Early last week, as Kansas City Chiefs quarterbacks began breaking down film to prepare for their next opponent — the Las Vegas Raiders –, rookie Shane Buechele called up a YouTube video he thought met the moment. How did the video impact Patrick Mahomes ahead of Kansas City’s Sunday Night Football divisional battle?
Patrick Mahomes’ motto for Week 10
The clip was from a 2014 Michigan TV news feature on the Warren De La Salle High School team. The kids were really milking the moment, leaning into their inner pro wrestling personas and delivering a bunch of over-the-top quotes.
The clip ended with a De La Salle player shouting into the microphone, “I think I got my swagger back. Ohhhh, ohhhh!”
Buechele knew the absurd theatrics were the perfect message for an offense, and a star quarterback (Mahomes), that needed to get their swagger back.
“That was kind of my motto this week,” Mahomes told reporters late Sunday. “It was kind of the thing, the question was, they were trying to say, ‘What’s wrong with the team?’ And they had a big win, and he said, ‘I think I’ve got my swagger back.’ I was like, ‘Man, that’s what we’re going to do on Sunday.’ We got that win. Now, how do we keep that swag going?”
Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs bounce back
How much did that video have to do with Mahomes busting out of the worst slump of his career in a 41-14 blowout win over the rival Raiders? Probably not much. Film study, practice, and a little bit of patience in the pocket were the biggest factors. But if it was important enough for Mahomes to mention the video to us, it’s important enough for us to mention it to you.
Mahomes earned that right with a vintage game Sunday, roasting Las Vegas for 406 passing yards and 5 touchdowns — both season-highs. He completed 70% of his attempts and averaged 11.6 yards per pass. But more than anything, he looked like the loose and confident Mahomes of old.
“Pat’s lasted longer than any quarterback in the history of the game without a slump,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “And so it’s going to happen. There’s going to be a little something that doesn’t go your way. It’s important that you power through it, stay confident, and keep firing. And so that’s how he’s wired. He knew he was going to get through the ups and downs, just by the way he handles himself.”
Mahomes fileted a Raiders defense that showed him a lot of Cover 4 and single-high middle zone. Las Vegas didn’t run as many two-high safety calls, a soft coverage that had recently given Mahomes some problems. It’s no coincidence that the Chiefs scored more points Sunday than they did the previous three weeks (36).
The Chiefs are currently first in the AFC West
The Chiefs gained 516 yards and 29 first downs on 76 plays, and three different Chiefs players — Darrel Williams, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill — had over 80 receiving yards.
Hill also had 2 touchdown catches, the second of which was on a drag route that Mahomes suggested Reid call after noticing Raiders defenders had sold out to stop the run on a certain look.
Mahomes’ intuition was correct, and the play design and execution sprung Hill wide open. It was an easy pitch-and-catch score for an offense that has had very little easiness this season. And yet, 10 games into the year, the Chiefs are exactly where we expected them to be at this point of the season: atop the AFC West.
“You have to develop your own personality,” Reid said. “Every team’s different. Every year, you can’t worry about the expectations or any of that stuff. You have to get down to the nitty-gritty and build it. Our guys have kind of done that. They’re getting to know each other better. We’ve got to keep plugging away. It’s a good one to get.”