This is part three of a three-part weekly film analysis on the performance of Patrick Mahomes. Part one: something good and something bad here, part two: something smart and something special here.
We talked this week about how Mahomes dragged this team through a rough week both on the field and off.
Yes, the Andy Reid-after-a-bye week trends stayed alive and well, but it wasn’t because the performance was pretty. Per Yahoo!’s Terez Paylor, Mahomes took a step in his leadership before the game even started, speaking to the team in a meeting before they left for Oakland.
“All eyes are going to be on us,” Morse recalled Mahomes saying. “But that shouldn’t change how we’re going to handle our business and how we keep going about that.” – Chiefs center Mitch Morse recalling what Mahomes said to the team before traveling to Oakland
I love to see this from the young player. I tweeted this out yesterday, but this was my feelings after reading Paylor’s piece:
Everything you’re getting from Patrick Mahomes isn’t supposed to be happening so fast. This is isn’t normal. He’s so grounded and committed to the process. It’s not lip service when he talks about getting better every day. He’s going to run this league for 15 years.
— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) December 6, 2018
I think it’s going to take time to really appreciate both the on-field performance and the rapidity of which he’s achieved it. There are so many positive indicators in the news coming out of One Arrowhead Drive and the performance we are all privy to on Sunday. The floor for this kid continues to be raised. He’s not perfect, and we’ll address one thing from this week’s game here shortly, but there is nothing slowing down the progress.
Late in the Rams game, Mahomes got the ball back with :50 left on the clock, one timeout and a chance to win the game. As I wrote, it didn’t go great. He responded in the game against the Raiders with an excellent series at the end of the first half with :55 left and two timeouts remaining.
#SomethingImproved Mahomes got a chance at another end of half scoring opportunity and performed exceptionally for a touchdown scoring drive in under a minute. The sequence started with a drive starter to Conley and an excellent up and down ball to Kelce for a big gain. pic.twitter.com/oZp82RDweG
— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) December 5, 2018
The Chiefs opened this possession up with an easy throw to Conley for a short gain. They hustled to the line of scrimmage and got another play off. It was a good job by Mahomes to get the group moving. The second play of the drive was a fantastic up-and-down ball to Kelce in the middle of the field. The Raiders were in a split-safety look and Mahomes fit it in between them before calling a timeout.
After this play, Mahomes hits Kelce in the flats and the Chiefs use their last timeout, setting up this play.
#SomethingImproved After a throw to Kelce in the flat and a final timeout burned, the Chiefs run a flood concept into the boundary. Mahomes steps up against pressure and drives a ball to Robinson who takes the long way out of bounds. Good job by both. pic.twitter.com/UjFrkjokVl
— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) December 5, 2018
The Raiders are showing a split safety look. Mahomes gets a zone ID when Ware motions from out wide into the backfield and no one follows him in. The Raiders are running a Cover 2 Match coverage, and the Chiefs are running a flood concept into the boundary out of a bunch formation. The distribution of these routes by the Chiefs is unique because Tyreek Hill is lined up off the ball and will stack Demarcus Robinson, the point man of the bunch and run the high corner. Kelce will work shallow into the flat and Robinson will run a flat-seven in between them.
With Hill threatening high and Kelce shallow (and probably a coverage bust), both the deep safety and corner are occupied, leaving enough of a void to deliver a ball to Robinson. Mahomes steps up against front-side pressure and makes an athletic throw, on the run with velocity. Robinson wants to get out of bounds, but there are defenders between him and the sideline. With no timeouts remaining, the only place to stop the clock is all the way across the field on the other sideline. Robinson does a fantastic job of getting out of bounds. Regardless, watch the offensive line sprinting down the field in case they have to try and stop the clock with a clock-kill.
The efforts of Robinson led to a touchdown the next play.
This is just a simple sprint out rub play to free Kelce. The opportunity to execute this was set up by a great drive in under a minute. Mahomes was given an opportunity to execute some situational football and he did a great job.
Against the Rams, we finally saw Mahomes connect with Hill and an over-the-shoulder deep ball. It still seems to be a work in progress.
The first throw was a poor decision to try and throw that ball into triple coverage. The next two were just inconsistent. Mahomes still seems to be trying to figure out how to calibrate these kinds of throws with touch and velocity. Sometimes he drives the ball without enough air on it and sometimes he puts too much touch on it and underthrows it. They don’t seem on the same page yet.
It takes times and I’m certain they’ll figure it out. They just aren’t quite there yet. Hill is uniquely capable of outrunning and defender. Mahomes is still figuring out how to connect on throws where he does. We’ve seen them hit explosive plays down the field, but if they can start connecting on throws over the top of everyone…look out.
Miss this week’s episode of the AP Laboratory? Catch it here.
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