Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had a week to stew on one of the worst games of his career. In Week 14’s 34-28 win against the Denver Broncos, the face of the NFL threw three interceptions — allowing the Broncos back into a game they once trailed 27-0.
Mahomes followed the near-disaster with one of the most efficient games of his career in Sunday’s 30-24 overtime victory over the Houston Texans. The Chiefs’ star completed 36 of 41 pass attempts for 336 yards with a pair of touchdown passes — and no interceptions. He completed his final 19 pass attempts and scrambled for a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter.
On a day the Chiefs had difficulty with an opponent heading for the draft’s first selection, Mahomes’ near-flawless performance was necessary.
Patrick Mahomes completed a season-high +10.3% of his passes over expected in Week 15, including 19-straight completions to end the game.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) December 18, 2022
The chances of Mahomes' completion streak — based on the difficulty of each throw — was just 0.8%. #KCvsHOU | #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/5b7KRheQjd
Through 14 games, Mahomes leads the league both in passing yards (4,496) and touchdowns (35). A week after his MVP candidacy appeared to be trending down, Sunday’s performance likely keeps him in the race.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid appeared ready to declare Mahomes the winner when speaking after the win. He also credited his quarterback with improving from last week.
“You saw Pat and what he did,” Reid declared. “He took care of business today. He went back to work and worked on it. You’re talking about a guy who if he’s not the MVP of the league — I don’t know what’s wrong with it. He cleaned it up and comes out — and we have almost 500 yards of offense. That’s a pretty spectacular day there. A great example of how you go back to the drawing board and clean everything up.”
Mahomes explained in his remarks that he focused this week on taking what was available — rather than chasing a big play.
“I think I just went back to the fundamentals,” he recalled. “When I watched the tape from the week before, I feel like I left easy throws out there. Today, I just tried to take those when they were there. You’ve got to keep third downs manageable.
“You take those easy completions — and when the shots present themselves, try to take the shots. There wasn’t a lot of opportunities with the coverages they were playing, so we did a good job of just moving it down the field — little-by-little — until we could get in the end zone.”
“Their front seven is good — really good,” he observed. “They have guys that can play. We knew that coming in. You can see that on tape — especially when you watch the Cowboys the week before. They did some blitzes. They blitzed maybe a little bit more than I was expecting.
“We finally got a handle a little in the second half, and we were able to move the ball. But they got through with a few blitzes that we had scouted, but we didn’t expect early in the game. They did a good job. They’re well-coached. Their record hasn’t been great — but they have a lot of good players on that team.”
Sunday’s game in Houston allowed the east Texas native his first opportunity to play in his home state. NRG Stadium was also the location of the 2015 Texas Bowl — in which Texas Tech lost to LSU in the only bowl game of Mahomes’ college career. His alma mater will visit the venue for this year’s Texas Bowl on December 28.
“Last time I played here, we lost,” Mahomes admitted. “I was glad we won that game. We battled. Obviously, we feel like we didn’t play our best — but we found a way to win in the end of the day. Now we just need Texas Tech to win here in a couple of weeks.”