KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It is already being called “The Pass” in Kansas City.
It happened early in the Chiefs’ game against the Atlanta Falcons, when Patrick Mahomes II dropped back to throw. The pocket began to collapse around him, so Mahomes took a couple jitterbug steps forward and let loose with a 69-yard heave that Tyreek Hill caught nearly in stride for a touchdown.
The ball traveled almost the entire distance in the air.
Immediately, the pass began trending on social media. Four days later, it was still being discussed on local sports talk radio. It had turned into memes blazing trails across the internet.
Just imagine if it had happened in a game that counts!
Patrick Mahomes' pass to Tyreek Hill went 68.6 yards *in the air.*
No TD in all of 2017 went that far in the air. Holy moly.
— Tom Martin (@TomKCTV5) August 18, 2018
IF YOU DIDNT BELIEVE IN PATRICK MAHOMES FROM THE START DONT TALK TO ME https://t.co/Wcu3CnnMfa
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger_sherman) August 18, 2018
That Patrick Mahomes 💣 tho pic.twitter.com/eG2NF8eNbK
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) August 21, 2018
“I underthrew it, to be honest,” Mahomes said with a wry smile. “Tyreek outran it. If you have guys like that, that much speed, you just try to get them the ball and make plays.”
Yet there are few quarterbacks in the NFL capable of making that particular play.
It takes the kind of arm strength few possess, and the kind of vision to spot a streaking wide receiver 50-odd yards downfield. It takes the confidence to step up in a pocket rapidly filling with big, bruising bodies, and the discipline to deliver the pass while taking a hit.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid was asked Tuesday whether he could remember any similar throws, and only two came to mind. The first involved then-Packers quarterback Brett Favre, with whom Mahomes has drawn plenty of comparisons, and a long touchdown toss to Sterling Sharpe against Detroit. The second involved the Eagles’ Donovan McNabb, who hit DeSean Jackson in a Monday night game against Dallas.
Maybe that one came to mind because Jackson dropped the ball in celebration before crossing the goal line, nullifying the touchdown. Then again, maybe it was the sheer audacity of the throw.
“Not everyone,” Reid said, “can do the long ones.”