KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Patrick Mahomes' use of the no-look pass started innocently enough. He was fooling around with it in college at Texas Tech and eventually worked his way up to a competition with one of the backup quarterbacks.
Mahomes found out he was good at looking one way and getting the ball to a receiver in another direction. Suddenly the no-look pass became something more than just something to goof around with.
"I realized it was actually a tool I can use in games," he said.
It came in handy in the Kansas City Chiefs' 27-24 overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, when Mahomes looked to the middle of the field but threw to his left to wide receiver Demarcus Robinson for a 17-yard gain late in the second quarter.
No look, no problem for @PatrickMahomes5 😎 pic.twitter.com/DiWqR75lh9— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 9, 2018
The pass turned out to be a key play, as it moved the Chiefs to midfield with 1:30 left in the half, allowing them to eventually kick a field goal.
Mahomes wasn't showing off on the play. The no-look component was necessary. It got Baltimore safety Chuck Clark to pause just long enough for Robinson to get open.
"I was looking and I saw [Robinson] about to come open, and I needed to move the safety over to the right," Mahomes said. "I just kind of trusted [Robinson] was going to be there, and I put it out there and he made a great play on it."
Mahomes threw his first no-look pass in a game last year for the Chiefs against the Denver Broncos. He threw at least one earlier this season.
None have wound up in the hands of a defender.
"I haven't thrown an interception yet," Mahomes said. "Hopefully I won't. I tried to throw one earlier in the season, and I think one of the receivers -- it might have been Tyreek [Hill] -- stopped running because he was thinking I was going throw it back to the right. You just have to have that chemistry and know that he's going to keep running his route the same way."
Chiefs coach Andy Reid has seen a lot of passes during his long career, but even he marveled at Mahomes' accuracy on the no-look pass.
"It's one thing to do it in practice, and then you start throwing it in a game, and a game against the No. 1 defense in the National Football League, that's a little different." Andy Reid on Patrick Mahomes
"He's comfortable doing it," Reid said. "This is the NFL, and he's doing it. It's one thing to do it in practice, and then you start throwing it in a game, and a game against the No. 1 defense in the National Football League, that's a little different. You have to have tremendous confidence in what you're doing there.
"He's got a knack for that. He did a nice job with it. He actually froze [Clark] when you really look at it, and what effect it had on the defense. There was a guy right underneath the route. I would have liked to interview that guy right at that point. That's a tough bind. How do you go explain that to your coach when he's looking over here but he threw it over here? They're going to think you're crazy, right? But it worked."
The no-look pass, like some of the other unconventional throws Mahomes occasionally makes, can be a dangerous maneuver. Reid said he isn't going to stop Mahomes from doing it because the Chiefs would lose a lot of big plays if he did
"He's able to decipher the defense and kind of know where his guys are," Reid said. "You've got to put in the speed of the player and all those things. He's able to get that all spit and calculated out in his brain. He's got a knack for it.
"You heard this about Ted Williams, the baseball player, that he could read the stitches on the baseball. Certain guys have vision. They can see. [Mahomes] does have real good vision. ... I haven't seen a lot of guys do that. I was around [Brett] Favre, who did some amazing things that way and Donovan [McNabb] and those guys. But not quite like that."