Earlier this week, I compared Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to John Wick because, well, he’s the John freaking Wick of football.
Considering the way Mahomes throws so many absurd passes with accuracy and heat from different arm angles, it’s hard not to picture Wick taking out 20 bad guys at once with a gun (or a pencil) and somehow never getting hit. Mahomes is so much fun to watch, and when you consider Kansas City’s miserable history of playoff failure — and the hope Mahomes gives fans that those days are over — it’s hard not to see Mahomes, like Wick, as “Baba Yaga,” or the guy you send to get the boogeyman.
Of course, January still looms, and the Chiefs could still lose in the playoffs. The way Mahomes seems to be losing all his weapons to injury or otherwise (Kareem Hunt, Sammy Watkins, Tyreek Hill) is reason to be uneasy. But here’s the thing: the best young quarterback in the NFL lives in Kansas City, and he’s only 23. Even if winning big doesn’t happen for the Chiefs this season, it’s hard to imagine it won’t down the road, thanks to Mahomes’ prodigious talent.
And speaking of the latter, that leads us to the first topic on this week’s edition of Things I Enjoyed, which is …
1. The outrageousness of Patrick Mahomes
I know everybody was going crazy over Mahomes’ no-look pass against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. But if you live in Kansas City (as I do), you’ll know he has made a bunch of similar, outrageous throws during the 14 games he has started for the Chiefs.
So because these things seemed to be missed, I compiled a list of seven ridiculous Mahomes throws you may have missed. Check out the video atop the page, and enjoy.
2. How the Bears limited Aaron Donald
As a man who enjoys football, I check in on the Los Angeles Rams weekly to see Aaron Donald’s latest feat. I never fail to do so because his dominance — as a 6-foot-1, 280-pound defensive tackle – is astonishing.
You don’t see Donald have stat lines as bare as the one he had Sunday against the Chicago Bears — two tackles, one quarterback hit, zero sacks — very often. That’s not to say he didn’t play well; he did. He’s Aaron Donald, after all. But he wasn’t the game-wrecking force he typically is Sunday, and a big reason for that has to go to the Bears.
Give credit to rookie second-round left guard James Daniels, whose quick first step helped neutralize Donald’s explosive get-off at times. Donald is so good at beating the guard’s outside shoulder, but Daniels was quick enough to prevent that and even hook Donald’s outside shoulder on outside running plays, which is a rarity. Daniels also had occasional help from the center, who prevented Donald from countering to the inside, or a running back, who was ready to chip.
You can see all that in the clip below, which also ends with Donald (99) being disruptive because he is Aaron Donald, after all:
3. Amari Cooper bringing the deep ball back to Dallas
One of the best things about the Amari Cooper trade is the way his presence has given quarterback Dak Prescott the green light to chuck it downfield more. Prescott’s deep-ball accuracy is fairly spotty, but Cooper’s advanced route-running creates more space between him and the defender than most receivers, which expands Prescott’s strike zone and gives him more confidence going up top.
Here are some examples from the Cowboys’ win Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles:
The Cowboys’ offense was in desperate need of dynamism before the arrival of Cooper, whom they quickly made their No. 1 target. The fact Cooper, who caught 10 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday, is playing like one is a big reason the Cowboys are 5-1 since his arrival and 8-5 overall.
4. Jared Cook’s killer career season
Let’s take a minute to ponder Jared Cook, who has been the lone bright spot for the Oakland Raiders this season. This is a good time to do it since the Raiders are coming off an upset win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
With three games left in the season, Cook has already notched career-highs in catches (61), yards (825) and touchdowns (six). The 32-year-old tight end has always been athletic, but this year, he has put it all together to become quarterback Derek Carr’s security blanket, even though defenses know the ball is coming his way:
On Sunday against the Steelers, Cook caught seven passes for 116 yards. He is going to be a free agent in March and coach Jon Gruden has said he considers Cook to be the team’s MVP and wants him back. Considering Gruden has all the personnel power in Oakland now, that seems to be a lock. The question is whether Gruden can put enough around him soon enough to justify a massive deal.
5. Tennessee exposing Jacksonville’s ‘vaunted’ defense
At 6-3 and 247 pounds, Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry is a big man who runs really well (4.54 40-yard dash) for his size. He is a powerful runner with a little bit of make-you-miss, a really bad combination when a defense isn’t playing well.
That’s how you get what Henry did last Thursday, when he embarrassed the Jacksonville Jaguars by rushing 17 times for 238 yards and four touchdowns. The Jaguars have been a massive disappointment this season, as one of the league’s best defenses has completely come apart. Never was this more evident than this past week, when they repeatedly failed to wrap up Henry in one of the worst 60-minute tackling displays you’ll ever see:
At 4-9, the 2018 Jaguars — who reached the AFC championship game a year ago — will go down in history as one of the most disappointing teams in years. Granted, quarterback Blake Bortles isn’t good. But for much of the year, one of the league’s most talented defenses played like something much worse, and when you bill yourself as a defense-first team, that’s how you end up headed for a top-10 draft pick.
THINGS I ENJOYED ARCHIVE
WEEK 13: Here’s what Seahawks have to do if they want Russell Wilson to keep rolling
WEEK 12: Bills QB Josh Allen is changing some skeptical minds
WEEK 11: Ravens’ Lamar Jackson and Chiefs-Rams gave us glorious forecast of the future
WEEK 10: This is why Rams’ Todd Gurley is mentioned in MVP talk
WEEK 9: Here’s how Dez Bryant can make Saints scarier
WEEK 8: How Golden Tate, 3 others dealt at NFL trade deadline can impact their teams
WEEK 7: These Amari Cooper plays can help Dak Prescott, Cowboys soar
WEEK 6: Flying to the football, Steelers’ nasty blocking & Matt Nagy channeling Andy Reid
WEEK 5: A Tale of two Cams (Newton and Erving)
WEEK 4: The juice of Patriots RB Sony Michel and lineman who slowed down Von Miller
WEEK 3: Mahomes magic and Lane Johnson’s acting chops
WEEK 2: Dallas’ deep ball, and the ridiculousness of Mahomes and Saquon
WEEK 1: Andy Reid’s goal-line circus and more
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