Welcome to the Mahomes Report, a weekly breakdown from Brendan Dzwierzynski of what Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes did, either good or bad, during the most recent Chiefs game. For past editions, click here.
In two weeks, Patrick Mahomes has 821 yards passing and seven touchdowns. Is that good?
The Week 2 edition of Mahomes embarrassing an opposing defense was somewhat unique and certainly historic. Most of his production and all of the touchdowns came in the second quarter, and his 278 passing yards in that quarter are the most in a single period since 2008. It should be noted that these weren’t touchdowns made up of short passes with long runs or fly sweeps or anything like that. Mahomes was slinging it on Sunday.
It was far from a perfect game for QB1 or the Chiefs as a whole. But no one can deny that Mahomes is playing as well as he ever has (in his brief career) through two weeks.
The best part of this week’s game was that every score was beautiful. Nothing Mahomes does, and there are a lot of special things he does regularly, matches up to his beautiful deep ball. There were a handful of misses against Oakland, but the hits were huge. We’ll start with all the touchdowns in chronological order again this week.
Demarcus Robinson had a career day on Sunday, and he got in the mix early in the second quarter.
The Raiders aren’t able to get any pressure, so Mahomes has a ton of time to load up. He scans, identifies Robinson and torques the upper body to the exact degree needed to put this ball on the money. It’s even a slight under throw, but Robinson is wide open so it’s an easy score.
So, why was Robinson so open?
You can see safety Lamarcus Joyner (29) trying to communicate something as he slides to his right before the snap. Whatever he was trying to convey didn’t take, as nobody picked up Robinson on the streak from the slot. By the time there’s a recovery the play is effectively over. Good job by Mahomes to identify the blown coverage right away.
Mahomes’ second touchdown of the game was another deep one, and it harkens back to something he frequently had to tell rookie Mecole Hardman during training camp: just keep running.
This time around Mahomes does have to shift slightly to his left, but he still has plenty of space to set and throw. The form on this throw is gorgeous. He squares up, torques again and steps into the throw to get the high velocity behind it. It’s not easy to throw a ball this far with a tight spiral on a line, so having great form helps (along with preposterous arm strength). As for Hardman’s part, he uses his 4.3 speed to get behind the defense and never stops running, and the throw hits him in stride. That’s strong leadership from your quarterback leading to good execution on the field. You shouldn’t take a throw like this for granted, because it’s a rare combination of receiver speed and a perfect pass beating a secondary.
It should be noted that this throw came on third down and 20. Money throw on the money down.
Travis Kelce got involved in the scoring on the third touchdown from Mahomes against the Raiders.
This is another throw that the receiver is led directly to. There’s no need for hesitation or adjustment. All Kelce has to do is run underneath the ball and it’s six points. When you watch these deep balls, watch No. 15’s footwork. In the previous example, Mahomes stepped into the throw to deliver it on a line. This time he doesn’t step into it because he’s trying to put more touch on the ball, and it’s still delivered with perfect accuracy. The Chiefs’ receiving corps had more speed than the Raiders could handle, and Mahomes made them pay. It was smart play calling to keep testing the defensive backs deep.
As for the final touchdown, Robinson made an excellent play to haul in another quality throw.
The degree of difficulty for this throw is higher than the other three due to the non-dominant side rollout and tight coverage. Mahomes under throws Robinson again by a bit, but the receiver makes a fantastic adjustment while leaping to haul it in. Robinson deserves a lot of credit for this one. Mahomes, however, still made a strong throw, working through his progressions while scanning right to left. He’s able to set and torque, and there’s no way the cornerback can come back and get this ball, only Robinson has a chance. Every one of these touchdown passes was remarkable in one way or another, yet Mahomes makes the throws look easy.
Mahomes made plenty of great throws outside of the scoring plays as well in Week 2, which we’ll get to starting with our Laser of the Week, a deep crossing route to Robinson.
You can tell right away that this is a strong throw, but take into account all the difficult elements here (which makes it sound like a gymnastics floor routine). There’s a designed roll to the right, which is actually directly into edge pressure from Oakland. The first read is on the right side, which you can tell by watching his head movement. With that option not there, Mahomes throws it back across his body to the opposite hash approximately 47 yards down through the air (that’s a rough estimation, for the record). With all of that in mind, Mahomes still delivers a strike right on the money. Precision in spite of difficulty is a Mahomes trademark.
In case you’re not tired of watching pinpoint accuracy in action, here’s another deep ball from Mahomes to Kelce.
It’s clear that the offensive line played a strong game when you watch these throws. When your quarterback has that much time and space to throw, you’re doing something right. Kelce is matched up one on one with Daryl Worley (20), who isn’t fast or physical enough to keep up with this route. Once again you can see No. 15 go through his reads before stopping on Kelce, then dropping a pass right into the bread basket in stride. Notice the quick release on this toss. It seems even more compact and fluid than normal. He sets, starts his motion and releases in what appears to be an instant. Defenses don’t have any extra time to prepare for the ball with a release that quick.
The following pass is a callback to something the Chiefs worked on in the preseason, the one route that is always open.
Don’t be surprised if we see the Damien Williams wheel route become a staple in the Kansas City offense. Williams runs the wheel out of the backfield with linebacker Tahir Whitehead (59) matched up on him. That’s patently unfair for a linebacker to have to cover. Like in the second preseason game, Mahomes is patient as he waits for the route to develop, then lofts the ball with plenty of air under it to Williams. It’s caught in stride for a big gain. Pay attention to the footwork on the throw again. This time Mahomes shows off a nice slide step as he releases. This play is a guaranteed 20+ yards if Mahomes is going to toss this so accurately every time.
Early in the third quarter we got more of the Mahomes to Robinson connection with another throw that the defensive back has no chance to defend.
Just like the fourth touchdown of the game we saw earlier, Robinson has to make an adjustment to catch the pass. Similarly, just like the fourth touchdown of the game we saw earlier, the man in coverage has no clue where the ball is because his back is turned the whole time. It’s challenging to throw from the right hash to the left sideline deep down the field, but Mahomes is still able to do so accurately. There’s another compact release with this pass, which helps it become a high-speed dart.
Sammy Watkins was much quieter in Week 2 than in Week 1, but he did get involved on this well-executed sideline route concept.
This is the sail concept, something coach Andy Reid likes to employ (the Inside The Pylon glossary entry for the concept even features a Chiefs play). The sideline receiver runs a go route while the slot receiver runs an out. What makes this version of the concept particularly fun is the RPO wrinkle. The Chiefs like to run slants on RPOs, which is almost always effective. The sail is a twist, though, and Watkins is left in single coverage to the outside. Great design by Reid and a good throw by Mahomes to his loosely covered receiver.
The next several clips are less about the pristine deep balls and more about body control and movement in the pocket. First, to the body control point, a strong, athletic throw to Kelce for a first down.
The Raiders are actually able to get pressure this time, and with it coming from the middle and right Mahomes has to keep dropping back to buy time. He finds Kelce running an out from the right end of the line. To get the ball to him, he throws from an airborne base while fading backward. The result is a frozen rope of a throw right at the sticks. Mahomes has to use a lot of upper body strength to complete this one.
In the earliest positive play from the day (the only one from the first quarter), Mahomes threads the needle for a first down while releasing from an awkward arm slot.
Oakland is twisting all over on the defensive line and is able to get pressure on the quarterback. He checks multiple reads before deciding on Robinson cutting across the field. The throw is from somewhat over the top while he also turns further to his right. In the air the pass needs to get beyond a diving Joyner, which it does. That takes incredible accuracy, which clearly wasn’t a problem here. Robinson makes a sensational effort to catch this pass and that’s with it being placed in the perfect (and only manageable) spot.
Our next throw isn’t as unbelievable as many of those featured this week, but it does feature some expert pocket navigation.
The growth Mahomes has shown in terms of feeling pressure and avoiding it is already a huge step forward for him this season. Two defensive linemen get penetration on his left while another lingers on the right. He steps forward through the pressure without taking his eyes away from his target downfield. He’s locked in, steps in and fires a bullet for a first down. It sounds repetitive from last week, but this is veteran savvy from a third-year player.
Our last good throw that counted from Sunday features pocket navigation, a quick release and an awkward platform.
Once again Mahomes needs to step up in the pocket after the ends curl in around him, but he runs out of room and needs to make a play. He throws to Kelce at the sticks to his right, and despite running straight ahead he’s able to twist his torso so that he can square up to the target. With big bodies in front of him, Mahomes drops his arm angle and rifles in the pass for a first down. Crafty move.
One last throw that we need to get to was called back due to holding, but it was impressive enough that we’ll take a look anyway.
We deserved this throw counting. Conveniently enough for the Chiefs, the next play after a penalty was called on this one was the touchdown pass to Hardman. This throw is just stupid, though. Mahomes is escaping pressure to his right, throws the ball completely against the grain to the left side of the field and somehow fits it into a minuscule window between defenders. He doesn’t even try to square up this throw, he just rips it. It’s ludicrous, especially because this is still an uncommon play but not rare.
For all the fantastic plays this weekend there were also a handful of poor ones. We’ll start with a couple of misfires that nearly resulted in interceptions.
Gareon Conley (21) should have picked this one off. The throw sails over Watkins into an area with two defensive backs, making it a small miracle this wasn’t a turnover. It was a risky place to overthrow a ball with that kind of area coverage.
The next one was a different kind of near pick, but a dangerous throw nonetheless.
Maxx Crosby (98) isn’t blocked at all and has a free rush at Mahomes on this RPO. Instead of taking the sack or throwing the ball into the ground (or at least low in Robinson’s vicinity) he lobs it up for Kelce. Joyner is flying in to lay the wood on the tight end, but if Kelce tips that ball up or has any less control it’s interceptable. This is a situation in which it’s better to take a loss and live another day than to take a huge risk deep in your own territory.
Mahomes also missed a pass by a mile in Week 2 on a play in which the Raiders bluffed a six-man rush and only brought two.
This is just a miss, which happens. What stands out about it is that it missed badly. Mahomes had more time that it appears he thought after Oakland took four of the six rushers they were showing and dropped them into coverage. It was a unique look which worked for at least this play.
We’re going all defense with the quality team plays, non-quarterback division this week, starting with Chris Jones, who made several splash plays against the Raiders.
The first of those big plays was one of three sacks for the Kansas City defense on the day. Jones is lined up opposite right guard Denzelle Good (71), and Good may need to retire after this play. Jones just toys with him with a light fake inside before shoving him aside and getting free to Derek Carr. Center Rodney Hudson (61) needs to have better awareness because that’s a bad matchup for his right guard against one of the league’s best defensive tackles.
Jones also looked good on run defense this weekend.
We see impressive burst from Jones this time as he gets through the hole vacated by left guard Jordan Devey (65) on this trap run. Left tackle Kolton Miller is way too slow to affect Jones’ speed off the line and it results in a negative play on third and one.
Emmanuel Ogbah made a notable play for the second week in a row, following a sack last week with a forced fumble this time around.
Not bad for Kansas City’s fourth defensive end. This is as clean as it gets when it comes to punching a ball loose. The Raiders retained possession, but general manager Brett Veach has to be pleased with this particular acquisition through two games. It cost effectively nothing to get him and he’s made an impact in both games so far. He seems rejuvenated after never truly breaking through in Cleveland.
We’ll get to one more play from the defensive line, courtesy of Tanoh Kpassagnon. Yes, that Tanoh Kpassagnon.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is already getting more out of Kpassagnon than former coordinator Bob Sutton ever did. He showed some football intelligence on this play, staying in his zone assignment and remaining patient until he was able to use his unique athleticism to blow the play up. Josh Jacobs (28) isn’t an easy running back to tackle, either.
The Chiefs intercepted Carr twice in Week 2. One of them was a ball thrown directly to Charvarius Ward with no receiver reasonably close. The other showed another step forward for the secondary in that Bashaud Breeland actually competed for a contested ball.
Alright, that introduction was a stretch. This is a terrible throw by Carr and Tyrell Williams (16) wasn’t exactly scratching and clawing to prevent the pick. Still, this is another new addition making a play, which has to be a positive sign going forward.
To close out the positive defensive plays this week, a Spags staple that resulted in another sack.
Kendall Fuller is untouched before crushing Carr for the sack. Hunter Renfrow (13) even recognizes that the slot blitz is coming and points it out, yet no one picks Fuller up. Zone blitzing is classic Spags and this time around it worked to perfection. Carr didn’t have any idea what was coming and it cost him dearly.
Running the ball isn’t a necessity for the Chiefs to be successful, but being able to do it at least decently well would be a good thing for the offense. Kansas City moved it well on the ground against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the ground game was completely irrelevant and ineffectual against Oakland. LeSean McCoy led all Chiefs rushers with 23 yards on 11 carries. As a team, three running backs combined for 21 carries and 32 yards. That’s not going to get it done if you find yourself needing to run the ball (although some may argue that situation will never arise).
Defensively, one play that stood out as a negative was a first-quarter pass interference committed by Tyrann Mathieu.
There are a lot of factors going into this play, so you can’t write this off as a boneheaded mistake by Mathieu or anything like that. However, that ball was well under thrown and in the air for a long time, which gave the Honey Badger time to actually make a play instead of colliding with the receiver. It’s hard to avoid it on under throws, but this was costly because it set up the lone Raiders touchdown.
Speaking of that touchdown, despite having a wall of defenders in the area the Chiefs somehow left a receiver wide open in the back of the end zone.
Yes, there’s some contact and a body ends up on the ground. But you can’t ever leave a team’s top wide receiver all alone like that with the ball inside the five. Nobody is expecting this defense to be perfect at any point, and there will be weeks full of growing pains. This is a bad look for any defense though. You need to have someone sagging back so every defender isn’t on the goal line. All things considered, though, if this was the worst part of the game for Kansas City’s defense then the Chiefs are in excellent shape as the schedule gets progressively harder.