Even when a team like the New Orleans Saints is playing their best, it still isn’t enough. Patrick Mahomes put on a show in the Big Easy as the Chiefs won a statement game.
We have grown accustomed to Patrick Mahomes putting up giant numbers regularly, and it’s in part for these large numbers that have lead to his record-breaking assault through three years in the NFL as a starter. The records and accolades go hand in hand, but it is the throws he has made that will lead him down the path toward being a legend and not just another really good player.
When the Chiefs can just beat a team with pure talent alone, that is when we get to see Mahomes crush teams with efficiency and poise. It is when circumstances are less than ideal that Showtime Mahomes comes out. We got to see plenty of Showtime this Sunday.
Headed into this game the Chiefs were headed into the game with only two original starters on the offensive line being healthy, Austin Reiter, and Eric Fisher, who was playing through a back injury the entire game. Right Guard Andrew Wylie was kicked to right tackle, while recently signed Stefen Wisniewski made his return to the lineup. This makeshift line would have to go against perennial All-Pro Cam Jordan, and the up and coming Trey Hendrickson, as well as one of the NFL’s best defenses. It wouldn’t be easy, but the Chiefs stars found a way to get it done.
The Chiefs were again efficient inside the red zone, which was in large part due to the great play calling from Andy Reid, as well as solid execution. Mahomes led the way with the execution firing passes with pinpoint accuracy, especially the one below to Hill.
As the game would progress the Saints would rev up the pressure, but it almost seemed like Mahomes had already entered playoff mode. The Saints were trying to get pressure with only four men upfront, but the coverage downfield was allowing them time to eventually get back to Mahomes. It leads to plays like the one above.
The sprint out play has been a go to for the Chiefs this season, which allows Mahomes to work while on the run, and also forces wideouts to have to cover for extensive periods of time. On this Play Watkins and Kelce are the one and two options for Mahomes, but both are tightly covered. It appears as though Mahomes is going to throw the ball away, but then Mecole Hardman came out of nowhere.
Before the ball was thrown I could have sworn this would just end up being an incompletion, especially with how Mahomes kind of double-clutched the ball, but he sees everything, and he saw Hardman get a step on his man. Great ball placement and a great toe drag to bring in the pass.
We saw Mahomes use the arm talent, and odd angles to win reps, but it wouldn’t be a statement game without his eyes causing defenders to be deceived.
Late in the game, his chemistry with Kelce was shown, as above it appears that Kelce was staying in to block, but Kelce and Mahomes both saw the open field that Kelce could work with if he got the ball.
Mahomes was also effective with his legs, and while the below pass isn’t a pass play, it shows great awareness of the concept of the option but shows the amount of feel he has for where Le’Veon Bell was at and how the blocks downfield were developing.
With his legs he was also able to pick up 24 yards on the scramble below, and with a hilarious pump fake he gets a DB to jump before blowing past him.
Mahomes had shown his spectacular play-making ability and excellent arm talent, but on one of the plays that helped seal the game, it was as simple as finding his favorite target Travis Kelce to get a first down and force the Saints to burn more timeouts.
Mahomes numbers weren’t otherworldly, 26/47, 5.4 yarder per throw, 254 yards, and three touchdowns, far from his best day, but in this case, as it often is in football the numbers were only a part of the whole story. He came out with a makeshift unit upfront, against one of the NFL’s top defenses and shredded them for the entirety of the game.
The game resembled similar competition to what the Chiefs will see in the playoffs, and make no mistake, the Saints are in a position to make a deep run in the playoffs themselves. Deep down the Saints know they played one heck of a game against the best team in the NFL, but when Mahomes goes into Showtime mode, good is not enough.