Much of the focus in the week leading up to the AFC Championship Game between the Chiefs and Titans was on running back Derrick Henry and Tennessee’s strong running game. An area most overlooked was the Chiefs running game and in particular the scrambling ability of Patrick Mahomes. It was something I touched on this week on Missourinet sports and on my podcast “Bill Pollock Show.”
In the first matchup between these teams in Week 10, Patrick Mahomes was playing in his first game since a leg injury and it was the only game this season that Mahomes did not attempt a run or scramble past the line of scrimmage. His stat line read “0 rushing attempts.”
In that Chiefs 35-32 loss in Nashville, Mahomes was dropped twice on sacks and threw the ball 50 times. Whether he couldn’t run or coaches gave him strict orders to not take off given his recovery over his knee and ankle issues, the Titans defense had yet to see a fully healthy Mahomes on the move. That proved to be beneficial to the Kansas City and Patrick’s long touchdown run put the Chiefs in front and on their way to Super Bowl 54.
Reid talks about Mahomes’ great vision on the game turning touchdown run.
Patrick Mahomes with the RUN OF HIS CAREER! pic.twitter.com/0MkGBulSwb
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) January 19, 2020
Mahomes’ 27 yard touchdown run at the end of the first half had a little bit of everything. He showed as much patience as he could looking for a receiver downfield, then was flushed to his left and out ran two Titans who took swipes at him and missed. While receivers were still covered, Mahomes wisely took off down the sideline knowing at any moment he could then step out of bounds to stop the clock. Yet, the field was wide open and Mahomes kept trucking along until Titans safety Tramaine Brock tried to wrap up Mahomes at the six. Titans cornerback Amani Cooper made a weak attempt at going low on Mahomes and missed, and 322 pound defensive tackle DaQuan Jones chased Mahomes from behind to the four, but to no avail as Mahomes slipped and pounded and spun his way past Brock again who tried to strip the ball. The run resulted in the go-ahead score with 11 seconds left in the half.
Mahomes discusses the two-minute drive:
Mahomes rushed eight times for 53 yards with his touchdown, just 16 yards less than Derrick Henry.