- Covered Chiefs for 20 seasons for Kansas City Star
- Joined ESPN in 2013
TAMPA, Fla. — Patrick Mahomes has completed no-look passes, side-armed throws and even left-handed tosses. His 2-yard touchdown pass to Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the second quarter of what would become a 41-31 Kansas City Chiefs win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday night was at or near the top of the list of Mahomes’ impressive and unusual plays — even to those who have been with Mahomes from the start of his NFL career.
“The NFL hasn’t seen anything like Pat Mahomes, I promise you that,” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said. “And you saw it today. He’s the Houdini of our era, man.”
Mahomes ran 39.4 yards, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, and needed 7.6 seconds to finish the touchdown pass to Edwards-Helaire. He was flushed from the pocket and appeared ready to run as he neared the sideline.
He then did a 360-degree spin to avoid a defender and, under pressure, flipped the pass to Edwards-Helaire in the end zone. Mahomes pushed the pass as much as he threw it and called his throwing motion on the play “a basketball shot.”
“I was able to use my speed, my little bit of speed, to get around the edge there. I was gonna run for it, but they kind of flew around me,” said Mahomes, who threw for 249 yards and also had TD throws of 16 yards to Kelce and 10 yards to Jody Fortson while making NFL history by reaching 20,000 yards passing faster than anyone else. “I realized I wasn’t going to make it, and I saw Clyde, so I kind of flicked it up to him.”
Chiefs coach Andy Reid, in a nod to Mahomes’ creativity, said the maneuver “is not in our playbook.”
The Chiefs busted out offensively at a seemingly unlikely time. They struggled to score 17 points in last week’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts. And the Bucs had the NFL’s best scoring defense entering Week 4, having allowed a total of 27 points in three games.
By halftime, the Chiefs had scored 28. They also rushed for a season-high 189 yards for the game, this after running for 58 yards against the Colts.
Sunday night marked the first meeting between Mahomes and Bucs quarterback Tom Brady since Tampa Bay’s 31-9 rout of Kansas City in Super Bowl LV — also played at Raymond James Stadium — in February 2021.
“When I came into the stadium, I realized that I hadn’t been here, and the bad taste I had last time came into effect,” Mahomes said. “But it’s still not a playoff game. It’s a regular-season game, which is important. That Super Bowl will always leave a bad taste for me.”
Bucs linebacker Shaq Barrett said leading up to the teams’ Week 5 matchup that he didn’t see much improvement in the Chiefs’ offensive line from the last time they met, in the Super Bowl, when the Bucs’ defensive front dominated the game.
“They accepted the challenge,” Mahomes said of his offensive line. “They made our team roll today. That’s a great defense, great defense line. I think they heard the talking and they heard the talking not only from [the Bucs] but from everybody about how they didn’t play well last week. They accepted that challenge, and they went out there; and when they dominate like that, it makes my job a lot easier.”
The Chiefs acknowledged wanting to get a measure of revenge against the Bucs for the Super Bowl defeat. Edwards-Helaire, who rushed for 92 yards on Sunday night, said his last memory of playing in Tampa was an unpleasant one.
“Everything was blurry because I was so damn teary-eyed,” he said. “So it is just like you take that and you kind of bottle it up, figure out where you want to put it, and then I listened to literally the same playlist that I had for the Super Bowl and we went out here and did what we needed to do.”
Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.
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