Sunday Night Football was a coming-out party for Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, who have had an uncharacteristically slow season up to this point. The Chiefs won 41-14 in front of the entire NFL. With the win, the Chiefs ended any talks about potentially falling apart and ending their dominance in the AFC West.
Why Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are back
Andy Reid gets a lot of credit for the win because he changed how he was using Mahomes. Up to this point in the season, the Chiefs had been attempting to hit receivers already down the field. However, in Sunday's win, the Chiefs schemed a plan that allowed receivers to pick up yards after the catch. And it worked.
According to Jeff Saturday, the Chiefs earned 254 receiving yards after the catch, the second-most by any team this season. They also tied for the second-most yards after the catch of any game in Mahomes' career. Here's why this stat rights the ship for the Chiefs.
Previously, the Chiefs were attempting to hit receivers already down the field. This put a lot of stress on Mahomes to throw the ball deep and read the defense correctly. It also put stress on the offensive line to hold up long enough to get a pass downfield. Defenses caught on and started to play deeper, which effectively shut down the Chiefs.
By setting up receivers shorter, it allows Mahomes to not rely on his arm as much. He also doesn't need to read the safeties correctly. It doesn't require the offensive line to hold up as long, which lets Mahomes stay calmer in the pocket. It puts more stress on Andy Reid, as getting wide receivers open with room to run is harder than getting them open deep once opponents catch on.
The veteran coach can handle it.
It also sets the team up for success later. Once teams catch onto the new philosophy, they will need to play short to stop the short pass. Once they get to a point where they can do this, which could be a full season from now, the Chiefs will easily be able to beat them over the top. Defenses will be so preoccupied with stopping short passes that they will not be playing deep.
Put simply, by switching up his strategy, Reid likely bought the team years of dominance. Some offenses need to be rebuilt. The Chiefs only needed a tune-up. As long as Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Reid are together, they'll figure out a way to put up points. This season, the Chiefs were simply waiting for the problem to become clear so they could take some quick steps to fix it.
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