Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was not happy after the team’s final play of the first half — and he admitted as much following the Chiefs’ 20-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“I mean, at the end of the day, I wanted to go try to score. That’s just who I am,” Mahomes said. “We were in a tough situation. It was like second- or third-and-20, something like that. Probably the smart decision was just — we got the ball at half — let’s just go to halftime. But I’m always gonna be wanting to score.”
Let’s reset: Leading 14-10, the Chiefs faced second-and-20 on their 36-yard line with 20 seconds left in the second quarter. They had no timeouts left. Instead of trying a pass, Mahomes handed the ball off to Jerick McKinnon up the middle for a six-yard gain. The Chiefs chose to not run another play after that.
That’s when the CBS cameras picked up Mahomes’ frustration. He walked toward offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy on the sideline, becoming animated with both words and gestures. A few seconds later, coach Andy Reid came over to softly grab Mahomes’ arm, leading him away from Bieniemy.
After the game, Mahomes said his frustration was specifically with the run call that ended the half.
“I tried to go deep the first two times (that set of downs), and obviously, they were in a deep coverage. All I said was, ‘I’m not going to turn it over. I’ll get it out, try to get to the sideline, get us a chance to kick a field goal,’” Mahomes said. “But, I mean, it’s a tough situation.”
Reid, when asked about the events afterward, downplayed their severity. He said the words between Mahomes and Bieniemy looked worse on video than they were in reality, saying it “wasn’t a confrontation at all. That’s not what it was.”
“He wanted to go for it. Not a Hail Mary. Something else we have. But I thought it was best not to do it,” Reid said of Mahomes. “So he was just ... he’s a competitive kid. He wants to take advantage of every opportunity. I thought it was best just to let that ride there.”
The missed opportunity was one of many for a Chiefs team that had to feel like it gave away a win Sunday.
Kansas City was awful on special teams — with a muffed punt, missed field goal, missed extra point and an unsuccessful fake field-goal try — and gave the Colts extra life on their game-winning drive thanks to an unsportsmanlike penalty on Chris Jones following a third-down stop.
Because of the result, fans will likely dissect the end of the first half, too. Mahomes, on his two previous plays before the run, had been able to wiggle free from pressure before delivering deep shots down the field. One went incomplete to Justin Watson (and included a holding penalty on the Chiefs anyway); the next went incomplete to JuJu Smith-Schuster, though Mahomes was tripped by Colts defender Yannick Ngakoue just as he delivered the ball.
Mahomes said wanting the coaches to trust him was part of the pre-halftime conversation he had with Bieniemy.
“I pretty much just said, ‘Let me have a chance at it.’ And then he was just like, ‘Let’s get back in our locker room, and we’ll get some going for the next half,’” Mahomes said. “I don’t know if that’s an altercation, but that was the end of the conversation.”
In the end, Mahomes said he isn’t going to back off who he is as a person or player.
“Me, I’m on the field. I’m playing. I want to always try to go score. That’s who I am,” Mahomes said. “But that’s their (coaches’) job is to make sure they manage the game the right way.
“We had multiple chances to win after that. We’ve just got to be better in the second half.”