The Kansas City Chiefs have pulled off a lot of surprising plays in the past few years, but one particular goal-line call against the Baltimore Ravens Monday stood out. With the Chiefs up 6-3 (following an early rushing touchdown from quarterback Patrick Mahomes) and facing third and goal just inside the five, fullback Anthony Sherman checked into the game. And he promptly picked up a touchdown off an underhand pass from Mahomes:
What a playcall and execution by the Chiefs. pic.twitter.com/zNa9F6cIGt
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) September 29, 2020
That’s an impressive play, and one where the defense has to defend a lot of options. Kansas City started with three receivers out wide to the right, with one (Tyreek Hill) then motioning into the backfield. They then had tight end Travis Kelce head directly into the end zone, one of those right receivers (Sammy Watkins) cut across, the other one (Demarcus Robinson) go straight, and then had Sherman make it look like he was blocking but actually separate for an underneath pass.
The Ravens did a decent job of covering most of those downfield receivers and watching Hill out of the backfield, and they even got some pressure on Mahomes. But Sherman wound up with space, and Mahomes found him. And that’s maybe a good illustration of the element of surprise. Fullbacks aren’t used that regularly in the NFL these days, and while Sherman in particular is in his 10th NFL season (his ninth with the Chiefs) and has a Pro Bowl selection (2018) and a second-team All-Pro selection (2014) under his belt, he only had 65 regular-season catches for 547 yards heading into this year, and wasn’t used as a receiver in either of the Chiefs’ first two games this season. So he’s not necessarily the guy you’re looking to defend amidst all those other weapons, and Kansas City took advantage of that.
This play is yet one more example of the cool things the Chiefs’ offense has been able to dial up in the Mahomes era, and it’s one more case in point of how good that offense is looking so far this season. Of course, the defending Super Bowl champions are facing some other issues; their defense hasn’t been too great so far, they’ve seen some notable losses (including guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who opted out of this season to focus on his medical work on the COVID-19 frontlines), and their Week 2 win over the Chargers came in overtime and was aided by a terrible punting decision by Los Angeles. But they have an amazing offense, led by Mahomes (who passed 10,000 career passing yards Monday in just his 34th NFL game, making him the fastest-ever to that milestone, and threw for two further touchdowns before the half), and he has plenty of weapons to throw to. Sometimes that even includes the fullback.