This is part two of a weekly film analysis on the performance of Patrick Mahomes. Find something good and something bad against the Ravens here.
Here is something smart and something special from this week’s game.
Andy Reid is known to design plays to use the opponent’s preparation against it. Patrick Mahomes liked one such call enough to lobby for it the night before and use it in a critical.
“We go through that every week, those situations. You don’t want to be in them, but we go through them. That was Pat’s play,” said Reid following the Chiefs 33-28 victory against the Baltimore Ravens.
#SomethingSmart Chiefs set up their game winning 3rd and 9 with an identical look @ OAK.— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) September 25, 2019
Mahomes: "We set it up last week by running the little pump-pass."
"They saw the formation and thought we were going that way and we were kind of able to slip them out the
back door.” pic.twitter.com/HZtUM0wgxJ
On a second-and-9 in the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders, the Chiefs set up the look they would ice the biggest game of the NFL’s young calendar with. Travis Kelce short motions off the line of scrimmage and off-tackle. Mahomes pump-fakes a slip screen and try to hit Sammy Watkins, who fakes a block initially before slipping down the sideline. The pass was high and incomplete, but showing the look helped them get heavy pursuit away from the intended target the following.
“We set it up last week by running the little pump-pass out there and so we knew, especially with the Ravens they had a good veteran group of guys, they saw the formation and thought we were going that way and we were kind of able to slip them out the back door and get the first down,” said Mahomes.
Reid and Mahomes used Baltimore’s preparation against them to run a screen out to Darrel Williams on a third-and-9 that would allow the Chiefs to run out the remainder of the game. It was actually Mahomes’ choice in a four-minute situation, where teams are trying to eat up the clock and keep a lead without giving the ball back.
“That one there, was Pat’s play he wanted if we got in that situation and so we called it,” said Reid.
“We go through our four-minute situations every week,” said Mahomes. “I’ve done it for three years now and we finally call a play we had already prepared for the night before.”
The young quarterback’s input, personality and fingerprints are all on the plays Reid dials up every week. These small moments tell a lot about how special of a player Mahomes is.
This throw is a representation of the hard work Mahomes has put in to continually improve upon his stellar young career.
This is rare anticipation and trust from Mahomes. The poise to deliver a ball with touch under pressure like this is special. Excellent finish by Demarcus Robinson. When people would list off the weapons on the Chiefs offense, no one was bringing up Honey Thunder. They are now. pic.twitter.com/G5pnFQZq8A— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) September 23, 2019
Aside from the raw talent Mahomes possesses, throws like this can’t be made without anticipating pressure, seeing the field clearly and having the poise to throw with touch.
The Ravens brought a nickel blitz and Mahomes sees it. Baltimore busts its coverage with the middle-field safety and underneath defender driving on Kelce. In fact, they’re still driving down as Mahomes is releasing the football. No one covers Sammy Watkins. Regardless, Mahomes saw Demarcus Robinson one on one on a corner route and knew he had him early.
The trust between the two is obvious, and they’ve built a connection. It was valuable here. Mahomes releases this ball before Robinson breaks to the corner. With pressure closing and an understanding of the space he has to work within the corner of the end zone, he lofts the ball off his back foot in a place where only Robinson can catch it. You can’t release the ball as early as he did without processing what he saw quickly. Robinson finishes the play with an exceptional catch for a touchdown.
It’s not just the unique physical skills that make Mahomes great. It’s the preparation, poise and feel for the game that have turned him into the best quarterback in the National Football League.