It was the Kansas City Chiefs’ turn for Monday Night Football, so fans had to wait an extra day to watch the team take on the Los Angeles Chargers in the last game the Chiefs will play until December. Fans were hoping for an exciting game that would give energy to a team (and a city) staring at a bye week.
But it was far from the most enjoyable game we’ve seen from Patrick Mahomes and the offense. In fact, it might have been the worst. After two second-half scores, the play-calling was substandard. Late in the fourth quarter, that left the door open for the Chargers to have a chance to tie with seven points or... gulp... go for two for an outright win.
We’ll get into the play-calling later this week on the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory podcast. There’s plenty to talk about.
In the meantime, here’s something good and something bad from the win over the Chargers.
#SomethingGood Excellent throw between the underneath defender and safety on the touchdown to Kelce. Don't take for granted that Mahomes got hit on the delivery and was willing to hang in to deliver a perfect ball. pic.twitter.com/RkhHWIZvnA— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) November 21, 2019
Fans in Mexico City didn’t get to see too much of Mahomes’ typical play. This was an exception.
The Chiefs are lined up in a their typical Y-Iso (tight end isolated) bunch look with Kelce solo in the boundary. They send him on a corner route; not even the running back is working underneath him.
As this play shows, Eric Fisher’s first day back in the lineup wasn’t his best one. Uchenna Nwosu beats him off the edge quickly. Mahomes doesn’t have much time to get the ball off, but he doesn’t need it. He’s able to deliver the throw before the linebacker is able to hit him.
Mahomes is fearless on this play — and without that fearlessness, the Chiefs wouldn’t have scored on it. The pressure doesn’t affect him. The timing, touch and trajectory of the throw is perfect. Remember: Mahomes is not far removed from two separate lower body injuries — yet despite a potential hit to his lower body, he is able to make the throw.
This isn’t a common play. Not every quarterback is able to make it with this kind of precision. This play was ultimately was the difference in the game. If the Chiefs weren’t able to execute it, the result of the game could have been much different. It was a great throw.
#SomethingBad Mahomes might have been able to fit this ball to Robinson if he got to him earlier (still not sure) out of the run action, but it was pretty good coverage by LA. Aggressive attempt lead to an interception. pic.twitter.com/3qMgPhrqaz— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) November 21, 2019
Despite the typically explosive nature of the offense, interceptions are not a common occurrence in Kansas City. For just the second time this season (although several people in my Twitter mentions don’t acknowledge the first one), Mahomes completed a pass to an opponent.
It was odd to see a decision like this from the reigning MVP.
The Chiefs are running a vertical concept out of a closed formation. Kelce is lined up in a three-point stance, attached to the offensive line — which is what makes it a closed formation. The defense looks like it’s in cover 3, but it’s likely match quarters coverage. You can see safety Jaylen Watkins (#27) lined up close to the box. He actually winds up carrying vertically with Mecole Hardman, who is the third receiver to the right. Safety Rayshawn Jenkins (#23) is staying more to the hash mark than the middle of the field.
This is a play action pass. Mahomes takes his time getting out of the play fake. Mahomes wants to hit Mecole Hardman out of the action, but works his way to Demarcus Robinson up the seam. Unfortunately, he’s too late to have a chance to get the ball to Robinson — and as it is, he may not have really have a window in which to throw. He tries to force it, but Jenkins is able to transition and close on the ball for an interception that prevents a trip into the red zone.
Mahomes may not have seen the coverage cleanly — or he was simply too late to get to his throw. Either way, forcing it up the seam caused a turnover.