It often looks like Patrick Mahomes is making it up as he goes. Some people had questioned his ability to lead the Kansas City Chiefs to the business end of the 2022 season due to the loss of Tyreek Hill, but anyone wondering how he would plug the gap of the ace wide receiver simply hadn’t been paying attention.
On Sunday Mahomes was at his brilliant best as the Chiefs got their campaign off to a convincing start away to the Arizona Cardinals. This was as wide-ranging a performance as his doubters will have needed to reconsider their initial opinion.
Hill might be a Miami Dolphin now but his career-high 111 receptions, the 1,239 yards and nine touchdowns look unlikely to be missed, with Mahomes’ display in Glendale proving once more that he has much more to his game than a single receiving option. That innate ability to slow down time and pick the right pass in the pressure moments led the Chiefs to a compelling 44-21 victory over a Cardinals side who were always going to be up against it with the visiting QB in this kind of form.
On the very first drive of the game Mahomes picked out tight end Travis Kelce with a perfectly looped pass on 2nd & 9 to give the Chiefs a lead they’d never lose. And when they got the ball back in their hands the 26-year-old drove them deep into Arizona territory once more before converting on 1st & 3 with a cool scooped underarm pass to running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire for the TD.
While the Cardinals responded with ball in hand to narrow the gap to 14-7, Mahomes was doing damage again early in the second quarter as the home side’s secondary was caught out and Edwards-Helaire was left free on the right for Mahomes to make a simple-looking pass.
The Chiefs were 30-7 up soon after half-time as a perfectly-weighted Mahomes loop pass to Jody Fortson allowed the tight end just the right amount of time to escape the attentions of Cardinal safety Jalen Thompson and claim the touchdown.
Next up from Mahomes came a tracer bullet pass to Mecole Hardman which allowed the WR to scramble just beyond the goalline for a fifth Chiefs score. With the Cardinals caught in the headlights, Mahomes put the game to bed in the fourth quarter by handing the ball off to Isiah Pacheco for an eight-yard rush into the end zone.
The Super Bowl LIV MVP finished with a 76.9% completion rate for 360 yards with five touchdown passes. With Kelce regularly available to make the bigger gains, receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster had impressive first outings since being recruited from the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers respectively. All in all, this was a great first run-out for Mahomes and a Chiefs offence that few teams will be able to hold.
The first signs are that the Chiefs will be every bit as competitive without Tyreek Hill as they were with him.
*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject to Change