Sat, 24 Oct 2020

QBs headline Chiefs-Patriots showdown in KC

Field Level Media
01 Oct 2020, 09:19 GMT+10

Patrick Mahomes does not have to check many more boxes in 2020.

A year most people would love to forget has become incredibly special off the field for the Kansas City Chiefs' quarterback.

He helped the Chiefs claim their first NFL title in 50 years and was named Super Bowl MVP between the white lines.

Then he got engaged, became part owner of the Kansas City Royals and just this week announced that he and his fiancee, Brittany Matthews, are expecting their first child.

With Mahomes, you never quite know what's next as he and the Chiefs (3-0) prepare for a home game Sunday against the New England Patriots (2-1).

He's coming off another dazzling performance Monday night when Kansas City toppled Baltimore in a matchup of the top-seeded teams from last season's AFC playoffs. Mahomes passed for 385 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for another TD in a 34-20 win.

"I truly believe it's how we run training camp,'' Mahomes said. "I mean, Coach (Andy) Reid puts us in these situations that are very game-like, they're very similar to the situation that we're really presented in the game, and we're prepared for it.''

Mahomes has nine touchdowns, no interceptions and leads the NFL with a 91.8 quarterback rating.

Reid continues to tap a vast playbook. Mahomes happened to spot a couple of unlikely targets, fullback Anthony Sherman and tackle Eric Fisher, for touchdowns at Baltimore.

"Whenever we say that we work on something a lot, with Coach Reid's playbook that means we practice something three or four times,'' Fisher cracked.

Fisher's primary responsibilities include protection for Mahomes, who has been sacked just twice despite a variety of blitzes used by opponents.

"We call it a flavor of the week; (opponents are) going to tweak it every week a little differently,'' said Fisher, a former first-round draft pick. "We'll see something different than what's been on film this week.''

Coming off their Monday night road game, the Chiefs have less time to prepare for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. A solid secondary must provide the kind of coverage that can help New England's pass rushers pressure Mahomes.

Belichick worries about the mobility Mahomes brings and his ability to escape, extend plays downfield and dial up long strikes to the likes of speedy wide receiver Tyreek Hill, dependable tight end Travis Kelce or versatile rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

"The skill players are hard to tackle, they're good guys with the ball in their hands, they can also get down the field and good route runners,'' Belichick said. "You force the ball out quick, you don't have to cover as long, but you don't have much help. So, it's just a tradeoff there.''

Cam Newton is off to an impressive start in his first season with the Patriots. He can stoke the hype machine with a win at Kansas City and solidify his stature as Tom Brady's replacement.

The former NFL MVP has completed two-thirds of his passes (62 of 91) for 714 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions, while adding four rushing TDs.

He's a force in the open field and now healthy after a foot injury put him on the sideline in Carolina last season. The Chiefs are likely to use a similar approach to the one defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo used to slow Lamar Jackson last week. Newton passed Randall Cunningham last week for the second-most career rushing yards by a QB all-time, behind only Michael Vick.

Newton will face an ailing Chiefs defense. Rookie cornerback L'Jarius Sneed is out after breaking his collarbone at Baltimore. Cornerback Bashaud Breeland is completing a four-game suspension. Also, tackle Chris Jones (groin) and end Alex Okafor (hamstring) were limited Wednesday at practice. Offensive guard Andrew Wylie is back after missing the Ravens game with a stomach illness.

Reserve safety Cody Davis (rib) did not participate at the Patriots' Wednesday practice, while defensive tackle Adam Butler (shoulder), wide receiver Julian Edelman (knee), running back Sony Michel (quad) and tackle Isiah Wynn (calf) were limited.

--Field Level Media

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