It was the play that Chiefs fans have been waiting for. During Kansas City’s 28-14 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, Patrick Mahomes uncorked a beauty of a throw that speed demon wide receiver Tyreek Hill hauled in for a 69-yard touchdown.
Mahomes 🎯 ➡️ Hill 🐆
69-yard TOUCHDOWN 😱 pic.twitter.com/fku0pS0mTz
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) August 18, 2018
Almost immediately, social media went nuts.
Good lord Pat Mahomes. 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥… that’s a throw Alex Smith could never make. Wow. @Chiefs
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) August 18, 2018
Patrick Mahomes throws a 69-yard bomb to Tyreek Hill and about 65 yards of it was in the air. Unbelievable throw. You will see this one over and over and over.
— Tom Martin (@TomKCTV5) August 18, 2018
This throw clocked in at 63 air yards. Active QBs who have completed a pass with at least 63 air yards since 2009:
1. Aaron Rodgers
[end of list] https://t.co/IjTGkrlSkV
— Ben Baldwin (@benbbaldwin) August 18, 2018
There’s no denying that the play was great but was it a mirage or a taste of what’s to come?
From Dan Fouts to John Jefferson through Michael Vick to DeSean Jackson onto Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson, the long touchdown bomb has always been a fan favorite. To paraphrase baseball Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, people dig the long ball.
If it’s a legitimate threat in a team’s arsenal, it has to be accounted for by the defense. Suddenly, defensive backs are taking a precautionary step back before the ball is snapped. Linebackers are covering more space so that a safety can help over the top. When a team shows that it can take the top off of a defense, opposing coaches start having sleepless nights.
When the Chiefs drafted Mahomes out of Texas Tech, it was the strength of his right arm that had them mesmerized. Considering that Hill was already in the fold, it’s a safe bet that Kansas City head coach Andy Reid — who once fielded the Vick to Jackson attack — was thinking of what transpired on the field against the Falcons.
Beginning Of A Sustained Air Reid Attack?
The bombs away play was great, but Mahomes also showed his inexperience with a bad interception just before that. His stat line of 8-for-12 for 138 yards was good but not overwhelmingly so.
For his part, Hill showed that he’s continuing to develop into more than just a big-play threat. He caught all four of the passes sent his way for 87 yards.
Mahomes and Hill are going to be made to prove that they can connect like that when the defense is scheming for that play and the other team’s starters aren’t trying to avoid injury.
They don’t have to do it all the time, but if they can prove early in the regular season that they can hit they can hit those long strikes, the Chiefs’ offense becomes very dangerous.
Once the defense is certain that Mahomes can withstand a big boy rush, set his feet in the pocket, and air it out to Hill, it opens up Kansas City’s entire playbook. Suddenly, Travis Kelce has more room on slants. Defenses can’t load the box on Kareem Hunt. Heck, even Sammy Watkins might be able to catch a pass.
It was just one play in a meaningless preseason game, but if Reid, Mahomes, and Hill can duplicate that early in the regular season, NFL defensive coordinators will take notice quickly. That, and Kansas City area otolaryngologists might have to start opening on Sundays to treat the effects of the resulting sound explosions from inside Arrowhead Stadium.