KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes showed up bright-eyed and energetic for practice on Wednesday.
Perhaps the adrenaline was still flowing from the birth of his baby boy.
Or his wife was handling all the late-night diaper changes.
“Brittany is a champ,” said Mahomes, who along with his wife welcomed Patrick “Bronze” Mahomes III on Monday night, and gave 1-year-old daughter Sterling a little brother. “Everything went great and everything went smooth.”
Great. So how about that nickname?
“When we had Sterling,” Mahomes explained, “we didn’t know if it was a boy or girl, so we thought of a name that could be a boy or girl. And we wanted them to have a connection. I always wanted to do Patrick Mahomes III, every since I was a kid. I always thought it would be ‘Trey,’ you hear that a lot. So when me and (brother) Jackson were trying to think of something unique, he thought of ‘Bronze.’ It fit perfectly with Sterling. They can have that connection moving forward.”
Mahomes said the addition to the family — his father, Pat Mahomes Sr., and many other family members happened to be in town for the birth — won’t affect his preparation for one of the marquee games on the Chiefs’ remaining schedule.
They’re headed to Cincinnati on Sunday for a rematch of the AFC championship game, when Kansas City jumped out to a 21-3 lead and still led 21-10 at halftime before its offense collapsed and the Bengals rallied for a 27-24 victory.
It’s a game that has stuck with everyone in the Chiefs locker room for the past 11 months.
“I think you have to keep it in perspective. It’s a brand-new season,” Mahomes said. “But any time a team beats you before, you want to beat them, especially when they beat you in a game like they did to go to the Super Bowl.”
Mahomes acknowledged his play went downhill in the second half that night, his fundamentals going awry as the lead shrunk and the pressure mounted.
It’s something he worked on throughout the offseason, and weekly during the season, and those finely tuned fundamentals have put him in the conversation for a second MVP award.
He leads the league in passing by a wide margin — Mahomes has thrown for 3,585 yards while the Bills’ Josh Allen is next with 3,183. Ditto for touchdowns with Mahomes throwing 29 to Allen’s 23. He’s throwing for more yards per game (325.9) than any point in his career, his yards-per-attempt is the highest in three years, and Mahomes is completing better than two-thirds of his throws for a third consecutive season, all despite an injury-riddled wide receiver group.
It helps that Travis Kelce is having a similar stupendous season. The three-time All-Pro tight end already has 12 touchdown receptions, which is tied with the entire rosters of the Browns, Texans and Rams and more than seven other teams.
“A quarterback like him, he’s a special guy man. Those don’t come around very often,” Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said. “You look at Tom Brady — Tom played with how many receivers? And you can’t name them all? Same thing with Pat, man. He threw to 10 different guys (last week against the Rams) and was just making plays.”
Smith-Schuster has missed time with a concussion and was out of practice Wednesday with an illness. Mecole Hardman is on injured reserve with an abdominal injury and Kadarius Toney is still out with a hamstring issue.
Yet with Mahomes under center, the Chiefs offense keeps on humming. It has eclipsed 400 yards seven times this season, and five straight, which is tied for the longest streak in franchise history.
“He stays pretty focused on the task at hand,” said Chiefs coach Andy Reid, when asked whether the arrival of Bronze this week has caused any wrinkles in their preparation for Cincinnati.
“He has a great wife that takes care of a lot of that,” Reid said. “Bronze, man, I love it. Patrick Mahomes III. I think Bronze is in good hands. The players all got on Patrick: ‘If he plays long enough, we’ll have another quarterback here.’”
NOTES: WR Jerick McKinnon (hamstring) also missed practice Wednesday. … The Chiefs made official the signings of ex-Broncos RB Melvin Gordon, former Raiders WR Bryan Edwards and longtime Ravens DT Brandon Williams to the practice squad. Reid was unsure what to expect of Gordon, but he adds depth after the Chiefs put RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire on IR with a high ankle sprain. “We’ll just see. That’s kind of the way we explained it to him,” Reid said. “We’ll see where this thing goes and where he’s at and where the running back situation goes.”
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL