LAS VEGAS -- When handing out credit for the Kansas City Chiefs busting out of their offensive slump, don't overlook practice squad quarterback Shane Buechele. He approached Patrick Mahomes early in the week with a video he'd found on the internet, the contents being a kid talking with the message, "I've got my swagger back."
The message resonated with Mahomes, who had been mired in the first prolonged slump of his pro career. He resolved to play on Sunday night against the Las Vegas Raiders as if he had his swagger back.
"That was something that was kind of my motto this week," Mahomes said. "I think the whole team got that swag back. We're going to try to keep that thing rolling."
The Chiefs looked like the former version of themselves Sunday night in beating the Raiders 41-14 to go to 6-4 and take sole possession of first place in the AFC West for the first time this season.
Mahomes threw for 406 yards and five touchdowns, two to Tyreek Hill. The big play was back, as Mahomes connected on four passes of 25 or more yards to four different receivers.
Mahomes said it was just a matter of time before the Chiefs found their way again on offense.
"We've done it before," he said. "We've done it these last few seasons. We were doing it at the beginning of this season. We were moving the ball, we were making a lot of stuff happen."
Until they weren't. The Chiefs scored a total of 36 points in their three previous games, though they managed to win two.
Their point total on Sunday night was their highest since scoring 42 in a Week 5 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I knew we were going to click back into it," Mahomes said. "I've been saying that for weeks. We were going to find it."
That doesn't mean the Chiefs didn't go through some desperate times. Opponents were successful in mostly eliminating the big plays, and the Chiefs were struggling to maintain long, patient drives.
"It's hard, especially for me because I'm used to going 80 [yards] every play," Hill said. "Coach [Andy] Reid has got to keep me calm on the sideline. ... I'm used to going down the field, and now guys got me running 12-yard ins. That's not something I'm used to.
"We're all adjusting our games."
That was particularly true for Mahomes, whose game had been built around taking many shots down the field and hitting a large percentage.
"I feel like he has learned how to take what's given to him, like checkdowns, because teams are trying to take the deep shots away from us," Hill said.
He added he never worried about Mahomes making the necessary adjustments.
"He's a guy that never gets comfortable," Hill said. "He's always trying to get better. He's always trying to find ways to improve himself and the team. Without him, we don't go [anywhere]. He knows that."
Mahomes began his career as a starter in 2018 with one of the biggest quarterback seasons in NFL history. He became just the second quarterback to throw for 50 touchdowns and more than 5,000 yards in a single season.
While his numbers weren't quite as gaudy the previous two years, he still played well enough to lead the Chiefs to back-to-back Super Bowls, winning after the 2019 season.
That told Reid, video or not, that Mahomes would eventually get his swagger back.
"Pat lasted longer than any other quarterback in the history of the game without a slump," Reid said. "You knew he was going to get through the ups and downs just by the way he handles himself. That's what we were all watching for."