For most quarterbacks, a 328-yard performance accompanied by a trio of touchdown passes is considered an outstanding performance. Even with an interception added to the mix, it’s still something to be proud of.
According to Patrick Mahomes on Sunday against the Denver Broncos, it was a game full of mistakes and habits he needs to correct moving forward.
In the first half of the Week 17 matchup, Mahomes looked a little shaky after attempting a jump pass. He appeared to have a minor ailment in his knee or leg, but it didn’t cause him to miss any time during the game. Head coach Andy Reid said after the game that he didn’t think the knee affected Mahomes’ game, and Mahomes echoed that sentiment despite missing some routine throws and looking erratic at times in the second party Instead, Mahomes took a different approach to explaining his struggles, reducing the issue to inconsistent mechanics independent of the knee scare.
“I don’t know if it affected it at all,” Mahomes said. “I lost my mechanics in that second half and I was trying to find a way to get back. I think you saw some of the incompletions, I felt like my feet weren’t in the right place and I was kind of throwing my foot off the behind. I think whenever I get into that mode is when I can fight. I have to get better at correcting those things in-game.”
Poor mechanics have been a sporadic issue throughout Mahomes’ career as he has struggled at times with navigation/pocket depth and also making throws off his back foot. Both of those things stepped up on Sunday, causing the offense to grind to a halt to start the second half. Early in the game, Mahomes had Kansas City driving down the field, but he threw an interception in the red zone that gave the Broncos some hope. When asked about the decision, Mahomes took responsibility and once again said it needs to be better.
“It was a bad pitch, just overall,” Mahomes said. “I left it far inside, I don’t know if (Justin) Watson could have caught it because I left it so far. I thought there was a window there but those pitches, let’s talk, it’s like ‘him or nobody’. Kind of like the one at the end of the half – you throw it to him on the sideline and if he can make the catch, he catches it and if he doesn’t, it’s just an incompletion. That was just a bad throw that a good player made a good play. I just have to be better, especially in the red zone, of not turning the ball over.”
Too often this season, the Chiefs’ defense or special teams (or both) have left the team in a position where Mahomes has to be an MVP-level player to get them out of precarious positions. On Sunday, it was the third-quarter offense that required Steve Spagnuolo’s defense to help Reid and Mahomes. In the end, though, a defensive stop on one end and a Mahomes connection with Travis Kelce on the other end put the game on ice.
Complementary football has been hard to come by for the Chiefs in 2022-23, leading many to believe Kansas City can’t make enough stops or clutch plays to win when it matters. Interestingly, Mahomes found a major bright spot in his inconsistent outing, and it didn’t have much to do with it. His teammates helped pick up the game, and that comes in handy during the playoffs.
“There’s not much that’s satisfying for me,” Mahomes said. “Just the fact that they battled. The defense played their tails off. We put them in a lot of bad situations, but they kept making stops, especially in that second half. I thought the offensive line played well and I thought the receivers. and the tight ends played well. I just have to be better at getting them the ball in the right spots. I feel like I didn’t play at the top of my game today and I thought the guys around me stepped up . That’s the takeaway: I’m not always going to be at my best and when the guys around me come together and we can still win football games, that’s a good sign.”