The Raiders had another decent plan for “slowing down” the Chiefs Offense on Sunday Night. Las Vegas wanted to take away the big play. For the most part, they succeeded. Kansas City didn’t have a pass play of more than 22 yards on the night. Pump the breaks on any “blueprint” talks, though. The Chiefs still racked up 460 yards and 35 points. This was largely due to Patrick Mahomes’ abilities, both outside the pocket and after the design of the play had broken down. Against the Raiders, he used his legs to make key plays on 4 of their 5 scoring drives, including his game-winning touchdown pass.
The below play was a 3rd-and-1 on Kansas City’s opening touchdown drive. The play design called for movement. However, Mahomes had to hit his 4th option on the play.
He makes it look easy, doesn’t he? A throw back across the middle like that is anything but. Yet this wasn’t an accident. Mahomes did it again in the 2nd quarter after his initial reads weren’t open and he was flushed from the pocket.
The Raiders won early in the down there, both in coverage and with their pass rush. Mahomes won late.
He can do the same thing moving to his left, by the way.
One of the best things about Mahomes’ ability on the run is his patience. When he is on the perimeter, he doesn’t look for one receiver and then run it if he isn’t open. He waits until the last possible moment to get the ball out of his hands and often uses pumpfakes to manipulate defenders. This is what makes him so difficult to defend on the run.
On the below 2nd-and-8, you can again see Mahomes’ patience. Watch him wait until the last possible moment before delivering a seed to Travis Kelce for 19 yards.
Covering that late in the play against a quarterback as dangerous as Mahomes is so difficult.
Even when he wasn’t on the perimeter, Mahomes’ patience and ability to make plays when things don’t go perfectly was still on display. On this pivotal 4th-and-2 in the 4th quarter, watch Mahomes feel the rush from his right and drift away from it just enough to create time to get rid of the ball.
The Chiefs would end up scoring on that drive.
On Kansas City’s game-winning touchdown, Mahomes probably didn’t need to move as much as he did, but the threat of his legs influenced safety Johnathan Abram. This left Travis Kelce wide open in the end zone.
Andy Reid’s system is certainly a quarterback-friendly one. But Patrick Mahomes has taken it to a near-unstoppable level. You can try to take away Kansas City’s big plays in the passing game, but Mahomes still has the ability to attack with drive-sustaining throws like the ones shown above. There’s a reason the Chiefs are the number-1 scoring offense in the league, and why they’ll be a tough out in January.
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