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MVP-level Patrick Mahomes driving Chiefs’ Super mission

Jan 1, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) against the Denver Broncos during a game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo knows Super Bowl chemistry when he sees it.

Spagnuolo’s Chiefs defense had 55.0 sacks in 2022 but flies under the radar alongside the three-tent show led by MVP frontrunner Patrick Mahomes and fellow All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce.

Spagnuolo has the challenge of slowing down the Jacksonville Jaguars this week, a break from the practice prep and trying to contain Mahomes.

“What always amazes me about our whole offensive group is how well they know each other,” Spagnuolo said. “Travis knows exactly, exactly what Patrick is going to do when he scrambles to his right or his left. Obviously Travis is the one that’s been with him the most. But even Jerick (McKinnon), it just feels like he knows what Patrick is going to do.

“Patrick’s a typical elite player — he makes the other 10 guys around him better. You see that all the time in practice.”

The Chiefs led the NFL in scoring at 29.2 points per game and ranked first in total offense (413.6), passing yards (297.8) and first downs (24 per game).

Mahomes was named first-team All-Pro at quarterback by the same panel that will submit votes for 2022 Most Valuable Player. Mahomes received 49 of 50 votes for All-Pro quarterback.

He had four TD passes in the regular-season matchup with the Jaguars, and the Chiefs converted seven of their 10 third-down opportunities.

But offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said Mahomes and the offense have an understanding of why every moment matters, part of keeping the team’s focus forward.

“We fear absolutely nothing. It’s all about embracing the challenge,” Beiniemy said. “At the end of the day, it’s not about what they do. It’s about what we do in going out to execute our plan.”

Spagnuolo said Mahomes’ approach — constantly seeking to learn and evolve — drives him and other coaches on the Chiefs’ staff to do the same.

Quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy said there’s a different look about Mahomes this week as the playoffs begin.

“The focus he has I think is special. For him to be able to reset helps that mindset, where he’s at mentally. He’s just so locked in right now and it really has not changed since OTAs, training camp. He is very, very focused on the opponent and our system, doing what he does best,” said Nagy. “That’s one of his greatest strengths that we don’t talk about enough.”

Nagy said his focus with Mahomes is knowing the difference between “reckless and ruthless.”

–Field Level Media

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