Patrick Mahomes is quickly proving the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense can thrive without Tyreek Hill.
It took just two games for the Kansas City Chiefs‘ offense and defense to be put to the test.
In Amazon Prime Video’s first Thursday Night Football game, the Los Angeles Chargers, led by QB Justin Herbert and head coach Brandon Staley, understood a creative strategy was essential if they were going to edge out an indomitable Patrick Mahomes-led Kansas City Chiefs offense.
The Chargers jumped out to an early lead, leaning on wideout Mike Williams, but it wasn’t enough to defeat KC. The Chargers fell to the Chiefs, 27-24, handing Herbert his first loss in a Chargers uniform at Arrowhead Stadium.
True to form, Mahomes reminded everyone why the Chiefs splashed $500 million on him two years ago with another flashy touchdown pass only he could pull off. Ahead of this season, the discourse wasn’t necessarily about whether Mahomes would have another MVP-caliber season, but if he could run up the score against robust defenses without Tyreek Hill’s help.
It turns out he can. In fact, Mahomes is developing a crop of worthy successors who caught passes from him Thursday night.
Hill took his talents to South Beach in March after contract negotiations with the Chiefs fell flat. Now with the Miami Dolphins, Hill is forced to watch Mahomes ball out from the comfort of his couch. It seems like the six-time Pro Bowler either liked what he saw or already misses being Mahomes’ No. 1 target, because he tweeted this shortly after Showtime evaded Chargers defenders to find Justin Watson for six.
Through two weeks, Mahomes has thrown a completion to 11 receivers, and six helped put points on the board. As explosive as Hill is, it’s the quarterback’s responsibility to perfectly place the ball in the receiver’s hands. Mahomes proved he can do that in a post-Cheetah era and is showing no sign of slowing down.
His exact words: “Obviously, like I’m gonna go with 15 [Mahomes] as the strongest arm, but as far as accuracy-wise, I’m going with Tua all day.”
In his final year at Arrowhead, Hill notched career-high targets (159) and receptions (111), so it’s not like Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy was neglecting him in any way. But he still wasn’t satisfied. Hill’s discontent put unnecessary pressure on Mahomes, and could have led to his exit.
In Florida, there’s no question that Hill will be Tagovailoa’s primary target. After all, he’s got $120 million to justify his departure.
Mahomes doubled down on the importance of spreading the ball to various receivers in his remarks following Thursday night’s win:
“That’s what we said going into camp. It’s going to be everybody. It’s not going to be just one guy. Justin Watson came in when Mecole [Hardman] was a little banged up, got Mecole’s route and he won against a Pro Bowl, All-Pro corner. For guys like that to make their imprint on the game, that’ll help us out as we get into more tough games like this.”
Football fans are seeing what happens when players trust their coaches’ play-calling. No one is denying Hill’s artistry. In fact, the expectation is he will lead Miami to a postseason run this year. But perhaps Hill was the only one who thought Kansas City’s offense would deteriorate without him on turf. Instead, the Chiefs have put opponents on notice: It won’t be as easy to read them. Gone are the days where the predictable outcome is aTravis Kelce gain every third play. It’s been two weeks, but this year has the makings of one of the best of Mahomes’ already storied career.