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Film review: Mahomes and Hill remain the NFL’s perfect QB/WR combo

On Sunday in Philadelphia, the superstar duo showed why they are the most feared connection in all of football.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Miami Dolphins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Many would argue that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the best in the world right now. Many would also suggest that his teammate Tyreek Hill is currently the NFL’s most difficult wide receiver to defend.

And there are some who would tell you that Mahomes and Hill are currently the league’s most explosive quarterback-to-wide receiver combination. They might even say it’s a match made in football heaven — perhaps the greatest ever.

I am one of those people.

So let’s look at how the special traits of these two players allowed Tyreek Hill’s incredible, dynamic performance on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles to feel so... normal.

The deep connection

Hill is quite literally the league’s only wide receiver who almost certainly needs a safety assigned over the top on every single play. When teams don’t commit the appropriate level of defensive resources to mitigate his impact, Mahomes and Hill go off.

But by itself, being the fastest player in the league isn’t enough. What cements Hill’s status as the NFL’s most dynamic weapon is that he is one of the best in the game at making plays on the football deep downfield.

In order to maximize his success, however, he still needs a quarterback who can get him the football in a variety of ways. Fortunately for Chiefs fans, Hill catches passes from a guy who can do just that. When Mahomes and Hill go to work in the Kansas City offense, there is truly no area of the field that isn’t threatened.

Run-pass option concepts

There are numerous benefits to be had from the newly-constituted Kansas City offensive line dominating the opposition in the running game — as they did against the Eagles on Sunday. One of them was how much success they had while executing slant/flat run-pass option (RPO) plays — specifically in the second half.

Mahomes’ incredible arm strength — even from non-traditional platforms — enables the two of them to be ‘right’ even when the play is sometimes read somewhat incorrectly; Hill is not afraid to make these plays in traffic near the middle of the field. Once the ball is in his hands, he typically only has to make one or two players miss before he is off and running for a long, long time (see the 2020 AFC Championship game vs. the Buffalo Bills).

Counters to extra coverage attention

In the previous two games against the Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Chargers, those defenses did a fine job of making it very challenging for Mahomes to get the ball to Hill in open areas. They did so by dedicating extra defenders to help cover Hill — which allowed other offensive skill players like Travis Kelce to shine brightly in those contests.

So against the Eagles, head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy’s game plan had some additional wrinkles that allowed Mahomes and Hill to develop a more consistent connection.

And when all else fails, Reid and Bieniemy have always been great about getting Hill touches with end-arounds, jet sweeps and screen passes. When targeting him in space, Mahomes’ quick release and superb ball placement always allows Hill to create plenty of yards after the catch.

Even on this play — given the hash from which the ball is snapped and how well the Eagles play it — the Chiefs get a solid result.

The bottom line

The Mahomes-to-Hill connection dominated the Eagles on Sunday — not for the first time, and not for the last. With new wide receiver Josh Gordon now joining the team, it could be even more difficult for opposing defenses to mitigate the damage Mahomes and Hill can do.

Now led by a youthful, physically dominant offensive line, possessing solid complementary playmakers and the elite trio of Mahomes, Hill and Kelce, the Kansas City offense aims to maintain its historic efficiency through the rest of the season.