Patrick Mahomes has proven he's succeeded without Tyreek Hill on the field, yet one of the storylines of the 2022 season is if the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback can put up the video game numbers and win games without Hill on the field. Mahomes is still one of the best quarterbacks in the game and has a deeper wide receiver group than last year.
Travis Kelce added another element to the equation why Mahomes won't miss a beat without Hill as his top playmaker. Mahomes is dedicated towards improving each and every year, regardless of how good he's been over the past four years.
"What Pat's able to do is keep developing. He keeps finding ways to get better as a quarterback," Kelce said Monday. "And that, by far, is what's made this offense take off and go into more of a passing offense than what we've had in the past."
Mahomes didn't have his typical dominant season in 2021, yet he was still very good. He completed 66.3% of his passes for 4,839 yards for 37 touchdowns in 2021 -- yet he threw a career-high 13 interceptions. The 284.6 passing yards per game and 98.5 passer rating were the lowest of Mahomes' career in a full season, yet he still found a way for the Chiefs to reach the AFC Championship Game.
In the postseason, Mahomes completed 73% of his passes for 1,057 yards with 11 touchdown passes to three interceptions for a 118.8 passer rating. The 11 touchdown passes are tied for first in NFL history in a single postseason.
Mahomes has played four games without Hill in his career, completing 64% of his passes and averaging 363.3 passing yards per game with eight touchdowns and zero interceptions (108.9 rating). He still has Kelce as the focal point in the offense, along with newcomers JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and rookie Skyy Moore. Mecole Hardman is also back in the offense as another playmaker for Mahomes, but was carted off the field at practice on Wednesday.
No matter who Mahomes has around him, Kelce believes he's going to find a way to score points and win games.
"I've always thought he's been one of the smartest guys I've ever been around on the football field — whether it's just playing off natural instincts or actually knowing what the defense is doing. I'll leave that up to him to tell you," Kelce said. "But I think his development over the offseason has got a lot to do with taking it to that next step, whether it's that next read or understanding what the defense is doing so you know where to go even more precise with the ball instead of just feeling out the defense.
"I've really seen that out of him in this camp more than any. I see it from Pat every game that we play on and off the field. He's just a competitor, a natural competitor."