NFL Week 1 takeaways: Chiefs look just fine without Tyreek Hill

NFL Week 1, Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers - Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images
NFL Week 1, Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers - Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images /
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NFL Week 1, Kansas City Chiefs
NFL Week 1, Kansas City Chiefs, Travis Kelce /

NFL Week 1 takeaways: No Tyreek Hill for the Chiefs, no problem

Watching the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, you wouldn’t realize that this team lost Tyreek Hill in the offseason. Patrick Mahomes looked like he had been playing with his new set of weapons for multiple years. The chemistry and timing were on point. Something to take note of is the fact that Kansas City was one of the few teams that played their starters for a substantial time during the preseason, and that has paid off tremendously.

Once again, it’s been week one, but the fact that Mahomes completed 30 of 39 passes for 360 yards and five touchdowns. These are numbers many people doubted him replicating without Hill on the field. Mahomes looked the best he has in a couple of seasons. We did not see him throw any interception-worthy passes and lock onto one weapon.

With Hill gone, there is pressure released from Mahomes’ shoulder to feed an alpha receiver a certain number of targets. The 26-year-old quarterback spread the ball around, hitting nine different targets. This offense looked much more comfortable taking what the defense was giving them in the intermediate areas of the field. Big targets like Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling have made it easier for Mahomes to throw, giving him a lot of room for error, even though he was incredibly accurate on Sunday.

Here is a stat to consider when looking at how this offense will be constructed in 2022 – The Chiefs had 33 first downs on 66 plays. This offense is going to be the most efficient offense the Chiefs have had with Mahomes under center.

Mahomes also seemed to trust his offensive line. Last season, we saw Mahomes drift in the pocket, and escape the pocket despite protection being sound. This led to pressure that would have not been there if Mahomes had stayed in the pocket. On Sunday, we saw Mahomes be selective when escaping the pocket.

The protection was excellent, and the Chiefs also used the offensive line to their advantage in the rushing attack. Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran the ball seven times for 42 yards, while Isiah Pacheco ran 12 times for 62 yards and one touchdown. The offensive line created spacious running lanes that the running backs did a great job of utilizing.

The Chiefs may not have as many highlight-reel plays, but that is not championship-winning football. Winning football is putting your will on games by conducting long, sustained drives that give balance to the entire team.