In just 19 starts, the catalog of throws stands as a collection of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ creativity, a one-of-a-kind resume for the NFL’s most valuable player.
Surely you’ve seen many of them by now. The lefty flare to sustain a drive. The no-look pass across the middle of the field.
In some sort of viral ranking, those would probably top almost anyone’s list, hard as it might be to boil them down to just one.
Mahomes has his own personal favorite.
You probably remember it, too.
Trailing in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens — the same team scheduled to visit Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday — Mahomes threw against his body to complete a 48-yard fourth-down pass to wide receiver Tyreek Hill.
“That was probably my favorite one,” Mahomes said. “Just the situation and just giving guys the chance and Tyreek making a great play on it, and (we) ended up winning the game at home. I mean that pretty much gave us homefield advantage last year in the playoffs. It was one of my favorite throws, if not my favorite, so far.”
Mahomes had yet to lose a game inside Arrowhead Stadium the last time the Ravens visited. But the Chiefs trailed by seven and faced fourth-and-9 at their own 40, the clock showing just 1:29 remaining. The Ravens flushed Mahomes out of the pocket, nearly to the sideline, before he contorted his body on the run to throw deep down the field.
In stride, Hill swept under it, then scooted out of bounds for a 48-yard completion. The Chiefs would score on the drive to tie the game and later win in overtime.
It was just one play.
But it conveyed much more.
Rather than giving up on completed routes, wide receivers are taught to fight to pry themselves open until the whistle. It’s easier said than done. But in Kansas City, with that guy at quarterback, it’s a particularly important point of emphasis.
“The simple answer is that he makes plays during those times,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “He doesn’t shy away from it. He’s got a knack for that.
“The guys around trust that he’s going to do something. Tyreek never quit on that play. He kept working. And that’s the trust. That’s where the trust comes in between the two.”
The trust between teammates. And pure guts from the quarterback.
In addition to his everyday play, Mahomes has displayed an instinct to flip into “make something happen” mode. Many of this most memorable plays derive from it. And perhaps just as critically, he has an instinct for when to turn it off.
“Probably only fourth down is the only time I’d ever make that throw across the field like that,” Mahomes said. “I mean I throw it some across the field, but not just kind of chucking it down the field like that.
“It’s a fourth-down play where we had to make something happen, and I know I’m not running for it, so I just tried to throw it out there and let guys make plays. Tyreek came back to the play and cut off the linebacker. He made a great catch.”
So all in all, that ranks No. 1 on his list.
So far, as he pointed out.
But on Wednesday, despite all of the praise for that throw, he couldn’t help but make a concession.
“I looked the wrong way first.”