Mahomes shows mastery in the pocket
Mahomes is often praised for his uncanny throws and bazooka arm strength. Rightfully so, but I’d argue that the single trait that sets Mahomes apart from the likes of other elite QBs is his pocket presence.
Mahomes recognizes and navigates pressure unlike any other, and it’s not that he has world-beating speed or anything. It’s more like his QB fight-or-flight instinct is perfectly calibrated. He does not bail too early, nor does he willfully accept sacks by holding onto the ball for too long.
This excellence was on display this week, as Mahomes was converted a couple crucial 3rd downs when under pressure. His pocket presence is especially valuable when the Chiefs’ pass protection struggles, as was the case this week.
What would have this week’s game looked like if Mahomes was sacked, say, 3 times? What if he misread some pressure on a late 3rd down? The game may have resembled Seattle Seahawks vs. New York Giants.
Mahomes’ ability to sense and thwart pressure pays real dividends. While his arm is incredible, his wizardry and expert avoidance puts him in a consistent position to make his blockbuster throws. Mahomes may be the most praised man in the NFL, but I think his brilliant pocket presence remains overlooked.