Heading into the Kansas City Chiefs’ preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals, head coach Andy Reid said that he planned to play quarterback Patrick Mahomes for the first quarter. What actually happened was Mahomes lasted seven plays.
And that was likely because in those seven plays, he crossed off every box a coach might want in a first night’s work.
“It’s just a different feeling when you have to get ready to play a game,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said after the 38-17 win. “It’s different than camp. So, getting yourself prepared and kind of feeling that little burn that you get in there. That competitive burn where you have to raise it up a notch and prep for a game. So, he did all of that and we got him out of there.”
Within those seven plays, Mahomes completed a difficult 36-yard pass to Travis Kelce down the left sideline while getting thumped by defensive end Carlos Dunlap. He connected with Sammy Watkins and Blake Bell, handed the ball off twice to Carlos Hyde and snapped it in both the shotgun and under center.
“It’s always good to get out there, especially with this crowd that we had tonight,” he said. “It felt like a regular-season game. To have that atmosphere and go out there and have a great drive and score. The guys coming in and scoring too. We put up 38 points. So, put up those kind of numbers in a game like that with a lot of different groups, is good to see.”
Starting at his own 17, Mahomes worked his way down to the Cincinnati 11. On the second-and-4 play, he saw the opportunity to scramble.
“I was just kind of scrambling out, trying to find someone open,” Mahomes explained of his decision to run.
When Patrick Mahomes was almost hit hard in the first quarter, Andy Reid decided he had seen enough. pic.twitter.com/TV7NKHMWoq— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) August 11, 2019
Mahomes stood up in the pocket, rolled out right, then cut back left, where it looked like there could be a window to score. The only problem was that linebacker Nick Vigil was in his line of sight. Rather than trying to break the plane, Mahomes slid at the 1.
The fans at Arrowhead Stadium let out a collective sigh of relief.
“I knew there was a good chance I could’ve gotten in there but [Vigil] was coming downhill pretty fast, so, I decided to save it for the regular season.”
Asked about the play after the game, Reid smirked.
“That’s why you take him out of the game,” he joked.
“No, he didn’t say anything to me,” Mahomes said of Reid. “I mean, I know, he knows it’s a smart decision you make during the preseason. In the season I would probably go for it but right now I’ll keep sliding it down there.”
No touchdowns for Mahomes, but he finished a perfect 4 for 4 for 66 passing yards on the night. Carlos Hyde, filling in for a recovering Damien Williams, scored the 1-yard touchdown instead.
Reid’s game-one mission—to get the competitive burn in Mahomes going again—proved successful. Four weeks from Saturday, the end of the play at the goal line might have an alternate ending.