Tracking Patrick Mahomes, Week 4: Chiefs vs. Broncos
By Britt Zank
Patrick Mahomes III put to rest any lingering doubts as to whether he was a fluke or a true star in the Chiefs 27-23 victory over the Broncos.
Patrick Mahomes III walked into Denver Monday night in the harshest environment he’s played in his short five-game NFL career. The stadium was rocking and the Denver Broncos brought the pressure on Mahomes nearly every play. Many people questioned how would Mahomes handle getting punched in the mouth in a crazy environment, even when he didn’t have his best game. He answered all such questions in primetime.
While Mahomes and the Chiefs got the win on Monday night, it was far from a good game for them. It was K.C.’s worst game so far and we all hope the worst game of the season. Special teams, defense, and offense all had bad games. Despite that, the Mahomes led the Chiefs to a victory, so let’s dive in and see what we learned about Mahomes tonight.
I’m sorry to steal your name Denver, but Mahomes enjoyed a series that fans will remember for a long time as “The Drive”. Down three points, the Chiefs defense stepped up big holding the Broncos to a three-and-out giving the ball back to Mahomes with 4:35 left on the clock. He moved the chains the first time by throwing a five-yard pass to Tyreek Hill for seven yards—left-handed. For those new to the bandwagon, Mahomes is a right-handed quarterback.
Two penalties later, the Chiefs had a 2nd-and-30 where Mahomes rolled away from pressure and completed a 23-yard laser beam to wideout Demarcus Robinson. The next play he scrambled again this time completing a pass to tight end Demetrius Harris down to the Broncos 15-yard line. From there it was easy as Kareem Hunt scored the winning touchdown with 1:39 left in the game.
Mahomes has played two games in Denver and has won both games leading a game-winning drive with under 2:00 left in the game. Two weeks shy of 24 years ago Chiefs fans saw the Montana Miracle. Is it too much to say Chiefs fans witnessed the Mahomes Miracle on Monday night?
Mahomes faced the toughest game of his young career Monday night when you combine the pressure from the defense with the crazy atmosphere. I have to tip my cap to the Denver fans as they were clearly loud from the start of the game to the end, and it rattled the Chiefs offense. They had multiple false starts and you could see the struggle Mahomes had changing plays and communicating with his teammates.
The defense brought more pressure than he’s seen in the league, hitting him nine times and had him on the run all game. Despite that crowd and that pressure, Mahomes didn’t commit a turnover. The pressure forced Mahomes to make some bad throws we haven’t seen him make this season, but none where intercepted. In a game as close as this game was, just one turnover could have equaled a loss but Mahomes proved the doubters wrong again.
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After watching the game Monday night, I don’t believe there is anything that could make Mahomes flinch. I’ve already talked about the pressure and the crowd but it was more than that tonight. The offense had penalty after penalty tonight. The final drive the Chiefs had a holding and intentional grounding penalty that caused the Chiefs to have a 2nd-and-30. Mahomes calmly picks that up in two plays.
The Chiefs had 10 penalties for 93 yards and most of those occurred on the offensive side of the ball. Multiple false start penalties and holds killed some great plays, but Mahomes did not let it get to him. He never showed signs of frustration or anger. Instead, he was calm and composed and didn’t dwell on the problem. He simply moved on to the next play.
In years past, those penalties would stall the team’s momentum. WIth Mahomes at QB, you feel like he’ll make the play to pick his guys up.
Thanks to the defense of the Broncos Mahomes was forced to make a lot tougher throws Monday night and he wasn’t as accurate as he’s been in weeks past. Yes for the fourth week in a row I’m being picky here to find some bad, but he wasn’t perfect. He had multiple throws to Travis Kelce in the first half that were off the mark.
There were also a couple moments of clear miscommunication with his receivers where the ball landed in open space with nobody around. WIth the crowd and pressure, it’s not a surprise he wasn’t perfect and there were some errors, but he’s going to face those many more times in his career and it’s something he can work on. Games like this in January won’t be as forgiving, so he needs to make sure every throw counts.
Let’s all be honest here, while I’m picky and find something bad for Mahomes every week to complete this article, there is nothing that bad about Mahomes through four games this season. Yes, he had some bad throws in coverage on Monday night, but you have to be super picky to say he should be perfect on Monday Night Football in Denver.
Mahomes has now started five games in the NFL and has thrown for at least 250 yards in each of them. He has a completion percentage of 64.7% and has thrown 14 touchdowns to one interception. Perhaps my favorite stat through five games of his career, Mahomes is now 2-0 in Denver and 1-0 in Arrowhead.
We get to my favorite part of tracking Mahomes and that is seeing what he is on pace for this season. He fell off the pace big time Monday night by only throwing one touchdown, but he’s still on pace to set an NFL record with 56 passing touchdowns. He did increase his pace for rushing touchdowns going from zero to now on pace for four this season giving him 60 total touchdowns. He’s on pace to throw for 4,800 yards and zero interceptions and zero fumbles.
If you still have any questions about Mahomes after this game than there is nothing he can do outside of winning a Super Bowl that will change your mind. He’s led a game-winning drive after coming in cold after being put on the bench in Denver. On Monday night, he ended Denver’s NFL long streak of 65 straight wins when having a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. He’s won easily when guys where wide open left and right and he’s won when nobody was open and he was running for his life.
We don’t know how high the ceiling is for Mahomes in terms of a 15-year career, but we know now the floor is at worst the third best quarterback in the history of the Chiefs franchise behind only Len Dawson and Joe Montana.