Patrick Mahomes happened, and he happened fast and he happened hard and he happened without subtlety.
The Oakland Coliseum is a little like a living animal. It has moods. It can be quiet or sad or angry or filled with a rap star’s confidence. On Sunday, after the first quarter, the mood was mostly noise. Lots of noise.
These things are unofficial, of course, and certainly vulnerable to recency bias, but it’s the loudest I remember the old dump in 10 years of coming here. The Raiders won their opener in this building last week, in prime-time, and now they had the chance to knock that highfalutin Mahomes back to the reality the rest of us have to deal with.
Then, you know, like we said. Mahomes happened, and a 10-point deficit grew into an 18-point lead and eventually a 28-10 win over the Raiders here on Sunday.
It really was quite the scene change. Mahomes didn’t look bad in that first quarter, exactly. But he didn’t look comfortable. He completed some short passes, but as many times as not he appeared to be expecting different routes from his receivers. The Chiefs did score in the first quarter for the first time since he became their starting quarterback.
They tarp off the upper deck here, and many of the suites are empty. Some seats, too. But when the Raiders are going, and the fans sense something happening, the closeness of the stands manifests itself in a noise you’d think would require a much bigger crowd.
The break between the first and second quarter was that noise.
Then, on the first play of the second quarter, Chiefs coach Andy Reid threw a banana peel at the Raiders’ defense with a pre-snap spring motion by Damien Williams. To defend that well, defenders need to be prepared and communicate. The Raiders were not prepared.
The defensive back lined up opposite receiver Demarcus Robinson slid to cover Williams, but nobody behind him shifted to Robinson. The result was as easy a 44-yard touchdown pass as you are likely to see.
But wait, there’s more!
The next drive was the Chiefs’ most impressive in some time. They started at their own 5, in front of the Black Hole. They converted four third downs, including a catch-and-stretch by Travis Kelce that dripped with masculinity.
On a third and 10, Mahomes shifted up in the pocket and threw one of those sidearmed shortstop fastballs across the field to Robinson for a long gain. It was wiped out by a holding penalty on Austin Reiter, which simply meant another highlight on third and 20: deep to Mecole Hardman for a 42-yard touchdown.
A perfect pass to Williams on a wheel route, another deep ball to Robinson and the touchdown to Kelce who beat safety Karl Joseph in man coverage.
The Raiders punted their next possession, which meant three things:
Some fans started booing.
1. Mahomes had one more chance before halftime.
2. Mahomes hit Robinson in tight coverage for another touchdown.
3. Mahomes completed 12 of 17 passes for 278 yards and four touchdowns IN THE SECOND QUARTER.
Robinson had four catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns IN THE SECOND QUARTER.
Mahomes’ last six passes of the half were each completed for a total of 205 yards.
We used to say that you never knew how the Chiefs would Chief, but you knew that eventually they would Chief. And Chiefing was never good.
Now, we can probably say that you never know exactly how Mahomes will Mahomes, but you know that eventually he will Mahomes. And Mahomesing is always amazing.