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Chiefs quarterback takes league by storm

Leading+the+Chiefs+to+a+7-1+record%2C+second-year+quarterback+Patrick+Mahomes+has+thrown+for+over+300+yards+per+game+plus+26+touchdowns+and+only+5+interceptions.+He+has+the+beginnings+of+an+excellent+career+in+the+NFL.
Leading the Chiefs to a 7-1 record, second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes has thrown for over 300 yards per game plus 26 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions. He has the beginnings of an excellent career in the NFL.

Leading the Chiefs to a 7-1 record, second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes has thrown for over 300 yards per game plus 26 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions. He has the beginnings of an excellent career in the NFL.

Steve Sanders, Kansas City Chiefs

Steve Sanders, Kansas City Chiefs

Leading the Chiefs to a 7-1 record, second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes has thrown for over 300 yards per game plus 26 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions. He has the beginnings of an excellent career in the NFL.

Kaegan Cowan, Web Editor

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Kaegan Cowan

Dominating the NFL, 23-year-old Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has broken multiple records while leading the Chiefs to a 7-1 record
and the top spot in the AFC. The second-year player was the backup to Alex Smith last season, but after the Chiefs traded Smith to the Washington Redskins, coach Andy Reid gave the reins of his high-powered offense to Mahomes.

Mahomes broke the NFL record for touchdown passes through the first three games of a season with 12, but after Week 8, his current pace is just below what he needs to break Peyton Manning’s single-season passing touchdown record of 55. However, his explosive play indicates that he could very well break that record anyway. Mahomes is careful not to commit turnovers; he did not throw a single interception in his first four starts this season, and he has not fumbled all season. Against weak defenses, there is potential for him to put up big numbers (for example, six touchdowns vs. Pittsburgh in Week 2).

The Chiefs’ offensive weapons around Mahomes have certainly helped him acclimate to his starting job. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who has the most receiving yards on the team and is tied for most receptions with tight end Travis Kelce, is statistically the fastest player in the NFL, with a top speed of 21.95 miles per hour, according to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats. Kelce has the second-most receiving yards among tight ends and is a key third-down target for Mahomes.

Running back Kareem Hunt may not have the numbers he had last year at this time (he finished as the top rusher by yardage in 2017), but still, he has been a critical part of Mahomes’ success with his ability to take pressure off the Chiefs’ passing game, and he is the third-leading rusher in the NFL through Week 8. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins was acquired as a free agent in the offseason, having played for the Los Angeles Rams last season. Opposing teams’ defenses, focusing on Hill and Kelce, have allowed Watkins to get open multiple times this season, and he has accrued 26 receptions for 453 yards and three touchdowns so far.

But what makes Mahomes so special? Many analysts have pointed out that most quarterbacks in the NFL would succeed with the amount of talent surrounding Mahomes on offense. This is a good point, but I would argue that other NFL quarterbacks do not possess the mix of physical and mental traits that Mahomes does.
He is intelligent with the ball; he rarely forces passes to receivers who are covered, and he uses his mobility to avoid sacks and to make dynamic plays. In the Week 4 matchup vs. the Denver Broncos, Mahomes threw for 192 yards outside the pocket, the highest number recorded in this statistic in 10 years.

One of the main complaints about Alex Smith was that he was afraid to throw deep passes downfield; it is harder to be accurate on deep passes, and therefore, they can be intercepted more easily. Mahomes, however, has nearly superhuman arm strength—Kelce claimed the quarterback could throw the ball 80 yards—and Mahomes has used this to his advantage by hitting his receivers much farther down the field than the majority of NFL quarterbacks would be able to. The most awe-inspiring display of Mahomes’ arm strength was on a touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill in the preseason vs. the Atlanta Falcons. The ball traveled 69 yards in the air, a full seven yards farther than the longest air distance on a pass in the 2017
regular season.

Mahomes does not just use his arm strength to air out deep passes, though. He is able to throw hard “bullet” passes for completions in small openings. This skill is especially helpful when he rolls out of the pocket under pressure, because he can get rid of the ball much more quickly. His arm strength complements his mobility by allowing him to extend plays outside of the pocket, freeing up extra time for his receivers. He can then fire darts into small holes in defensive coverage when those receivers get open.

Patrick Mahomes is the most exciting thing to happen to the Chiefs in decades. While he is only in his second season, he has already drawn comparisons to multiple Hall of Fame and Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. The Chiefs have not won a Super Bowl since 1970, when they defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV. And, before crowning the Chiefs with the coveted title of “Super Bowl contender,” they have to actually win a playoff game in Arrowhead Stadium, something they have not accomplished since 1994. The Chiefs’ defense will be an issue in the postseason; it has allowed the most passing yards in the NFL through Week 8. But, Mahomes has the skills and teammates to finally return the Chiefs to glory, and his future is bright in Kansas City.

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Chiefs quarterback takes league by storm