Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill dominated in the Chiefs 33-31 win over the Carolina Panthers. Each of the three had outstanding performances and put the rest of the NFL on full notice as the Chiefs offense nears its peak performance.
On Sunday, Patrick Mahomes firmly planted himself as the leading NFL MVP candidate with a 372-yard performance and four touchdown passes. He is second in the league in total passing yards, and with 25 total touchdowns to only one interception, he might be about to run away with the award.
Travis Kelce caught ten balls for 159 yards, and jumped to third in the NFL in receiving with 769 yards, as a tight end. The next closest tight end on that list is George Kittle, who ranks 28th. Tyreek Hill now leads all NFL wideouts in touchdowns with nine on the receiving end, adding two of them on Sunday to go along with nine catches and 113 yards.
The Chiefs wasted no time getting going as soon as they got the ball.
Early on in the game, the Panthers looked like they wanted to keep the Chiefs from taking deep shots, and were playing deep zone coverage. This opened up several undeath routes for the Chiefs early, much like the play to Hill above.
On the play below we can also see that the Panthers had their LB’s and DB’s playing nearly six yards off the ball. Clyde Edwards-Helaire doesn’t even have to move from his spot and Mahomes delivers a ball. When Helaire gets in space is when he is at his most dangerous.
The Chiefs started out short when passing the ball, but it was apparent early on that they wanted to get after the secondary of the Panthers. They started to attack the zone by clearing out space and letting Kelce work on a series of over and dig routes.
As the Chiefs marched the ball into the red zone, we got to see a play that might be the first of it’s kind in NFL history.
This is the creativity of Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid on full display here. The motion is something that Andy Reid has become a master of using, and now we have seen his franchise quarterback use it to induce the defense into going away from where he wanted to throw the ball.
Mecole Hardman saw a fair amount of reps as the Chiefs third receiving option and ran a route that Tyreek Hill ran for a score a week ago.
The out cut back into the deep post is something the Chiefs have been sprinkling in that past few weeks, but it is a route that they will hold onto for a while, and we have already seen it work to perfection a few times.
The Chiefs didn’t put much of an emphasis on running the ball this week, but the threat of Le’Veon Bell in the backfield was enough to open up this creative RPO. This play would have worked with either the give or the throw, but Mahomes sees that Kelce has a ton of space to work with. Kelce dominated the game all day and showed that he is the best tight end in professional football, and perhaps one of the best route runners overall in the entire league.
Tyreek Hill also played one of the best games of his career this week, and he showed why he should very firmly be in the conversation for one of the top wideouts in the NFL.
Once more in the red zone, the Chiefs used motion to help them score, this time it was Hill who was used as a decoy to help Mahomes roll and free Edwards-Helaire.
Carolina scrapped their game plan about halfway through the game, they started to try to dial up more pressure on the Chiefs and also started to play more tight man coverage as they got away from the zone they were in early on. This lead to the play above in which Hill fights through the jam to get an outside release.
We also got to see the improvisation ability of Mahomes, and he started to show everyone why he should be the leading candidate for the NFL MVP at this point in the season.
The Panthers started to bring a few pressures, but the Chiefs had an excellent play drawn up for it, and Mahomes has quick enough awareness to get rid of the ball quickly.
Once again the Chiefs used motion inside the five to help them score six points. This time it was to clear out some space on the edge and really give Mahomes a clear window off of the sprint out, which he used to find Hill.
It was a show from start to finish. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the game in person, and it was a blast. The Chiefs offense was sensational. Mahomes, Hill, and Kelce were all on top of their game and it made them hard to beat. The Chiefs busted out concepts we haven’t seen yet at all this season, and now that they are on the bye week the rest of the league is on notice.
I wrote a week ago about how this team hasn’t even hit the tip of the iceberg as far as offensive creativity, and what we could see them do later on. I will stick by that, the rest of this season we might get to see the best offensive football every played.