Mahomes wants to give Gray more chances after critical overtime catch

By Sports Desk November 07, 2022

Patrick Mahomes' extraordinary success with the Kansas City Chiefs has largely been built on his incredible rapport with tight end Travis Kelce.

On Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, it was his connection with an unheralded tight end that proved to critical for Mahomes and Kansas City.

The Chiefs fought back from a 17-9 deficit to see off the Titans 20-17 in overtime and move to 6-2.

Mahomes produced magic with his legs to help the Chiefs tie the game, a 20-yard rush on third-and-17 keeping alive a scoring drive he capped with a 14-yard touchdown run. He then added the two-point conversion on another scramble.

His 68 passes were just two shy of the all-time single-game record. Mahomes completed 43 passes, again two short of the league record, with the gap between his tally and that of Titans rookie Malik Willis (five) representing the largest between two starting quarterbacks in a game.

No completion was more important than Mahomes' 27-yard connection with tight end Noah Gray on third-and-1 from the Tennessee 49-yard line.

Under pressure from Demarcus Walker, Mahomes rolled to his right before deftly evading the defensive lineman and stepping up to fire downfield to Gray, who had uncovered from the coverage of Roger McCreary. Gray leapt to make a juggling catch over the head of McCreary, putting Kansas City on the edge of the red zone.

Though the Chiefs could not clinch the game with a touchdown, Harrison Butker converted a 28-yard field goal and the defense stopped Willis and the Titans in four plays on the subsequent series to wrap it up.

"It's funny," Mahomes said. "I think I said it in training camp: I feel like I don't target Noah enough because a lot of times plays are called either to him or he's one of the options I can give him a chance on. And it seems like I don't throw it to him.

"He's always open — and so as the season's going on and as our careers go on I want to give him more and more chances, because I think he can be a big part of this offense. 

"That whole tight end room has been great for us this season. But for [Gray] to make that catch in that moment? I mean, that was a tough catch that he made; that was a big one for us. That was probably the reason that we were able to get down there and win."

Asked about his third-down run that set the comeback in motion, Mahomes replied: "I definitely saw a lane to get it close enough that I thought we'd be able to go for it [on fourth down].

"When you're in that situation, you know that if you can get it to a fourth-and-5, fourth-and-4, coach Reid's probably going to give you a chance there.

"And then as I was running, I felt the – I think it was the safety — kind of overpursuing so I kind of shot my shot and went out there. I actually tried to get outside again which didn’t work out for me; I’m not fast enough.

"But it was a good play and like I said we just battled at the end of the day. It wasn't like we were designing it up we were just going out there and trying to make some stuff happen."

Mahomes is the NFL king of making stuff happen, and his primetime heroics in Week 9 moved the Chiefs level with the 6-2 Buffalo Bills at the top of the AFC. The Chiefs are in prime position to make another run at a Super Bowl title.

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