerely apologize to Mason Rudolph and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Myles Garrett has been a good teammate and member of our organization and community for the last three years but his actions last night were completely unacceptable. We understand the consequences from the league for his actions.”
Kaepernick, his receivers and NFL officials conducting Saturday’s workout will not be allowed into the facility until about 2 p.m. ET, when the Falcons are scheduled to depart for Carolina for their Sunday matchup with the Panthers, a source told Schefter. The Falcons are supplying an equipment person, a trainer and a videographer to help the NFL conduct Kaepernick’s workout.
Plan Your Weekend Around This Game
Houston Texans (6-3) @ Baltimore Ravens (7-2)
The outcome could have large ramifications on the playoffs. Currently the Ravens are the no. 2 seed in the AFC and in line for a first-round bye. The Texans are the no. 3 seed. If Houston wins, the two teams will flip places. A first-round bye is a crucial factor for both who makes the Super Bowl and who wins MVP. Perhaps a championship and the biggest award in the game could once again be waiting for these quarterbacks at the end of this season.
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“That was a scenario that was discussed, but we also felt pretty good about our special teams,” said Bieniemy. “We felt that we would get it done. One thing we do as a staff, we always sit and go through the scenarios. We plan each and every game out. When it’s all said and done with, we make each and every decision wholeheartedly. We’re all in, so we were all in. We knew the consequences. It’s like any other play. Some plays are successful, some plays aren’t, but that’s why you play a team game as well.”
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