QB Patrick Mahomes shakes off uncertainty, leads Chiefs to easy win

Steelers Chiefs Football
Posted at 10:08 PM, Dec 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-26 23:08:27-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two months ago, the national discourse labeled Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes as broken.

If only we could all be so broken.

Mahomes ranks fifth in the NFL with 4,310 yards passing and is tied for fourth with 33 touchdown passes for a Chiefs team that’s poised to earn the top seed in the AFC for a second straight season and third time in the last four years.

Despite having a dozen players, including key contributors like Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce and right tackle Lucas Niang, on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list, Kansas City dispatched Pittsburgh with ease 36-10 on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

Mahomes’ steady demeanor as players came on and off the list, including Pro Bowl wide receiver Tyreek Hill, helped key the Chiefs’ dominance.

“He never flinched on it,” Kansas City coach Andy Reid said. “He got in and got work done during the week with the receivers that stepped in.”

It’s what the Chiefs have come to expect from Mahomes.

“Pat’s always focused and dialed in,” linebacker Anthony Hitchens said. “I know probably early in the week, or even later in the week, he didn’t know if he was going to have his weapons. I’m not sure if that played a part, but Pat is always locked in and focused. That’s our guy; that’s our quarterback. I didn’t expect anything less from him.”

Against the Steelers, Mahomes was ruthlessly efficient, going 23 of 30 for 258 yards with three touchdowns, giving him the most in Arrowhead history, and no interceptions.

“This is one of his great games,” Reid said. “He only played 2 1/2 quarters, but the way he was seeing things and handling himself out there against one of the better pass defenses in the National Football League, my hat goes off to him.”

But it wasn’t Mahomes alone as his first touchdown pass — a 5-yard, first-quarter strike to Byron Pringle — demonstrated.

The offensive line gave Mahomes ample time to survey the field.

His receivers kept working to find space between Pittsburgh’s zones.

Mahomes shuffled in the pocket before Pringle popped open in the end zone, allowing him to thread the football through helpless defenders for an early two-touchdown lead.

“I love that like a big piece of prime rib,” Reid said. “We get excited for that. When everybody’s working together, you’re tough to stop.”

On a day when Kelce was out and Tyreek Hill only had two catches for 19 yards, none after the first drive of the game, Mahomes helped rally Pringle to a career day.

Pringle tied his career-high with six catches and finished with 75 yards, the second-most he's ever had, in his first two-touchdown game for the Chiefs.

“He (Mahomes) was preaching to us all week to come out and take advantage of the opportunities given to us,” Pringle said. “He said it again in the tunnel right before we came out.”