For Pete's Sake

Patriots talk about facing Patrick Mahomes again (and that no-look pass, too)

Every one of Patrick Mahomes 50 touchdown passes in 2018

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback has taken the NFL by storm in his first year as a starter, and his numbers back it up. Here is every one of his touchdown passes so far this season. Music from KillerTracks.
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Kansas City Chiefs quarterback has taken the NFL by storm in his first year as a starter, and his numbers back it up. Here is every one of his touchdown passes so far this season. Music from KillerTracks.

In the days leading up to the Chiefs’ game on Oct. 14 at New England, Patriots safeties coach Steve Belichick saw something unusual on Kansas City’s game tapes.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had completed a left-handed pass less than two weeks earlier against the Broncos. That play popped out to Belichick, who is the son of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

“I remember last time getting ready for them, Mahomes was completing left-handed passes for first downs,” Belichick said Monday in a conference call. “Now he’s completing no-look passes. So, it just keeps getting more and more challenging with these guys. They’re playing at a high level. They’re the best team we’ve played, obviously, so we’re looking forward to the challenge, but they sure do present a big challenge.”

Mahomes’ no-look pass against the Ravens last month turned a lot of heads.

A number of Patriots defenders talked Tuesday about facing Mahomes in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium, and their quotes were on the team’s website.

Defensive end Trey Flowers was asked if there was anything to glean from playing Mahomes in New England’s 43-40 win in October.

“Well, we can use that as far as the tape and as far as the advantage and see what he’s able to do as far as his individual movements and things and such,” Flowers said. “But he’s obviously a better player now than we was when we faced him earlier. We’ve definitely got to be aware and be prepared for him to play an even better game and be more productive. So we’ve got to prepare well and match the intensity.”

Linebacker Dont’a Hightower said it was important that the Patriots pressure Mahomes, who completed 23-of-36 passes for 352 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions in the first meeting. Mahomes was not sacked.

Hightower also took note of the no-look pass.

“I think to keep him in the pocket but to also keep pressure on him, not letting him feel comfortable,” Hightower said. “But, obviously, he’s an athletic quarterback. He can throw just as well outside the pocket as he can inside the pocket. I mean, on film, you see him not even looking where he’s throwing and he’s able to hit it, too. I mean, he’s a very accurate quarterback, so we want to keep him inside the pocket but keep pressure on him.”

Hightower was asked if there was a quarterback today that he could compare to Mahomes or if the Patriots had to prepare differently for what Mahomes does.

“I think his skill set alone is kind of him,” Hightower said. “But, he’s not as crafty as Aaron Rodgers, but Aaron Rodgers does a great job, as well, as far as extending plays and not looking to run with the ball but looking to get guys uncovered or moving guys with their eyes. There’s not a lot of quarterbacks that have that in their skill set, so that’s one of his best skill sets.”

Matthew Slater, whose father is former Rams offensive lineman Jackie Slater, was asked if being the son of a pro athlete was an advantage.

Slater spoke glowingly about Mahomes, whose dad pitched in Major League Baseball.

“Well, as far as Patrick’s concerned, he’s extremely gifted,” said Slater, who is special-teams captain. “You look at him play the game of football, it’s something that’s really fun to watch. He’s got so many unique talents, unique skill sets, I think when it comes to throwing the football and making plays to help his team win and we’ve seen that week, after week, after week. He’s done a tremendous job.”

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From covering the World Series to the World Cup, Pete has done a little bit of everything since joining The Star in 1997. He writes about baseball and has a quirky blog that augments The Star’s coverage of area teams.