Look right, pass left
It’s a play in basketball perfected by the likes of Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd and Steve Nash. But the no-look pass is catching on in football as well.
And its chief practitioner (pardon the pun)? None other than the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes.
Lost in the third-year quarterback’s monster 2018 season, one that saw him win the NFL MVP Award on the strength of 5,097 yards passing with 50 touchdowns and a 113.8 passer rating, is a play that is nearly impossible to defend.
When covering a receiver, defensive backs will often look back at the passer’s eyes to see where and when the ball is coming. Mahomes’ trick play takes away that critical tell, as defenders converge on where they think the ball is going, leaving other receivers wide open. It doesn’t take an offensive genius to realize how effective that bit of misdirection can be.
That was evident when he first broke it out in a December 2018 game against the Baltimore Ravens, when he looked right and passed left to Demarcus Robinson for a nine-yard gain. Tony Romo, the former star quarterback and current CBS analyst covering that contest, was agog.
The play has caught the attention of other signal callers as well, among them the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady, the Cleveland Browns’ Baker Mayfield and the Miami Dolphins’ Ryan Fitzpatrick, who were working it into their repertoires this preseason. For his part, Mahomes also used training camp to hone his technique.
Mahomes and the Chiefs can be seen in action Sunday, Sept. 15, when they pay a visit to the AFC West-rival Oakland Raiders in a game airing on CBS.
Full name: Patrick Lavon Mahomes II
Birth date: Sept. 17, 1995
Birthplace: Tyler, Texas
Height/weight: 6 feet, 3 inches/230 pounds
Teams: Kansas City Chiefs (2017-present)
College: Texas Tech
Draft: Selected in the first round (10th overall) by the Chiefs in 2017
Honors and achievements: NFL MVP (2018); First-team All-Pro (2018); NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2018); NFL touchdowns leader (2018); Bert Bell Award for NFL’s player of the year (2018); Sammy Baugh Award for top collegiate passer (2016); Second-team All-Big 12 (2016)
Did you know?: Mahomes is the son of former MLB pitcher Pat Mahomes