And once again, I beg to differ -sorry.
The Raiders tried to play pretty much the same defense that other teams successfully applied against the Chiefs. They covered the deep targets and put pressure on Mahomes.
On the Chiefs’ end, however, we saw a fix for pretty much every problem that plagued them over the last weeks.
The run game - CEH is still out, and Williams is not an efficient runner out of the backfield. The solution? Feed him with jet sweeps and shuffle passes. That created the gaps he needed to be serious threat to the opponent.
The pocket - in recent weeks, Mahomes often felt the pressure and scrambled out of the pocket. But he did that way too often. The Chiefs’ pass protection isn’t that bad. They give Mahomes the extra second or two, to remain in the pocket, scan the field and hit an open target.
And he did exactly that. Remained patient, checked second and third options and found them.
He threw a lot less deep passes than in recent weeks. He did it just often enough to still sell a serious deep threat. Only towards the end of the 3rd quarter, when the game was pretty much over, he decided that he still wanted to have some fun.
But mostly, he went to the easy option, whenever it was available. And since the Raiders covered deep and had their hands full stopping receivers out of the back field, the easy targets were there. Matter of fact, you can’t shut down the entire field. Mahomes threw the ball 50 times, the second highest number this season. 8.1 YPA are on the bottom end of the not-sucky Mahomes. But that was just the path to get him out of his recent woes.
The defense also looked engergized, and did their part. The Chiefs never fell behind, so indeed, before we celebrate the full resurgence of Patrick Mahomes, we need to wait for another game when they trail by more than 1 score. It’s certainly easier to remain patient when the game script doesn’t put you under a whole lot of pressure.
Still, we saw the Patrick Mahomes we know. Certainly, there will still be setbacks, but it’s clear that the Chiefs identified the pain points, and addressed them.
Justin Herbert, otoh, struggled mightily for the 3rd time in 4 consecutive starts. Just saying…