Sure, the Los Angeles Chargers didn’t have elite pass rusher Joey Bosa on Sunday. But they still have a very good defense with a deep and talented secondary.
And Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes beat them up.
Mahomes made the NFL world take notice on Sunday by working over the Chargers. It’s not his first career start – that came last season in Week 17 – but this was his coming out party as the Chiefs’ new full-time starter. He was 15-of-27 for 256 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in an impressive 38-28 win.
Mahomes looked just like he did in the preseason, looking calm and in control of a dangerous Chiefs offense. We all knew what the ceiling for Mahomes was this season, in a very good Chiefs offense. And he might hit that ceiling.
Patrick Mahomes plays like a veteran on Sunday
Mahomes’ physical skills have been the center of the conversation around him since he came out of Texas Tech. And he showed them off at times on Sunday. He made a throw under duress to Tyreek Hill that Hill turned into a touchdown, and while Hill deserves most of the credit for the great run, it was a throw that required a very strong arm. Mahomes also aired one out to Hill in the second half on third-and-13 for a long completion.
What’s more impressive is that Mahomes plays like a veteran. He knows where to go with the ball and doesn’t make glaring mistakes. Andy Reid puts him in great positions – the quick shovel passes to De’Anthony Thomas and Hill that resulted in some cheap TDs for Mahomes’ stat line had the Chargers flummoxed – but none of that matters if Mahomes can’t execute. He certainly can do that. His touchdown throw to fullback Anthony Sherman down the left sideline was as nice of an NFL throw as you’ll find, with perfect accuracy and touch.
The worries about Mahomes coming out of college is that he was raw, having played in the Air Raid offensive system at Texas Tech. The year sitting behind Alex Smith seems to have helped him a ton. Or maybe we just underestimated him from the start.
Chiefs, Mahomes make big statement
The Chiefs and Mahomes made a heck of a statement on Sunday. Hill was absolutely dominant, starting with a long punt return for a touchdown and continuing from there. He had 169 yards receiving and three total touchdowns. The defense played better than expected without safety Eric Berry. It was a big win in a wide-open AFC West.
But the story is Mahomes. While it was clear what would happen with Smith from the moment the Chiefs traded up to draft Mahomes, it was still risky to move on from Smith, who led the NFL in passer rating and led the Chiefs to an AFC West title in 2017.
Smith played very well in his Washington Redskins debut on Sunday. But after one week, it looks like the Chiefs might have hit a home run on Mahomes.
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