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  • The Broncos’ defense pushed Mahomes and the Chiefs—and the second-year phenom quarterback responded admirably, extending a late-game drive and keeping the team’s undefeated record alive.
By Kalyn Kahler
October 02, 2018

Patrick Mahomes got his first taste of adversity against the Broncos on Monday Night Football, and the Chiefs’ quarterback, on a record-breaking tear so far this season, didn’t even blink.

Denver’s defense brought plenty of pressure on the quarterback, and even with a depleted secondary, the defensive backs matched up honorably with Kansas City’s many offensive weapons. The Broncos were able to do something none of the Chiefs’ first three opponents this season could do: Prevent the Chiefs from scoring a touchdown on the opening drive (instead, Kansas City kicked a field goal). The Chiefs scored at least 20 points in the first half of their first three games, and Denver held them to just 10 points in the first half.

Mahomes’s first half stats this season:
Week 1 at Chargers: 7/14, 131 Pass YDs, 1 TD
Week 2 at Steelers: 8/10, 119 Pass YDs, 3 TDs
Week 3 vs. 49ers: 17/25, 252 Pass YDs, 3 TDs
Week 4 at Broncos: 7/15, 65 Pass YDs, 1 Rush TD

At halftime in Denver, Mahomes and the Chiefs found themselves playing from behind for the first time this season, trailing the Broncos 13–10. Kansas City then fell behind by another touchdown, entering the fourth quarter down 23–13 and putting their undefeated season record at risk. 

Mahomes responded to Denver's pressure by stepping out of a couple sacks and extending plays by leaving the pocket when it was collapsing around him. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Mahomes threw for 192 yards out of the pocket, the most passing yards of that kind in the last 10 seasons.

With three minutes left in the game, the Chiefs needed to convert a third down in order to keep the drive—and the game—alive. As the ball was snapped, Broncos linebacker Von Miller closed in on Mahomes, pushing him outside the pocket and grabbing him by the ankles. The QB switched the football from his right to left hand when he sensed Miller closing in on his right side, and he tossed a left-handed, shot-put throw to receiver Tyreek Hill to convert the third down. Even when off balance and holding the ball in his non-throwing hand, Mahomes was still able to convert a crucial third down to put the Chiefs in position to score the game-winning touchdown.

Be proud, Denver defense, you presented the second-year phenom with his first real challenge. But Mahomes is more than capable of responding. Noted.

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HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Conor Orr on why the Steelers might be better off trading away Le’Veon Bell, now that he’s reportedly returning to the team in Week 7. ... Albert Breer leads his Monday Afternoon Quarterback with Matt Nagy’s glowing review of Khalil Mack. ... Jonathan Jones from Eric Reid’s first press conference as a Panther ... Breer’s MMQB leads with Mike Vrabel taking chances with the Titans.

WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Andy Benoit on how the Jaguars built a Blake Bortles-based offense... Yours truly on Jameis Winston’s first game back from his three-game suspension.


PRESS COVERAGE

1. Le'Veon Bell plans to return to the Steelers Week 7, during the bye week.

2. Before Earl Thomas was injured Sunday, the Chiefs were preparing to trade for him.

3. Jameis Winston will be the starter when the Buccaneers return from their bye week. 

4. Packers coach Mike McCarthy feels good about his relationship with Aaron Rodgers, despite Rodgers comments about the “terrible” offense on Sunday. 


THE KICKER

Even though Mahomes is a star and so is Kareem Hunt, ESPN’s Diana Russini reminds us they still share a room together on the road and sleep in twin beds.

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

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