Patrick Mahomes broke down the pre-snap motion play that led to a Chiefs touchdown on Sunday.
The Kansas City Chiefs offense tends to throw off defenses by using so much pre-snap motion to disguise their intent and deceive opposing defenses. Typically that means pass catchers like Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Mecole Hardman or others are the ones doing the shifting. On Sunday, Patrick Mahomes confused us all.
If you watched the Chiefs win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 9, you’ll already know the play we’re referencing without watching it. As the Chiefs lined up near the Panthers’ goal line, they pulled yet another trick, this one called “Ferrari Right,” from the playbook. For reference, let’s watch it again.
On the play Mahomes goes in motion—yes, he’s the one in motion—and runs left, takes the snap while on the run, and then rolls back right before firing a pass to Demarcus Robinson deep in the end zone. The idea of Mahomes going in motion had to make defenders pause for a quick second, which in the NFL is all you need to create the mismatch desired.
After the game, Mahomes broke down the play for reporters and said he’d been lobbying head coach Andy Reid to try it for some time. It also sounds as if there’s more from that sort of formation to come.
"“You’ve seen me, I think, in training camp before and I’m taking snaps with the centers,” said Mahomes. “So obviously I’m doing formations and stuff like that. I started going in motion. After that, I had to go to Tom Melvin, our tight ends coach, and ask if it was legal for me to be in motion. He said as long as everyone was set.“So then after I got that, I took it to special teams and started working with Trav [Kelce] and Tyreek [Hill] on these different plays we could run from it. I had to start throwing little hints to Coach Reid that we neede to try it out. It finally got in and it worked out well.”"
That touchdown in particular was important because it brought momentum back to the Chiefs after a frustrating first half that largely featured the Panthers doing what they wanted offensively and the Chiefs off-kilter on the same side o the ball. From there, the Chiefs would go on to take control before the Panthers mounted an impressive comeback attempt, only to ultimately fall by a final score of 33-31.
After the game, Mahomes said he was growing more and more comfortable in his role as the team’s quarterback, which makes sense why he would also explore new formations and take command in Reid’s offense.
"“I think I just understand the game more. I was saying it last year, whenever I didn’t have as many stats to kind of pack it up,as you say, I felt like I was playing better last year than I did the year before. This year, obviously we’re getting the touchdowns we didn’t have last year, I guess you would say, but I feel like every single year, I’m more comfortable within the offense, I’m more comfortable reading defenses, and I know understand where the ball is going to go even before the snap of the ball.”"
Given that he’s already won an MVP award as well as a Super Bowl, it’s scary for defenders to think his best is yet to come. For the Chiefs, however, it’s a marvel to watch him week to week.