Patrick Mahomes spotted it early, almost from the opening snap actually, the way the Oakland Raiders had planned to slow the Chiefs’ offense Sunday.
Double Sammy Watkins. Limit his touches.
Earlier in the week, Raiders coach Jon Gruden slightly telegraphed it, saying Watkins put on tape one of the fastest bursts he’d seen in years during Watkins’ career-day in Jacksonville. So maybe the Raiders will be content with “holding” Watkins to 49 yards Sunday in the Chiefs’ 28-10 win.
But they forget about the other guy.
It’s kind of a theme with him. Demarcus Robinson has spent four years with the Chiefs. Four years serving as a third, fourth or even fifth option. Four years grinding for a day like the one that finally arrived in Oakland.
Robinson busted out for six catches, 172 yards and two touchdowns, all easily setting new career-best marks.
“It’s always been my time to try to come out and make some plays,” Robinson said. “My number was called today. I felt good. I made a couple plays.”
Watkins finished fourth on the team in yardage — Travis Kelce also went over 100, and Mecole Hardman had 61. The Raiders devoted plenty of their defensive backfield to him.
No problem. Mahomes turned elsewhere.
Robinson had never surpassed 100 yards in an NFL game. On Sunday, he totaled 122 yards in the second quarter alone.
“He’s a guy who kind of gets lost in the shuffle of things sometimes,” Mahomes said. “He’s a guy who’s super-talented and makes a lot of big plays happen. It’s everything from catching the ball in scrambles, catching touchdowns maybe in the last read across the middle of the field or making the blocks and doing whatever he can to help his teammates out.
“So when you have guys who play hard for each other, and they finally get their time to shine, it’s always good to see that.”
The Raiders just left Robinson uncovered on his first touchdown, a 44-yard fly pattern that put the Chiefs on the board on the opening play of the second quarter.
He bookended the remarkable 28-point quarter with another touchdown with 40 seconds left in the half. On this one, Mahomes sought him out. Although Mahomes is direct in saying he doesn’t look for a particular receiver — he cycles through the reads, and whomever the ball targets is whom it targets — he shuffled twice to his left, then fired that way.
Robinson had a man on him. The ball was even slightly underthrown. But he made the adjustment and made the catch.
“Every week can be a big week for any of us,” Robinson said. “We don’t go into the game thinking that it’s Mecole Week or Sammy Week or my week or Kelce Week. It could be anybody’s week, or it could be all of our week. Today, I just got into the end zone and made a couple plays.”