- Patrick Mahomes' best skill might be his ability to process information quickly.
- Former Chiefs backup quarterback Matt Moore told Sports Illustrated that Mahomes will look around the field after making a throw to see who else was open instead of watching the play.
- Moore also said Mahomes can see angles and windows on the field that nobody else sees until they review the game on film.
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Though Patrick Mahomes' huge arm, trick passes, and ability to find unique passing angles has wowed the football world, those who see him up-close say his best skill may be one that can't be taught: his ability to process information.
For all of Mahomes' physical gifts, his ability to read defenses, react, and seemingly never get overwhelmed by the chaos that is every single football play is unparalleled.
Former Chiefs backup quarterback Matt Moore told Sports Illustrated's Michael Rosenberg last year that when Mahomes makes a throw, he won't always watch the ball to see the play unfold. Instead, Mahomes will sometimes immediately look elsewhere on the field to see where else he could have thrown it.
"It's something I've never done," Moore said. "When the ball leaves my hand, I'm looking at the target and making sure we hit it. The ball will literally leave his hand, and he'll just find where the other guys are. His spatial awareness is off the charts. He knows where everybody is at, at all times - with every concept, with every coverage. It's really amazing."
Moore said when he would ask Mahomes about certain throws, Mahomes would explain angles and windows that weren't even apparent to Moore until after he watches the film.
"He'll have some totally valid reason that, after I watch the tape, I'm like, 'Oh, I see what he saw now,'" Moore told Rosenberg. "But I didn't see what he saw at the time. He'll tell you exactly what happened at full speed, instantly. It's awesome."
In the AFC Championship, Mahomes shredded the Buffalo Bills, who played a zone defense against the Chiefs. Mahomes' ability to find pockets of space left the Bills virtually no chance of stopping him.
—Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) January 25, 2021
Many of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history - Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, for recent examples - have been lauded for their ability to diagnose coverages and make tweaks at the line of scrimmage. Chiefs offensive line coach Andy Heck told Rosenberg that Mahomes isn't far off.
"There is so much that goes into [it] before the magic that everybody else sees. I don't think there are many people on the planet that can do that as well as he does."
In 46 games, Mahomes has already created a career's worth of highlight plays, but when he has to extend plays is when his genius is revealed.
In Week 15 of the 2019 season, Mahomes put on a clinic of manipulating space while going for a two-point conversion against the Broncos. Watch below, as Mahomes was forced to step up in the pocket, scramble out of it, avoid a defender, look behind him to see where the defender was, then juke Von Miller before getting rid of the ball.
It's difficult for many quarterbacks to center themselves again and see the field clearly when they're forced to leave the pocket. Mahomes didn't just do that - he looked behind him, away from the offense, to see where the defense was behind him. Meanwhile, Miller was moments away from hitting him.
Then, in a split second, Mahomes avoided Miller and got his eyes to the end zone. He fired the ball cleanly to Sammy Watkins just a beat before the next defender could get to him.
"Something will happen, and [fellow Chiefs backup quarterback Chad Henne] and I will look at each other and go 'Whoa!' And just laugh about it," Moore said.
Mahomes has already asserted himself as the most talented quarterback in the NFL, and he's only been a starter for three seasons. He'll get better at the little things, leading many to believe that he is only going to get better and continue dominating.