September 12, 2022, 2:57 pm
Final score: Chiefs 44, Cardinals 21 (Chiefs covered -6.5, O 54)
The protege bested the sensei in this one, as Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs cruised to a blowout win over Kliff Kingsbury’s Cardinals on the road. A largely unknown UDFA led the listless Cardinals in receiving, while a few of Mahomes’ new weapons made a middling first impression in their first regular season game without Tyreek Hill. The most-hyped Chiefs player this preseason led all rushers in rushing yards in this game, adding even more intrigue to the Kansas City backfield competition.
The former MVP made it look way too easy in picking apart his former college coach’s defense, as Patrick Mahomes (360-5-0 passing, 3-5-0 rushing) scored at will while not turning the ball over or taking a sack even once. There’s not much more to add other than the fact that it seems he’ll be just fine without Tyreek Hill, spreading the ball around to nine different pass-catchers. Mahomes should be started with confidence next week even in a divisional tilt against a really good Chargers secondary.
Incumbent starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire (7-42-0 rushing, 3-32-2) had a decent day thanks to two receiving scores, but didn’t command a bellcow workload because the game got out of hand quickly. Instead, it was rookie Isiah Pacheco (12-62-1) who shouldered the load in garbage time, allowing him to finish with a game-high dozen carries and a touchdown. The usage would be more telling if the game were more competitive for longer, but it was still good to see the Rutgers product shine when given the opportunity in his pro debut. Jerick McKinnon (4-22-0 rushing, 3-27-0 receiving) remains a low-floor PPR option in this backfield but is the clear preferred third-down back after leading the backs in passing routes (18) and targets (4). CEH should keep a solid floor moving forward, but Pacheco showed he can be dangerous given the opportunity especially against a solid run defense like Arizona’s.
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