In the lead-up to the Super Bowl – and perhaps in the aftermath of it – I thought I would dust off this site a bit and dig into a few plays from this past season that I really liked from the Chiefs. Just a play or two popping up over the next couple days.
Let’s not dilly-dally. Here’s the first play:
The end result is something we’ve seen a lot: complete to Travis Kelce. But how do we get there? Ah buddy, that’s the fun part.
The Chiefs show a 6 man line with a single back and Kelce lined-up just off the line on the right. The Panthers have 4 linemen with their hands in the dirt, 2 LBs and a nice little umbrella in the secondary.
One of the safeties is dropping back pre-snap. With the CB at the top angled in, that signals that they’re likely in a Quarters shell.
Against that zone look, the Chiefs run the two outside receivers vertical, then bring two other receivers – Kelce and the running back – on crossers to flood the zone. The simplistic idea of a flood against zone is to send more men to one side of the field than the defense has zone defenders. Defenses are not always just straight man or straight zone, but that’s the general idea of a flood.
The Panthers are, indeed, in zone. The running back acts as the flat control, keeping the slot defender near the line of scrimmage and dragging him to the boundary.
With the rest of that side of the field pulled away by the vertical routes, it’s down to the linebackers in the middle. Patrick Mahomes needs to hold them in place long enough for Kelce to clear the middle.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, holding linebackers with his eyes is something Mahomes is pretty good at.
Mahomes stares straight down the middle. Once Kelce is close enough to clearing, Mahomes throws cross-body and puts it on-the-money to Kelce.
Yes, the ball is a little behind Kelce, but leading him down the field allows the slot defender a chance to fall back and also allows the deep boundary defender to make a play. Mahomes puts it in a spot where Kelce can make the catch and not get blown up. And he does this with a pass rusher screaming towards and while staring down the middle of the field.
Mahomes can do this because he is an alien.