Pat Leonard’s NFL Notes: Patrick Mahomes with a chip on his shoulder is unhealthy news for remainder of NFL


Overlooking Patrick Mahomes was an enormous mistake.

The Buffalo Bills had been the preseason Super Bowl chalk with Las Vegas sportsbooks, even after they misplaced to Kansas City in final yr’s playoffs.

The L.A. Chargers had been the media darlings of a stacked AFC West that was imagined to humble Andy Reid, Mahomes and a fading Chiefs staff that misplaced Tyrann Mathieu and Tyreek Hill.

Russell Wilson bought traded to the Denver Broncos. Davante Adams turned a Las Vegas Raider.

The Chiefs’ run of 4 straight AFC Championship Game appearances, with two Super Bowl appearances and one championship, is over. Right?

Wrong. The Chiefs are already 2-0, outscoring their opponents 71-45, with a Thursday Night division win over Justin Herbert’s Chargers here in Week 2.

And making Mahomes an underdog was a nasty thought.

“I always feel like I have something to prove,” Mahomes stated after the Chiefs’ 44-21 thrashing of the Arizona Cardinals. “I’m just this guy from Texas Tech that they said couldn’t play in the NFL. So I always have that mindset of going out there and proving that we’re the Kansas City Chiefs and we still have a chance to go out there and win the AFC championship and win the AFC West and win the Super Bowl.”

This is to not reduce what Josh Allen’s Bills did to the reigning champion L.A. Rams within the NFL season opener. Buffalo undoubtedly has the firepower to compete with Kansas City, as they demonstrated in that 42-36 additional time divisional playoff loss in January.

Mahomes and the Chiefs benefited from some horrible officiating Thursday evening that robbed the Chargers of two interceptions, too. And Kansas City’s secondary on protection is younger and suspect.

But Mahomes’ expertise is sufficient to preserve profitable, together with the teaching of Reid and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. And including a chip to the previous MVP’s shoulder provides him another excuse to unleash contemporary firepower on the league.

Mahomes obtained a confusingly low grade from Pro Football Focus in Week 1, for instance, after finishing 30 of 39 passes for 360 yards and 5 TDs in opposition to the Cardinals.

So on Thursday, after beating the Chargers, Mahomes cracked about certainly one of his close to interceptions: “I’m sure PFF will have me at a low grade for that, but I’ll keep it rolling.”

PFF returned with these numbers after the Chiefs beat the Chargers: Mahomes is 21 of 32 in opposition to the blitz this season for 231 yards, six TD passes and no interceptions. He is 12 of 13 out of the pocket for 121 yards and three TDs.

“A couple of those throws were unbelievable,” Reid stated of his quarterback’s 24 of 35 passing for 235 yards and two TDs in opposition to the Chargers. “Pushing up and throwing through traffic and getting his body in the right position… It was impressive. And I know he works … He’s relentless with that stuff. He always wants to know what he can do to be better.”

Relentless is an efficient option to describe Mahomes’ perspective now in his fifth full season as a starter. He’s out to remind everybody who he’s, who the Chiefs are – they’re the staff you had been unwise to miss.

STALEY SUDDENLY PLAYS IT SAFE

Aggressive, analytics-driven Chargers coach Brandon Staley unexpectedly morphed on Thursday into an alarmingly conservative recreation supervisor in opposition to the Chiefs.

Staley, whose calling card as a rookie coach was his aggressive go-for-it calls on fourth down, kicked an early discipline aim on 4th and a couple of from the Chiefs’ 13-yard line. And he punted twice within the first half on 4th and a couple of from the Chiefs’ 47- and 48-yard traces, respectively.

It seems Staley’s failed fourth down calls in late season losses to the Chiefs and Raiders led to a dramatic shift in method in his second yr.

Look no additional than Staley’s unrecognizable clarification for his technique: discipline place.

“Just wanted to give our defense a chance to compete,” he stated. “I really loved the way we were playing. I felt like we were aggressive when we needed to be. We converted all four of our fourth downs. Just felt like with who’s over there and the way our defense was playing, I felt like the field position would be a big edge for our defense. To be able to pin them back there. And I like the way our defense competed tonight.”

Staley went for 34 of 108 fourth downs (31.5%, league excessive) final season and succeeded 64.7% of the time (fourth greatest). So listening to him communicate this manner was onerous to imagine.

The Chargers did convert a 4th and 1 Austin Ekeler run on the Chiefs’ 18 within the third quarter, resulting in a Mike Williams landing on the following play. So perhaps Staley will have the ability to discover a center floor fairly than abandoning his rules.

SHAMELESS BRETT

Newly launched textual content messages present that Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre could have been extra concerned than beforehand recognized in funneling tens of millions of federal welfare {dollars} to pay for a brand new volleyball facility on the University of Southern Mississippi, the place his daughter performed the game, a lawsuit alleges.

The messages present that former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant was conscious of the association and even guided Favre on tips on how to submit a funding proposal. The textual content messages don’t set up that Favre knew the funds had been welfare cash however clearly point out he was conscious of some impropriety.

“If you were to pay me is there anyway the media can find out where it came from and how much?” Favre allegedly texted Nancy New, the chief director of the schooling heart via which the funds had been funneled.

The cash was initially meant to assist low-income households within the poorest state within the nation. Favre denied any wrongdoing previously.

NFL ECSTATIC OVER OPENING WEEKEND

Pro sports activities leagues love parity. The NFL is not any completely different. The league had seven video games determined by a discipline aim or much less in Week 1, essentially the most on a kickoff weekend in NFL historical past. Five video games had been determined by a rating within the remaining two minutes or additional time — essentially the most in a Week 1 in 20 years. Eight groups received video games with quarterbacks beneath 27 years previous, the second most ever to open a season. And the NFL had greater than 121 million viewers, up 5% from final yr and one of the best opening weekend since 2016. The most watched recreation was the Cowboys-Bucs Sunday evening recreation, which drew 23.3 million. … The league says the “guardian caps” worn over helmets by gamers as much as the second preseason recreation had a constructive affect on limiting concussions. The NFL stated its common variety of 23 concussions in that interval decreased to 11 among the many place teams who had been required to put on the caps (O-line, D-line, tight ends and linebackers). And six of these 11 had been decided as brought on by blows to face masks, to not a participant’s helmet. More than 200 gamers continued sporting the caps after the mandated interval was over, as effectively.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: STEELERS LOSE WATT

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Week 1 upset of the Cincinnati Bengals was dampened in a giant approach by the lack of star move rusher T.J. Watt. A torn pectoral muscle has the reigning NFL defensive participant of the yr out for a minimum of six weeks, if no more. So it’s onerous to see the Steelers, with Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback, dethroning the Bengals within the AFC North even after beating them face to face within the opener. … Jets coach Robert Saleh can’t say what he stated on ESPN Radio, that the Jets had been “worse than an expansion team” when Joe Douglas arrived as GM. Even if it’s true, it fires too many pictures at folks each inside and out of doors Saleh’s constructing. The Jets’ major drawback, just like the Giants’ and different perennial losers of late, goes approach above any GM or head coach. But Saleh places a goal on his again when he talks that approach. And if the shedding spirals, it is going to assist flip him into the following scapegoat, whereas the actual drawback goes unaddressed. … Cooper Rush is quarterbacking the Dallas Cowboys in opposition to Joe Burrow’s reigning AFC Champion Bengals this Sunday with Dak Prescott injured and out a minimum of a number of weeks. It’s attainable the Giants could possibly be internet hosting an 0-2 Cowboys staff on Monday Night Football in Week 3.

THEY SAID IT

“He didn’t urinate down his leg, man. That’s a great place to begin.” — Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on rookie operating again Jaylen Warren’s NFL debut.

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