Ridiculous Rushes and Improbable Completions

I can only really write about one person today. He’s not bad, is he? Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid put on an International clinic on how to dismantle a defence that had come into the game with a pretty fearsome reputation. By the end, the Ravens had been sent home with their tail between their legs. The score line was flattering to the Ravens and, in truth, the game was out of hand by half time. The Chiefs needed to make it a shootout and force Baltimore away from their bread and butter of the run game. They achieved exactly that scoring touchdowns on 4 of the first 5 drives. They were long drives too, this was a flashback to last season and the quick strike long drives that only took a couple of plays to go large distances.

The beauty of this offensive performance was in the variety. 11 different receivers targeted. 8 with receptions. 5 of them over 60 yards but none over 90. The love was spread far and wide.

A passing game like this starts with great protection. The Ravens blitzed early and often, Mahomes took full advantage. When they blitzed, he was 17/20, 240 Yards, 3 TDs, 156.3 RTG. In truth the pass rush rarely got close to taking him down. He was only hurried 4 times in 41 drop backs.

On average the closest players to Mahomes were the two outside linebackers Judon and Bowser. But in reality they were never that close when Mahomes released the ball being on average 4.91 and 4.96 yards away respectively. Campbell and Wolfe are very good linemen but they were even further away. Considering Remmers only stepped into the starting lineup a couple of hours before the game this was a fantastic job of protection. So Mahomes had the time and space to find the open man, and there were plenty of them. The green dots represent completions, you can see that #15 had great success to his left completing everything he threw in that direction. He also hit on the two deep shots to the right for touchdowns, the one to Tyreek Hill over the head of Marcus Peters was a thing of beauty.

Looking at Mahomes chart, he was above average all across the field, the short range up to 10 yards was particularly damaging going 17/21 for 132 yds and a TD. Only short passes to the right was where he had any difficulty going 3/8 for 27 yds.

The short area was where Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce made hay. 13 receptions for 149 yards kept the Chiefs ahead of the chains, 10 of those 13 receptions went for first downs. Mahomes frequently threw into the holes behind where the blitz had come from, at some stage the Ravens must have questioned the wisdom of their plan. But they didn’t change it and it cost them dearly although the way Mahomes was reading the defence I don’t think it would have really mattered what they did.

So in the end I didn’t just write about one person because overall this was a complete offensive beatdown. 132 yards rushing, 385 yards passing. Balanced, patient but aggressive at the right times, full of tricks. How do you stop it? It’s a problem the NFL will have deep into January.

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