How Patrick Mahomes is keeping his many hungry receivers fed

Saturday: Mahomes picked the Steelers apart (0:41)

Jeff Saturday reacts to Patrick Mahomes' six-touchdown performance against the Steelers and finding the right player in each situation. (0:41)

PITTSBURGH -- As long as they're getting big plays and scoring points, the Kansas City Chiefs don't care which of their players get the ball or how many times it happens.

They are aware that the offense will work better in the long run if quarterback Patrick Mahomes is spreading the ball around to as many of the Chiefs' receiving and running threats as possible.

Through two games, the Chiefs have 80 points, and Mahomes has 10 touchdown passes to seven receivers.

"You want to utilize everyone's talent that we have out there," said Mahomes, who threw six touchdown passes during Sunday's 42-37 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. "We try to get it in everyone's hands and let them make plays. It just makes the defense have to cover every single part of the field.

"It speaks to the weapons that we have an offense. They can't stop everybody, so for me it's just about getting it to the guy that has the man-to-man coverage or has the open area."

Kansas City is 2-0, but its games have been a contrast in one regard: who catches the ball. Against the Steelers, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill each had at least five catches and 90 yards. Kareem Hunt ran for 75 yards. Five pass-catchers had a touchdown catch, including Kelce with two. But Hill was the solo star in the season-opening win against the Los Angeles Chargers, with seven receptions for 169 yards and two touchdowns. He had a third TD on a 91-yard punt return. Only Hill and Watkins had more than one catch against the Chargers.

The Chiefs host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, and as in most weeks, they aren't sure who will get the ball.

"There's no telling," Mahomes said. "That's the thing. There will be games where teams will come in and try to take away one or two guys. That's the good thing about this team is that no one cares about who's getting the shine, I guess you would say ... we'll spread the ball around to whoever's open.

"There are always plays coach [Andy] Reid draws up every single week. I always say they always work. He literally gets up on the board and starts drawing plays. The possibilities, like I said, are endless. You have to go at every single team a different way. Every single team plays different coverages."

The Chiefs emphasize formations and plays they hope will give them favorable matchups each week. Against the Chargers, they threw downfield often and frequently tried jet sweep pop passes to take advantage of Hill's top-end speed. They ran a lot of empty backfield sets against Pittsburgh hoping to spring Kelce and Watkins free.

"Everything is predicated on matchups," offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said. "Our goal each and every week is to make sure we're getting everyone involved. But sometimes the flow of the game may take you in a different direction.

"If everybody is having success in one particular game, we're obviously doing something right. That gives us a big chance to be successful."

The Pittsburgh game is a better example of how the Chiefs want their offense to operate. The Steelers struggled to contain everything the Chiefs had going. Watkins was their main threat in the first half. Kelce, Hill and Hunt did much of their best work after that.

The Chiefs finished fifth in the league in scoring last season when they had Hill, Kelce and Hunt. They added Watkins as a free agent during the offseason to make their offense even more difficult to defend. But he had a quiet preseason and a quiet Week 1 against the Chargers. Then he came alive at Heinz Field with six catches for 100 yards plus a 31-yard run on an end-around.

"He got that ball in his hands and ... he's an explosive runner," Reid said. "It's like having a running back when he's got that ball. Big, strong, physical guy. I've got to make sure to do a better job of making sure I get it to him, keep him involved."

Watkins' slow start had some fans wondering whether the Chiefs made a bad investment. Before the game in Pittsburgh, he refused to go public with complaints or demands for the ball, things he had done under similar circumstances early in his career with the Buffalo Bills.

"I've been in these situations before where there's been the outside noise: 'Oh, he's not getting his catches,'" Watkins said. "At the end of the day, we're winning the games. I'm going to continue to work hard and let everything play out.

"Even myself, I have to do the same thing. Being in Buffalo, being the guy demanding the ball, wanting targets ... I've learned it's not all about me. It's about winning as a team. That's what it's about. I've grown to that [attitude]. At first I had a bad time with that, not getting the ball. I'd be out there in the media probably saying something crazy three or four years ago. I'm not doing that now."

No matter which player is getting the ball, the Chiefs are finding a way to make it work.

"That says a lot about coach Reid and what this organization has been able to bring together," Kelce said. "I think Sammy Watkins showed everybody some stuff and opened some eyes to show he's the real deal. He's going to be one heckuva weapon for us this year.

"It's based off what the defense is showing. Pat has great awareness, great feel in the pocket, and sure enough, he was throwing the ball all over the field. It was a day to exploit matchups, and today I guess I was open more than usual."