NFL

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.

Related items

  • Edge rusher Hendrickson reportedly requests trade from Bengals Edge rusher Hendrickson reportedly requests trade from Bengals

    A day before the NFL draft, one of the league's best edge rushers has requested a trade.

    Three-time Pro Bowler Trey Hendrickson has asked to be traded from the Cincinnati Bengals on Wednesday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

    Hendrickson, who is set to make $14.8million this season and $15.8million in 2025, is reportedly seeking a long-term deal - something that hasn't been worked out with the Bengals.

    His request to be traded comes at an intriguing time with the draft set for Thursday, as another team could be looking to make a deal with Cincinnati for the established pass rusher.

    The 29-year-old is coming off a career year, registering a personal-high 17 1/2 sacks to tie with Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen for the second most in the league.

    Hendrickson's 16 tackles for loss were tied for 10th in 2023, and his 53 sacks since the start of the 2020 season rank third behind T.J. Watt (62) and Myles Garrett (58).

    A third-round pick by the New Orleans Saints in 2017, Hendrickson signed with the Bengals in 2021, and has been named a Pro Bowler in each of his three seasons in Cincinnati.

     

    Hendrickson's request for a trade comes a little more than a month after wide receiver Tee Higgins asked to be traded.

    Higgins, who had the franchise tag placed on him by the Bengals on February 26, did say earlier this month, however, that he intends to play for Cincinnati in 2024.

    Fellow Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase had the fifth-year option on his rookie contract picked up on Wednesday.

    Chase, the 2021 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, has 268 receptions for 3,717 yards and 29 touchdowns in his first three seasons - the team leader in each category since 2021.

  • Detroit Lions WR St. Brown gets $120M extension Detroit Lions WR St. Brown gets $120M extension

    The Detroit Lions have locked up one of their most important players for the foreseeable future by agreeing to a reported four-year, $120 million extension with wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown.

    St. Brown, who was entering the final season of his rookie contract, confirmed the news Wednesday with a video message on his Instagram account.

    "I can't wait. I'm here, four more years!," St. Brown announced. 

    One of the NFL's most productive receivers since entering the league as a fourth-round draft pick of the Lions in 2021, St. Brown will now be among the highest-paid players at his position. NFL.com reports the contract, which runs through 2028, includes $77 million in guaranteed money for the largest sum ever for a wide receiver.

    The deal's $30 million average annual value is tied for the highest among wide receivers, matching the four-year, $120 million extension Tyreek Hill received from the Miami Dolphins in 2022. 

    St. Brown earned first team All-Pro honours with a brilliant 2023 campaign in which he finished in the NFL's top three in receptions (119) and receiving yards (1,515) and recorded a career-high 10 touchdown catches in 16 games.

    The 24-year-old added 22 catches for 274 yards and a touchdown in three post-season games to help the NFC North champion Lions advance to the conference title game for the first time since 1991.

    St. Brown's 315 career receptions are the third-most by any player in NFL history through his first three seasons, eclipsed only by Minnesota Vikings star Justin Jefferson's 324 from 2020-22 and Michael Thomas' 321 with the New Orleans Saints from 2016-18. 

    The two-time Pro Bowler is also one of just three receivers in league history with 90 or more catches through his first three seasons, joining Thomas and Odell Beckham Jr. (2014-16).

     

  • Broncos reportedly trade for Jets QB Wilson Broncos reportedly trade for Jets QB Wilson

    Zach Wilson has a chance to restart his career in a new setting after the Denver Broncos reportedly traded for the former starting quarterback from the New York Jets on Monday, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

    The Broncos are also acquiring a seventh-round pick in this year's NFL draft, and the Jets will receive a sixth-rounder.

    New York will also pay part of Wilson's $5.5million salary next season.

    Wilson arrives in Denver after never living up to expectations with the Jets after the franchise selected him second overall in the 2021 draft.

     

    He went 3-10 as a rookie in 2021, and things didn't improve in 2022, leading to his benching.

    The Jets had seen enough and decided to move on from Wilson, trading for Aaron Rodgers prior to the 2023 season. Wilson, though, got another chance to start after Rodgers tore his Achilles on his first drive with New York in the season opener.

    He was unable to take advantage of that opportunity, however, throwing for eight touchdowns and seven interceptions in 12 games in 2023. His 77.2 passer rating ranked 30th out of 32 qualifying QBs last season.

    In 34 career games, he has completed 57.0 per cent of his passes for 6,293 yards with 23 TDs and 25 picks.

    Among the 30 quarterbacks with a minimum of 700 pass attempts since 2021, Wilson ranks last in completion percentage and QB rating (73.2), and 29th in both touchdown passes and yards per attempt (6.34).

    In Denver, he'll likely get a chance to compete for the starting QB job after the Broncos released Russell Wilson in early March.

    The only other quarterbacks on Denver's roster are Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci, but the team could also decide to select one in Thursday's draft.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.