Patrick Mahomes made a mistake.
Actually, he didn’t just make a mistake, he made lots of them — all during the first three weeks of the regular season and in the weeks of preseason and training camp before that.
He misread protections, stepped on his linemen, called wrong plays.
But it’s not just that Mahomes is making mistakes, it’s that the young quarterback is owning them.
While Mahomes mania is reaching a fever pitch with his eye-popping stats and mind-bending throws, the second-year pro is quick to remind people that he’s human, and that he’s still a work in progress. It’s that humility that bodes well for his future with the Chiefs (3-0).
“He’s real with you guys,” coach Andy Reid said. “He is real on the sideline. That allows for progress. If you are conning yourself into something you’re not, that’s an issue at that position. If you are willing to put it out there and say this is what I am, and I have to get better in certain areas, then you normally can do that. That’s where he is at.”
Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy praised Mahomes’ ability to not make the same mistake twice during the preseason. In the regular season, Mahomes is not only correcting his mistakes the first time around, he’s talking about it.
After throwing four touchdowns in the season-opening win against the Chargers, Mahomes was asked about the normality of his performance. He responded by pointing out that he missed a wide-open Sammy Watkins because he thought he was about to be hit.
“Even just being out there, there was stuff I could hit and I didn’t,” he said after the game. “Once where I was protected and I thought I was going to be hit and Sammy Watkins was wide open and I could have made the throw.”
After a record-breaking performance against the Steelers, Mahomes was asked where he could improve. Instead of giving generalities, he pointed out specific instances where he messed up.
“I can be better with my protections,” he said. “There were sometimes I had to throw hot and I think there was one I threw to Sammy and he broke a tackle for 30, but if I had been protected, I may have been able to run the route the way it was supposed to be run and throw it to the right guy. Just everywhere.
“I missed a couple shots I could have made. I stepped up and stepped on Mitch Morse’s ankle and took a sack instead of just getting the ball out of my hands.”
Later, he told WHB 810 AM that he also called the wrong formation in the huddle in that game. Tight end Travis Kelce pointed it out and Mahomes fixed it at the line of scrimmage. Everything turned out, OK, though, because the extra calls confused the Steelers’ defense and led to a 25-yard touchdown pass to Kelce.
“Is there going to be a hiccup here or there? Yes,” Reid said. “There will be learning experiences going on here. Everything has not been roses up to this point. It looks like it, but that has not been the case. He has a ton of things to work on.”
Mahomes isn’t afraid to own up to those hiccups. In his candidness, he shows a maturity that many 23-year-olds lack. It takes a big person to admit when they’re wrong, and it takes an even bigger person to do that when they’re the wunderkind quarterback of an NFL team.
“I think as quarterback and as a football player you always want to get better,” he said. “When you go into a game and there’s something that was drawn up the way it was supposed to be drawn up and you missed the throw or the catch, as a receiver, it’s something where you feel bad about that.
“You can always regret just missing it, but as a football player you have to move on to the next play. Whenever you get back and look at the film you make sure you learn from those mistakes and try not to make them again.”