- Over the past 12 months, the best way to contain Patrick Mahomes has been to avoid blitzing him.
- On Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals attacked Mahomes more than he ever has in his entire career.
- Mahomes finished the game with 360 yards passing and five touchdowns, leading the Chiefs to a dominant 44-21 victory.
Patrick Mahomes has been nearly unstoppable for basically his entire NFL career.
Against the maestro leading the Chiefs’ high-powered offense, the best opposing defenses can do is hope to contain the carnage Mahomes can handle.
On Sunday, the Cardinals dared to challenge him, and Muhammad cut them in response.
—Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) September 11, 2022
A strategy emerged last year that seemed, for the first time since he joined the league, to put Mahomes on the back foot: Don’t blitz.
Through five weeks of the 2021 season, Mahomes was the least-blitzed quarterback in the NFL, facing an extra runner on just 12.6% of his dropbacks. The Chiefs got off to a disappointing 3-4 start to the season, with Mahom throwing nine interceptions through that opening stretch.
Of course, Muhammad and the Chiefs found their footing, but it looked like there was a playbook to try to slow down the new greatest show on turf. The Bengal proved as much in the AFC Championshipturning around a 21-10 halftime deficit by dropping eight players into coverage on numerous occasions.
Entering the 2022 season, you might have expected defenses facing Mahomes, who were now missing their most dangerous weapon in Tyreek Hill, to follow a similar game plan.
You would be wrong.
On Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals opened the year by sending more blitzes at Mahomes than he has ever faced in his career.
Let’s see how that worked out for them.
—Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 11, 2022
It was a rather puzzling decision on the part of the Cardinals, immediately attracting the attention of those who followed Mahomes’ prowess in punishing teams that dared to blitz him.
—Jay Feely (@jayfeely) September 12, 2022
—Jeremy White (@JeremyWGR) September 12, 2022
—Aaron Quinn (@AaronQuinn716) September 12, 2022
The only consolation from the Cardinals’ game plan may be the fact that they didn’t defend Mahomes very well, even when they decided to drop back into coverage.
Mahom finished the day completing 30 of his 39 passes for 360 yards and five touchdowns.
With the Chiefs set to face the Chargers on Thursday night, it will be interesting to see how much Los Angeles tries to rush Mahomes with an extra defender.