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Pittsburgh

Mahomes focused despite sudden success with Chiefs

Sports Xchange
18 Sep 2018, 11:38 GMT+10

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Patrick Mahomes put his name in the record books with six touchdown passes against the Pittsburgh and NFL-record 10 touchdown throws in the first two games of the season, but Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid doesn't see sudden success and superstardom distracting his talented wunderkind quarterback.

"I don't think any of that fazes him," Reid said. "He understands that you've got to show up and I'm not as concerned about that as him becoming a better player and working on that."

Mahomes grew up around Major League Baseball locker rooms tagging along with his father, Pat Mahomes. The elder Mahomes spent 11 seasons in the majors, and Patrick found himself hobnobbing at a young age with baseball superstars.

"You see the pictures with Alex Rodriguez," Reid said. "He's focused and he's always here, bit of a gym rat type guy. He grew up around it so you've got to kick him out of here and have him go home and get some rest."

Sunday's record-setting performance in the Chiefs' 42-37 win over the Steelers helped Mahomes begin building his own legend. In just this third NFL game he tied a franchise record with six touchdowns passes. Hall of Famer Len Dawson set that mark 54 years ago. His 10 touchdown passes in the first two games of the season eclipsed the record of nine shared by Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Charley Johnson.

Reid felt strong from the moment the Chiefs scouted Mahomes as the quarterback at Texas Tech that he had special talent. He saw enough from Mahomes as a rookie and a Week 17 start against Denver to trade starting quarterback Alex Smith to Washington and launch the Mahomes era in Kansas City now.

But Sunday's game against the Steelers confirmed his suspicion that Mahomes could withstand one of the league's most aggressive front seven and still thrive. Reid felt his pupil could handle the blitz and pressure and settle in the pocket, but a coach never knows until it happens for real.

"There are a bunch of little things in there that take place," Reid explained. "The games that can take place, the twist game and you settle away are two of those. Until you're live, until you take that yellow jersey off, you're not sure exactly.

"We get to see it here," Reid said. "He seems to be doing that pretty good."

That's a small understatement from Reid. Mahomes leads the AFC with a sterling 158.3 passer rating and a glossy 10.14 yards per pass attempt. He showed no signs of withering from a relentless Steelers pass rush that knocked him down on six of his 29 drop backs in Week 2.

"The thing I think gets overlooked in this one is they threw a bunch at him, which I thought was going to be an important thing for him to work with," Reid said. "When I tell you we have a lot of room to improve, we do. It's harder to see in some of these areas but we've got to clean some things up too."

That's the utterance from Reid that strikes the most fear in imposing defense, the notion that Mahomes remains far from his peak potential.

"He's just got to keep growing with that because there were some things that he could have seen better," Reid said. "But I don't want to take anything away from him but he's a young kid, man and he's learning as we go. You're seeing it, you guys are living it. And there's room for improvement here."

Even while pumping the brakes how good Mahomes may be now, Reid shows no qualms projecting how good his young quarterback can become.

"We're not far enough along in this thing but the sky's the limit for him," Reid said. "He's just got to keep grinding and learning."

--S Eric Berry missed his second-straight game with a sore heel and the team continues to list him as day-to-day. Head coach Andy Reid said last week Berry's return remains largely up to when the veteran feels comfortable to resume playing. The team hopes he can return within the next two weeks.

--LB Reggie Ragland played just 25 of the team's 82 defensive snaps on Sunday. That appears largely related to the team's decision to play Terrance Smith in pass situations, but Ragland remains on the team's injury report with a knee issue stemming from an injury sustained during offseason workouts.

--CB Steven Nelson left Sunday's game with a cramping issue. He received an IV fluid treatment at halftime and returned to the lineup, missing just one play.

--P Dustin Colquitt took a big hit on the penultimate play of Sunday's game when the Steelers drew a roughing the kicker penalty against him. Colquitt does not appear on the team's injury list and he does not expect to miss any playing time.

--TE Demetrius Harris returned to the active roster following his one-game suspension for violation of the league's substance-abuse policy. He played 17 offensive snaps as a second tight end behind Travis Kelce and also played a team-high 30 special teams snaps.

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