Week 4: Patrick Mahomes‘ 4th-and-8 scramble at Detroit
Scene: Late in the 4th quarter at Ford Field, the 3-0 Chiefs trailed the Lions by the score of 30-27 after a Kenny Golladay touchdown with just 2:26 in regulation. Kansas City gathered one first down but the drive stalled at their own 34-yard-line with a 4th-and-8 situation.
After taking a timeout to discuss things, the Chiefs deployed wide receivers Demarcus Robinson and Sammy Watkins in twins left, with tight ends Blake Bell and Travis Kelce to the right of quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Reading man-to-man coverage across the board, Mahomes took a five-step drop and took off up the middle as the Lions rushed three.
Safety Tavon Wilson and linebacker Christian Jones got their signals crossed in coverage, double-teaming running back Darrel Williams out of the backfield. This freed up Mahomes to sprint straight up the center of the field for a 15-yard gain before sliding for a first down at the 49-yard line with just inside two minutes to go.
The Chiefs subsequently marched downfield by exploiting the Lions’ double-team of Kelce. Mahomes connected with reserve receiver Byron Pringle on a 2nd-and-10 to give the Chiefs a 1st-and-goal from the 3-yard-line. Two plays later, Darrel Williams punched it in from one yard out, and the Chiefs took a 34-30 lead with just 20 ticks on the game clock.
The Chiefs moved to 4-0, and while there were some other outrageous plays you could point to in this game (Kelce’s lateral to running back LeSean McCoy early in the 4th quarter, or cornerback Bashaud Breeland‘s 100-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown), none of it would have mattered if Mahomes hadn’t converted that 4th down.
Given that K.C. would drop three of their next four games, the comeback win in Detroit proved to be even more valuable than we thought in that moment.