KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Each week Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes seemingly makes a throw even his head coach Andy Reid doesn't remember seeing before. Sunday against the Ravens, the no-look pass to Demarcus Robinson provided the head scratcher.
“I haven’t seen a lot of guys do that,” Reid said Monday as the Chiefs began preparations to host the Los Angeles Chargers Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium. “I was around (Brett) Favre that did some amazing things that way. Donovan (McNabb) and those guys. But not quite like that.”
The throw came on the second-play of a 2-minute drive at the end of the first half. Mahomes eluded pressure in the pocket and saw wide receiver Demarcus Robinson running toward day light to the left side. He also saw Ravens safety Chuck Clark spying over the middle, and need to shake him off the coverage.
“I was looking and I saw (Robinson) about to come open and I needed to move the safety over to the right,” Mahomes said, “and so I just trusted D-Rob was going to be there and I put it out there. He made a great play on it.”
It takes a tremendously confident quarterback to try to freeze a safety that way, Reid says.
“When you really look at what effect did it have on the defense, there was a guy right underneath the route,” Reid said. “I would have liked to interview that guy right at the point. That's a tough bind. How do you go explain that to your coach? He was looking over here, but he threw it over here. They're going to think you're crazy. But it worked.”
The player requires incredible trust and chemistry between quarterback and receiver. Mahomes has thrown a handful of no-look passes in the first 14 games of his NFL career, but none quite as smooth and spectacular as the throw Sunday.
“You just have to have that chemistry in knowing that he's going to trust that he’s going to run his route the same way,” Mahomes said.
The origin of the no-look pass connects back to his college career at Texas Tech. Mahomes says he never threw one in college, but he and and fellow quarterback Nic Shimonek stumbled upon the idea one afternoon.
“We started doing it in practice and we started messing around with it,” Mahomes said. “It was almost like who could one-up each other. It just kind of carried on from then. I realized it was actual a tool I could use in games.”
Fooling around in practice at Texas Tech is one thing. Throwing a no-look pass at this level is another matter entirely
“He's got a knack for that,” Reid said. “He's comfortable doing it. This is the NFL and he's doing it. It’s something to do it in practice, but then you start throwing it in a game and then a game against the No. 1 defense in the National Football League, that's a little different.”
The no-look pass has become a favorite move of Mahomes for two simple reasons: it's fun and it works.
“I enjoy it a lot,” he said. “It’s something safeties and guys aren’t usually used to. I've talked to guys like Eric Berry and stuff about that.”
Pulling off a play like that requires moxie for sure, but it also takes vision and intelligence to see a play developing and take all the factors into consideration.
“He does have good vision, but he's also able to decipher the defense and then kind of know where his guys are,” Reid said. “You've got to put in the speed of the player, all those things. He's able to get that all spit and calculated out in his brain. He's got a knack for it.”
Mahomes and the Chiefs offense have cut through opposing defenses much of the season. The team averages 36.2 points per game and score no fewer than 26 points in every game this season.
The Ravens, however, seemed to have solved the mystery on Sunday. The Chiefs trailed 24-17 with 4 minutes remaining in the game before Mahomes rallied his team to a 27-24 overtime win. Baltimore's blitz-heavy defense pressured Mahomes with three sacks and 15 quarterback hits.
Mahomes said the Ravens effectively disrupted the Chiefs' offensive momentum much of the game.
“We started at the beginning of the game, we kind of got down there almost to field goal range and then we didn’t get it and then we went out there and scored a couple of times before the end of the half,” Mahomes said. “Then the whole second half was like they were getting us.”
Reid praises his quarterback frequently for his ability to continuing firing despite adversity, and he saw it again Sunday.
“We figured we would see a few blitzes,” Reid said, “but not quite that many and I saw Patrick stay with it. You can get real frustrated in those situations. He didn’t have any frustration there. We were just figuring it out.”