The Kansas City Chiefs reached a franchise-best 14-1 record following Sunday’s 17-14 win against the Atlanta Falcons. Usually the finest one on the field, even quarterback Patrick Mahomes had his fair share of struggles. Speaking with reporters minutes afterwards, the MVP front runner was candid about how he must improve before a contentious postseason.
“A win is a win. We didn’t play particularly well on the offensive side of the ball, but the defense stepped up and kept us in the game.”
Humbling words from the reigning world champion, who completed 24 throws on 44 attempts for 278 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Mahomes’ 79.5 passer rating is his lowest of the 2020 “Run it Back” campaign.
Despite those less-than-stellar numbers, Kansas City not only secured the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, but also home field advantage. The road to Tampa officially goes through Arrowhead Stadium.
Mahomes on Botched 4th & 1 Trick Play
What makes the Chiefs so exciting to watch is their ability to confidently run trick play after trick play. They usually find success in those endeavors, but the Falcons made it easier said than done for Andy Reid’s men. Instead of Mahomes passing on 4th & 1 in the second quarter, the Chiefs opted to instead orchestrate a throw for wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Watkins’ chucked the ball down the left sideline toward Mahomes but before it could reach his hands, the ball was intercepted by Atlanta’s Keanu Neal.
Considering Watkins had never attempted a throw in his professional career, to do one there was a little mystifying. When asked in the post-game presser the mentality behind that decision, Mahomes accepted responsibility and joked that he might be on the receiving end of a few jokes in the coming days.
“They had brought a lot of man-type pressure in that situation, so we were going to try and sneak me out the backside and be wide open for a walk-in touchdown. But obviously, they had a guy out there and they had to have the biggest, fastest guy possible …. I told Sammy before the play ‘It’s fourth down, you got to throw it even if I’m covered.’ He had the leverage on me and I’m probably gonna be on ‘You Got Mossed’ on Monday, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Moving forward, perhaps the Chiefs will be waiting until they have a healthy lead before orchestrating something so risky again.
Andy Reid on Resting Starters
The Chiefs close out the 2020 regular season against divisional rivals the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday at home. Win, lose or draw, it won’t alter their position as the AFC’s No. 1 seed.
This marks the fourth time Reid has earned a postseason bye week with the Chiefs as head coach and the second time having the AFC’s top seed. In the past, the veteran play-caller has rested his starters in Week 17, doing so in the 2013 and 2017 seasons as well as near the conclusion of the 2018 season.
Reid was asked during his time at the podium if he will make the same decision next weekend. The 62-year-old admitted he hasn’t made a decision yet, but went on to say the bye allows young guys some well-earned playing time and experience ahead of the playoffs.