OK, we saw what the kid can do.
Yes, Patrick Mahomes went out and won his first game as a starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs. He showed the big arm, a flair for the dramatic and no fear in throwing into a tight window.
He positioned the Chiefs into a 24-10 lead over Denver on Sunday and then was asked to return to clean up Tyler Bray’s mess as the Broncos came back to tie the game. Mahomes, fittingly, stormed the Chiefs down the field for a game-winning field goal on the final play to complete his fairytale debut.
But Chiefs fans need to settle down. Mahomes will not be starting on Saturday when they entertain the Tennessee Titans, with the winner most likely playing Tom Brady and the Patriots the following week.
Alex Smith is still the starting quarterback for this team. Whereas Mahomes did have many spectacular moments against the Broncos, remember this was nothing more than a glorified exhibition game that did count toward the Chiefs’ record.
Mahomes threw for nearly 300 yards despite operating without most of the weapons that Smith normally has at his disposal. And even though Von Miller played much of the game for Denver, the Broncos also sat a number of players.
Would I trust Mahomes as the starter on Saturday against the Titans? No way.
But Mahomes’ play is going to inspire Smith. As we all know, the Chiefs gave up the farm to move up and pick the former Texas Tech star and son of a longtime Major League Baseball pitcher. Smith knows his future with the Chiefs is tenuous at best, but he wants to give them many reasons that Kansas City should bring him back in 2018 at a price tag of id="mce_marker"7 million.
Smith is the cool and steady hand of the offense. While he did go off the rails a bit during the Chiefs’ staggering 1-6 debacle midway through the season, he wasn’t the main reason for the slide. It was that Kansas City couldn’t stop anybody or block anybody more than Smith being mediocre. It’s pretty tough to throw when you’re running for your life and you have no running game to take off the pressure.
But the Chiefs have done a good job of patching their holes. They have won four straight, three of those at the friendly Arrowhead Stadium confines. In those three wins Smith was tremendous, doing what he does best — managing the game and not turning the ball over.
No question Mahomes is the future of the Chiefs. His small sample size is proof, but he still has a lot of rough edges to smooth out. I don’t know how many throws he made where I covered my eyes as he threw into traffic, only to peep through and see that he completed the pass. He does exude confidence and seems to always be smiling, even after his early interception.
But the Chiefs are still in the present. And the present is Alex Smith as their quarterback.
Now if they lose at home to the Titans, who had to sneak into the playoffs on the final day, Smith will probably be updating his resume.