Patrick Mahomes’ Solution for Slow Starts: “It’s All About the Next Play”

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes completed just one of his first seven passes in a 38-31 loss to the Seattle Seahawks Sunday night, but the young gunslinger says he only knows one way to emerge from a sluggish start and jump start the Chiefs offense.

“I mean it’s all about the next play,: Mahomes said Wednesday as the Chiefs prepare for their regular-season finale against Oakland. “The next play, you always get an opportunity to do better. For me, that’s my mentality. It doesn’t matter how the entire game went, as long as you go out there and execute that next play and do the best to your ability, that’s the best you can do in that moment.”

The Chiefs don't make it a habit of starting slow, outscoring their opponents 133-56 in the first quarter this season. But the first quarter proves statistically the weakest for Mahomes, although still relatively spectacular given his MVP-type season.

Three of the worst starts for Mahomes have come on the road in primetime games. In addition to the slow start at Seattle, Mahomes completed 4-of-9 passing for 53 yards an interception at New England in Week 6. On Monday night against the Broncos in Week 4, Mahomes started 4-of-8 passing for 41 yards. The Chiefs lost at both the Seahawks and Patriots, but rallied for a 27-23 win at Denver.

Head coach Andy Reid doesn't see any cause for concern with slow starts from Mahomes.

“He has a tendency to settle down as he goes through and makes plays as he goes,” Reid said “He usually gives you an opportunity to win the game.”

Reid pointed to the first pass by Mahomes against Seattle as a pivotal play. Mahomes targeted wide receiver Tyreek Hill on a slant, trying to angle the ball around linebacker K.J. Wright, who tipped the ball at the line of scrimmage for an imcompletion.

“He was off by about two inches on that first throw and the defensive player I thought made a nice play,” Reid said. “He hits that one, it is a touchdown. He had to kind of work around it. We probably don’t talk about that.”

Sometimes, Mahomes explained, it takes him a moment acclimating to the flow of the game.

“You want to come out and play fast, you want come out and score on the first drive, on every single drive,” Mahomes said. “But you have to kind of get into the flow of the game, you have to see where the game takes you. Sometimes you don’t get that fast start you want, but you have to find a way to bounce back as quickly as possible.”