Welcome to the Mahomes Report, a weekly breakdown from Brendan Dzwierzynski ol rig what Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes did, either good or bad, during the most recent Chiefs game. For past editions, click here.
Patrick Mahomes threw five touchdown passes in the Chiefs’ Week 8 win over the Jets. That’s more touchdown passes than the Jets have thrown as a team so far this entire season.
It was that kind of day for Kansas City and QB1.
Here’s another perspective on just how electrifying Mahomes was and the Chiefs were overall: In preparation for writing The Mahomes Report, video clips are saved in “Good” and “Bad” folders for Mahomes, as well as the “Team” folder for non-Mahomes plays worth noting.
There isn’t a “Bad” folder for anyone this week.
After multiple games this season in which the Chiefs were good offensively but lacked flash, and ones in which Mahomes played well but didn’t need to show off dazzling throws all over the yard, there’s nothing like the playing the Jets to bring back all the fun.
We’ll open with the scoring again this week, specifically Mahomes’s second touchdown pass. This one is also our Laser of the Week, because even the great Kevin Harlan called it a laser during the broadcast. That’s good enough for us.
Kevin was right. Mahomes has all day to set and fire, so he takes advantage of being able to step into the throw. This is just pure, unadulterated heat, set up by Tyreek Hill going vertical and getting separation down the field. Mahomes doesn’t need a ton of space to complete a pass, even one down the field this far, but the additional cushion makes it much easier. Plus, the heat behind the throw means Hill can run right into it and not have to slow down and risk a defender catching up.
Mahomes and Hill weren’t done with the scoring after the first one.
This one was Mahomes’s final pass of the game and they made it count. Once again he has all the time he needs, aided by his deep drop in the pocket, and Hill runs right under it for the catch and score. Covering Hill one-on-one on a nine route is not going to end well for any defense, even if the pass is slightly underthrown like this one is. This is the explosive connection we’ve been waiting to see unleashed. Again, thanks, Jets.
Of the remaining three touchdown passes Mahomes threw on Sunday, two were more based on design than anything he did especially well, but the third was an absolute dime down the field to Demarcus Robinson.
Tiny window, barely any space along the side of the end zone, no sweat. Robinson is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, with Mahomes launching high and laying it precisely right on his target’s numbers. Once again, there’s nothing sneaky or cute about this route, with Robinson running the go from the outside and Hill the post from the left slot. The All-22 should reveal that this was a MOFC read by the Mahomes. That means “middle of the field closed,” so there’s someone over the top of Hill’s post. That means single coverage on Robinson and a great opportunity for Mahomes to strike.
The first touchdown of the game, while credited to Mahomes, is all thanks to the work of the blockers and Mecole Hardman.
First of all, getting Hardman more involved in the offense the past several weeks after he slumped to begin the season is a welcome addition to the offense and makes it an even more dangerous unit. He even caught a career-high number of passes on Sunday and was a yard shy of tying his single-game yardage best. But the downfield tight ends make this touchdown happen, specifically Ricky Seals-Jones. He gets to the second level cleanly, engages with cornerback Bless Austin (31) and gives Hardman the sliver of daylight he needs. Hardman’s elite speed helps, too. This is the classic “do nothing, get an A on the group project” touchdown for Mahomes.
Before we get to the final touchdown pass for Mahomes in the Week 8 win (chronologically speaking it was his third of the day), let’s take a look at a couple of the other throws on that drive, which came right before halftime. All of these passes went to Travis Kelce, including the eventual scoring play. First, a pass through a messy pocket for a big gain.
Kelce has plenty of space on the dig so that Mahomes doesn’t have to throw through a tight window, but the difficulty here is because of what is right in front of Mahomes’s face. The Jets are able to get the offensive line backed into QB1 more on this play than on most this week, and by the time the ball is released Andrew Wylie is right in Mahomes’s lap. However, he’s able to avoid potentially having his pass batted down by one of the bodies in front of him by pump faking, which gets one pass rusher to jump. That neutralizes him and reopens the throwing lane, although it’s not easy at all to get off an accurate throw with any juice when a giant mean is being shoved into you. Great wherewithal on this one.
The craftiest pocket movement of the day came on our next play.
The Chiefs are able to shift the pocket left with the fake bootleg by Mahomes, which more importantly draws in linebacker Avery Williamson (54), who is responsible for Kelce’s third of the field. By shifting toward the middle, that opens the passing lane to Kelce on the numbers. This is a tough throw because Mahomes needs to be able to stop on a dime, switch direction immediately and fire a high-velocity pass across the field, but he’s able to execute it perfectly in all facets. Big gain and a pretty setup.
Next, a simple third-and-long laser.
All day to throw, Kelce sits in the soft spot in the zone, you convert on third down and long. Nothing overly fancy here, this is just too easy for Mahomes.
And finally we get to the actual touchdown pass, which got the internet in a tizzy for a brief moment Sunday afternoon.
The reaction to this touchdown in particular was slightly peculiar because we’ve seen a million shovel-pass touchdowns between Mahomes and Kelce. The Pete Weber bowling-like delivery is a nice touch, though. The conflict defender in question this time is linebacker Neville Hewitt (46), who crashes down on the line while Mahomes sprints right. That leaves the middle of the field open for Kelce. The shovel pass on the goal line remains undefeated for the Chiefs.
Before we go any further, we must watch the most ridiculous throw of the day.
Every time some Twitter blue check clown posts video of any old average Joe quarterback throwing sidearm and says “if Mahomes did this the internet would explode” you need to immediately point out that they sound like an idiot. Spin around in the backfield, run to the non-dominant side, then throw against the grain while your torso is turned to the sideline and complete the pass.
The most generous you could possibly be with this throw is to say there are three quarterbacks who could do it, maximum. Credit to Hardman for the awareness to get back off the sideline and be ready for the pass. This is sensational by Mahomes.
Let’s return the laser portion of the Report for today, with a couple daggers from the first quarter.
Mahomes came out slinging it in Week 8, starting right off the rip with this rocket to Hill. No step into the throw, yet he gets a ton behind it and wedges in to Hill, who has a defender all over him. Hill is running the dig and has the defender closing in from the opposite direction, so an errant throw could end up in a hospital ball, but Mahomes is able to make an accurate throw that protects his receiver.
Later on the opening drive it was Robinson who got his mitts on a laser.
The release alone makes this throw notable. Austin is closing in off the edge while Robinson runs the slant behind him. Mahomes wastes no time at all, twisting his body just enough in just the right way to thread the ball around the leaping defensive back and put it on Robinson’s hip. Mahomes is excellent at adjusting the velocity on his throws and knows when to go with a touch pass. This one called for a laser, though.
It’s time we have some fun with RPOs, specifically the RPO slant concept that is essentially a free first down every time it’s called. Here’s a pass to Kelce, first.
The soft coverage is just a concession by the Jets defense. The defensive end (Bryce Huff, 47) crashes inside on Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kelce is all alone, Mahomes makes the easy play.
Every receiver on the roster has been gifted a catch and decent yardage on this concept over time. Here’s Hardman as the beneficiary later in the game:
This time around you can see the right side of the line is blocking for the pass, while the left side is blocking run. Zone coverage is useless against this play, as evidenced in each of the last two clips. Mahomes always makes the right read, whether it’s a pre-snap or post-snap read, and it’s easy money for Kansas City every time. Sometimes the most basic concepts work the best.
Finally, let’s get one more pass from Mahomes to Hardman in here.
Extremely rough calculations indicate this throw is just over 25 yards down the field (thank you, Pythagoras), which is a long distance for 14 yards. It’s another ball Mahomes has to put some heat on because the defensive back behind Hardman isn’t that far away. Hardman does the smart thing and gets to the sticks with his route (although it is a close call) to make sure it’s a first down if the pass is completed. Mahomes scans the field, identifies Hardman as the best option and puts the pass on the money to convert.
As was mentioned above, once again there weren’t any “bad” plays from No. 15 this week. He was electrifying again and even when he missed he kept the ball out of harm’s way. Most of this season Mahomes has played cleanly while not needing to push the ball down the field. On Sunday, however, he was pristine while taking more shots. What more could you ask for?
When you slaughter a team 35-9 it’s not just the offense that’s clicking. The Chiefs defense was stellar this week, holding the Jets to just three field goals while also winning the turnover margin. They harassed Sam Darnold constantly, and after halftime they didn’t let the Jets sniff any kind of offensive success.
Daniel Sorensen had another big week, too.
While his performance in the postseason last year was vital, Dirty Dan is in the midst of the best stretch of his career right now. He’s playing confidently and intelligently, and Steve Spagnuolo is putting him in positions where he can use his skill set to make plays. That includes on this forced fumble, when he gets to play downhill and seek out contact. He attacks the ball, putting his helmet on it on the hit and forcing it out. It’s just a really smart play by a safety who, in his contract year, is playing the best football of his life.
Tershawn Wharton continued his hot streak this weekend as well.
The Chiefs’ depth on the defensive line has gotten a lot of praise and hype this year, and deservedly so, but Wharton may be the best of a talented bunch (we’re talking about the group outside of Chris Jones and Frank Clark, to be clear). He’s a max-effort player, showing week after week a new hustle play that either creates a turnover, ends up in a sack or helps the rest of the defensive front do their job(s) better. He’s locked up with left guard Alex Lewis on this snap, playing a sort of contain in the middle of the field in case Darnold decides to take off. The quarterback does just that, so Wharton uses his strength to shed Lewis and wrap up the quarterback for a sack. He looks better every week.
As good as both the offense and defense were against New York, the Kansas City special teams deserve love, too, and they earned it with the way they performed this week. We begin with Tommy Townsend, who might also be the second-best quarterback in the AFC West in addition to being its best punter.
Justin Herbert may have a slide edge on him for the No. 2 passer spot, this is a quality throw by the punter nonetheless. The Jets aren’t prepared for the first-quarter fake, so Byron Pringle is wide open on the outside. The Jets must play a perfect game to even be competitive this year, so a mistake like this was a major gut punch. Mahomes hit Hill for a touchdown one play after this, by the way.
And even Armani Watts made his presence felt with a key special teams play.
If you want to block a kick, it doesn’t hurt to go completely unblocked. This ball almost hits Watts in the face he got through so quickly and easily. You will not see an easier blocked field goal this season.
The Jets fall into this category, but that defeats the purpose of the section.
Truthfully, though, the Chiefs played a complete game and dominated a horrible team. The biggest negative you could come up with as a result of this matchup is that New York reached Kansas City territory on its first four drives of the game, which is an impressive feat for Adam Gase’s tire fire offense. The defense bowed up in every situation, however, forcing four field goal attempts, including the one that was blocked. It’s almost impossible to complain about that.
You could make the argument that there’s almost nothing to take away from this game in terms of long-term ramifications because of how easy it looked for the Chiefs. The Jets did almost nothing right and it was a beatdown of a game. Not a bad way to go 7-1.