When the Kansas City Chiefs traded receiver Tyreek Hill earlier this season, the overwhelming national sentiment was that quarterback Patrick Mahomes would step back statistically.
Instead the opposite happened. Although Hill was very successful with the Miami Dolphins, Mahomes’ numbers actually increased betterputting him on an offensive pace that should lead to him earning the NFL MVP award in early February.
So how did Mahomes do it? Start with this: He doubled up to pitch to future tight end Travis Kelce. In fact, Kelce trimmed Mahomes’ 25.3% completions in 2022, a total that slightly surpassed Hill’s 24.8% share in 2021.
*Cakes include passes thrown by Patrick Mahomes only. Graphics by Neil Nakahodo, David Newcomb, Gabby McCall and Sohail Al-Jamea.
Mahomes created bigger shows this year with a new host group. His raw stats have also seen an increase as he has increased his passing yards, QB rating and touchdown passes after playing in 17 regular season games in both 2021 and 2022.
And while Hill’s direction hasn’t been replaced by a large exterior, two additions have been completed to supply much of his missing output.
Free agent signings JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling flourished after joining Mahomes in KC, and their overall efficiency per reception was slightly better than what the Chiefs received from Hill in 2021.
Adding it all up, the Chiefs once again boasted of the best offense in the NFL, aided by the magic of Mahomes and the ingenuity of head coach Andy Reid.
It may not have been predicted before the season. But Mahomes and a new cast of characters have proven they can thrive in the 2022 season, even without the Cheetah’s push.