KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes to Tyreek Hill that traveled 69 yards in the air in last week's preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons is still the buzz in Kansas City. Asked how many times he's watched the throw on video since the play happened on Friday night, Mahomes said, "Not as much as I think everyone else has."
The throw was impressive. Only four times in the regular season since 2001 has a throw that traveled 60 or more yards been completed, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Perhaps surprisingly, the Kansas City Chiefs were more excited about another Mahomes' throw made Friday night. It was a perfectly placed and timed 14-yard out route to tight end Travis Kelce on a third-and-11 that allowed the Chiefs to continue a drive.
"I know he can sling the heck out of it down the field [but] he had a couple of nice touch throws there that are probably going to get overlooked," coach Andy Reid said. "It showed his accuracy and ability to make the ones that people might consider a little tougher.
"He's going to make some [big throws]. He's got a big arm and a good way of doing that. He's done it his whole career in college. The long ones will come. But those intermediate throws ... that's important, the possession throws that kind of keep the chains moving are as important or more so than even the big ones."
The Chiefs preseason with Mahomes at the helm got off to a sluggish start two weeks ago against Houston but came alive against the Falcons. Mahomes threw an interception but was 8-of-12 for 138 yards. He lost a touchdown pass when the Chiefs were penalized for an illegal formation and another when wide receiver Sammy Watkins failed to come back to a throw when he was open in the end zone.
Everything considered, the way the Chiefs played offensively is much closer to what they believe they're capable of. That includes all of Mahomes' throws, the ones that move the chains and the one that displayed his big arm.
His long touchdown pass put him in good company with other big-armed passers. The quarterbacks who completed a pass that traveled at least 60 yards in the air in the regular season since 2001 are Aaron Rodgers, who has done it twice, Ben Roethlisberger and Donovan McNabb.
"I don't think I've ever thrown one that far in a game," Mahomes said. "I don't know many people that would be able to catch that ball going that far in a game. I told [Hill] if I had thrown a spiral he wouldn't have been able to get to it. He disagreed with that."
Hill is one of the fastest players in the NFL and his speed was an overlooked factor in the play. The Falcons had three players deep to defend the pass but none could keep up.
"I just saw [Hill] even with them," Mahomes said. "Every time he's even it seems like he's by him, so I just threw it up there for him."
Hill caught the pass in stride at the Atlanta 6.
"One thing [Hill] can do is track the ball," Reid said. "He'd probably be a great center fielder. He has a knack for being able to locate it and then go get it."
Mahomes' big arm won't be a surprise to future Chiefs' opponent. But supposing he can make such a play is different than seeing him do it, and that's just another aspect of his game that should make the Chiefs even more difficult to defend.
"That's the cool thing with him," offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz said. "Nothing is impossible. I mean, the ball fluttered and still went 65 or 70 yards in the air. That beyond-deep threat is always available with him.
"You just don't expect to see that in a game. You can see it in practice, where a guy can run 5 yards, crow hop, and chuck it. ... You don't usually get to see a guy fully uncork it in a game situation. That touchdown pass was pretty fun to see and it's good to put on tape. Defenses have to know with Tyreek Hill's speed and [Mahomes'] arm, you may have to guard 70 yards deep instead of 50. That can be a good thing for our offense."