Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes explains fourth-quarter interception vs. Chargers

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Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes explains fourth-quarter interception vs. Chargers
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Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes threw an uncharacteristic interception late in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.

The Chiefs were facing a third-and-8 with just under two minutes to play. Mahomes abandoned the pocket rolling to his right and put the ball up with a hope to get it to Travis Kelce, but instead, it fell right in the lap of Chargers safety Alohi Gillman.

Some felt that the swirling wind in the stadium might have carried the ball further than Mahomes intended, but he owned up to the mistake after the game. He simply expected Kelce to be somewhere he wasn’t once the play broke down and threw the ball in anticipation of something else.

“No, it was just a misconnection,” Mahomes explained. “He rolled out and I thought he was about to roll kind of towards the sideline and I was going to throw it up with him. He’s usually pretty good about jumping up and catching those. Right when I threw it, he kind of cut back and it’s one of those things where I probably shouldn’t throw it especially in that situation. There have been many times where we’ve made that work and made a big play on it.”

Part of what has made Mahomes so special early in his career has been his ability to improvise and make plays off schedule. Kelce has also been one of the main benefactors of Mahomes’ improvisation. One of the reasons they’re so good on those plays is because they actively prepare for what they’ll do when plays don’t go according to plan.

“Yeah, that’s what it was. If you look, he kind of rolls to the right and he saw me — we actually talked about it — he saw me reset,” Mahomes explained. “Usually, when I reset, he cuts back and I usually find him. That’s where you saw the touchdown in Baltimore last week. But at the exact time I was releasing it, he kind of went with the reset. It happens. Obviously, we want to take care of the football in that situation, but we’ve made a lot of big plays happen in my career on that. So I’ll never lose that part of me.”

The Chiefs don’t want Mahomes to lose that part of him either. After two costly late-game interceptions by Mahomes in the past two games, the coaching staff is placing a renewed emphasis on his decision-making, both in those moments of improvisation and in general.

“Well, you always want to make sure that we’re doing a great job protecting the football,” Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy said on Monday. “Especially in those critical moments of the game. So, one thing we do know, we want to be smart. On top of that, making decisive decisions that are not going to put us in a situation where it becomes detrimental. When it’s all said and done with, we can take care of the ball better, a lot better. If we’re taking care of the ball better we’re giving ourselves a chance to win.”

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