Patrick Mahomes regrets playing not to lose in second half of AFC Championship Game

Kansas City Chiefs vs Cincinnati Bengals, 2022 AFC Championship
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Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes learned a valuable lesson in the second half of the AFC Championship Game loss to the Bengals: Sometimes when you play not to lose, that makes you lose.

Mahomes told Kevin Clark of TheRinger.com that after jumping out to a big early lead, the Chiefs became so focused on playing it safe that they stopped doing the things that had brought them to that point.

“The second half of that game: I don’t want to say we relaxed, but I mean when you lead like you did, you want to make sure you win the game, but you don’t want to play like you’re playing not to lose,” Mahomes said. “And I feel like that’s what we did. As a team, we were playing not to lose, we were playing just to get to the Super Bowl. If you look, they didn’t do much different from the first half to the second half. We just didn’t execute at a high enough level. They were playing the same coverages and we weren’t executing. Then momentum gets in the other team’s favor and when you’re playing a good football team, bad stuff happens.”

When Mahomes’ third touchdown pass gave the Chiefs a 21-3 lead in the second quarter, it didn’t look like they were going to need to do much more to get to the Super Bowl. After the Chiefs’ 27-24 loss, Mahomes now knows he can’t allow that mentality to take hold in the middle of a game.

65 responses to “Patrick Mahomes regrets playing not to lose in second half of AFC Championship Game

  1. Anyone who has an interest should go watch QB School on YouTube. JT OSullivan does some great breakdowns of player and games. He looks at play architecture, protection and QB play. He does a great breakdown of this game and shows that Mahomes is consistently speeding up his reads and forcing plays vs letting the play develop.

  2. On behalf of all CHiefs fans, I sincerely hope the lesson was learned by Mahomes and Andy Reid. Play to Win.

  3. That should be the life lesson for EVERY football player and coach at every level. Prevent Offense is probably the only thing worse than Prevent Defense.

  4. I don’t like that Mahomes is trying to blame away his poor play with “we played not to lose as a team”. That doesn’t explain him going 8/18 for 55 yards in the 2nd half. Or going from 98 QBR in the first half to 1.4 QBR in the second half. The reality is that the Bengals doubled how often they dropped 8 into coverage against the Chiefs in the 2nd half, they never blitzed Mahomes, just relied on their three/four man pass rush with him not being able to pass into clogged passing lanes. The Chiefs still tried to pass into it, made many mistakes, left points on the field, took bad sacks playing hero ball, and throughout the game Mahomes threw 7/13 for 59 yards with an INT and 2 sacks against 8 in coverage. And then he chucked a bad deep ball in coverage during OT that got picked. The Chiefs RBs ran for 5.6 YPC on the game, and still ran for 5+ in the 2nd half, but the Chiefs still relied on Mahomes hero ball. All the blame has to go on Mahomes for how he played in the 2nd half and the mistakes he made. He or Reid needed to figure out to run the ball, or how to run the offense against extra men in coverage. He can learn from it and come back from it and be even better, but not if he explains it away with cliche phrases.

  5. Man coverage is Mahommes down fall,he doesn’t like it that’s why you see him running with the football on a scripted pass play.If you don’t think so,see the loss to Tampa in the Superbowl. Kansas city with that high powered offense couldn’t even get in the endzone.

  6. 4 straight AFC championship games at Arrowhead say a lot about the roster, front office and the coaching. Those things don’t happen by accident but sometimes you get outplayed and lose to a hungrier team.

  7. I would say that considering what happened in their PREVIOUS game, they were LUCKY to be in the AFCCG to begin with.

    They were 13 seconds away from not being…

  8. Guessing the Bills coaches wish they had played to win and not to lose in the final 13 seconds. If so, Chiefs aren’t in conference title game and Mahomes would have no regrets.

  9. It’s not on Mahomes. It is on Andy Reid and Bienemy for the atrocious 2nd half play calling. Also, Mahomes threw a perfect pass to Tyreek Hill in the end zone in the 2nd half, only to have Tyreek not catch the ball.

  10. He will be there again this year to make up for it.

    Chiefs easily lead the division followed closely by the much improved Chargers. The Broncos will make noise with a great D and QB. The Raiders will be in rebuild mode by week 6 when they’re 1-5 or maybe 2-4….

  11. The HC dictates “how” a team plays. If Patty thinks they were “playing not to lose” that’s criticism of the HC. How about looking in the mirror, Patty?

    If I’m Coach Reid I’m getting a QB in this next draft. Need a guy who stands up when he falls down, says, “My bad,” not one who says he got pushed.

  12. That was strange to watch. He was nearly perfect the week before that against the Bills – the 2nd half against the Bengals was one of the worst halves I’ve seen him play.

    They probably should haven’t gotten another Lombardi last year. Missed opportunity for sure. Not taking anything away from the Bengals, but KC wins that game 9x out of 10.

  13. The Bengals were not good enough to be on the same field with the Chiefs and should have gotten blown out. It shows what a little luck can do in some cases. They will be watching the playoffs from home this year.

  14. You got waxed by a better team twice in the second half. That’s why your only WR left.

  15. 60 minute game and Bengals were better both times last year. Cincy will complete the hat trick this year while Chiefs get another year older. Shame they couldn’t have won more than 1 with that crew.

  16. Peyton Manning? 2x SB champ and top 5 all-time QB?

    Sounds like it COULD be a compliment, at least among fans who appreciate the game of football.

  17. Browns or Ravens will run away with the AFC North if they can get their injuries and QB issues solved. Ravens were hit extra hard with injuries last year and the Browns fell apart internally with Mayfield’s antics…Both teams have excellent defenses. Bengals have some flash but no substance and the Steelers are a mess at QB and in rebuild mode overall…

  18. Apparently one team made half time adjustments and the other team dressed left instead of right in the second half of that game.

  19. The good news is he’s in the Championship game every year. Joe Burrow looks like he might be, too. Lots of good young QB’s these days. I seem to remember a couple years ago people were saying the college game isn’t preparing QB’s for the NFL. Oh well. I’m glad they were wrong. Nothing better than watching great QBs

  20. Unfortunately for Mahomes he’s got the wrong head coach…He’s never winning another Superbowl with Andy Reid as his coach

  21. While watching that game I came to the conclusion that Mahomes – as good as he is – is overrated. He looked AWFUL in that game.

  22. I agree sometimes that motive bites you in the fanny. Seems to make sense to drop back and protect your territory but to stop attacking gives the other team life.

  23. Not Andy Reid.
    Bud Grant and Lindy Infante.
    Especially Bud. Usually in Super Bowls. Some guys never learn.

  24. A little luck goes a long way? The bengals came back in two separate games in the second half to beat the chiefs, the second time in arrowhead. There is no luck, they have the blueprint to muzzle Mahomes. What’s scary is that the bengals are younger, hungrier and ascending. The Chiefs automatically making it to the afc championship is no longer a given, the afc is loaded.

  25. The Chiefs defense lost that game in reality, yet the offense should still have been trying to points on the board instead of playing not to lose knowing the holes the defense had (Sorenson and Neiman, lack of pass rush).

  26. Whether you played lose or tight your team still would’ve lost. Bengals D made adjustments in the 2nd half. You didn’t.
    It’s true that when your 1st read is taken away there’s nothing much you can do..said someone..lol
    Oh and going up against JoeyB who is a dawg..I mean. He beat you twice.
    Excuses excuses

  27. The Chiefs were doing the same thing that many teams in the past have done to lose games…play the dreaded “prevent” defense. All it prevents you from is winning.

  28. They lost the game at the end of the first half. That last drive was disastrous. One of the ugliest turns I’ve seen in a conference championship.

  29. The NFL needed the California market to win a super bowl and the rams beating KC wasn’t possible.

  30. “They lost the game at the end of the first half. That last drive was disastrous. One of the ugliest turns I’ve seen in a conference championship.“ @texmex

    Eli Apple made plays all year.

  31. Love all the Chiefs hate on here!! Gonna be even worse after they are right back in the Super Bowl mix again this year.

  32. Mahomes is a spectacular qb who is clearly on a HOF trajectory. Like most great qbs, he has a ring.
    The problem is Mahomes was annointed the next Tom Brady, and that’s just not happening.
    7 rings is a mind boggling outlier.

    Aaron Rodgers 1 ring
    Brett Favre 1 ring
    Drew Brees 1 ring
    Peyton Manning 2 rings
    Big Ben 2 rings.
    Russell Wilson 1 ring.
    Kurt Warner 1 ring
    By comparison
    Nick Foles 1 ring
    Joe Flacco 1 ring
    Trent Dilfer 1 ring
    Eli Manning 2 rings
    Brad Johnson 1 ring

    It seems that you are as likely to win with a career journeyman qb as you are as with a top dollar qb not named Tom Brady.

  33. really, really lame. and previous home loss in an afc title game was caused by a coin toss, had nothing to do with letting opponent drive it 80+ yards down their throat in OT.

  34. How about that awesome Super Bowl? You remember? The one you got shut out in. As in the ONLY team in Super Bowl history to not score a Touchdown. Don’t regret that one?

  35. Not a fan of any AFC West teams but do not get Raider hate.Playoff team last year after all the crap they went thru and they really improved their team with Jones and Adams.Coach for Chargers has lot to learn,not sold on Staley at all.Wilson is probably the 4th best QB in the division.Broncos severely overhyped.New coach as well.Chiefs have to be favorite but are they going to miss Hill?If McDaniels learned anything from his first coaching gig the Raiders have a chance to be good.Gruden was a disaster,Ruggs stupidity interim coach and they still made playoffs.Outsider looking in here without a bias.

  36. I don’t understand the Mahomes hate on here. There are at least twenty five NFL teams that would take him in an instant.

  37. Aaron Rodgers 1 ring
    Brett Favre 1 ring
    Drew Brees 1 ring
    Peyton Manning 2 rings
    Big Ben 2 rings.
    Russell Wilson 1 ring.
    Kurt Warner 1 ring
    By comparison
    Nick Foles 1 ring
    Joe Flacco 1 ring
    Trent Dilfer 1 ring
    Eli Manning 2 rings
    Brad Johnson 1 ring

    It seems that you are as likely to win with a career journeyman qb as you are as with a top dollar qb not named Tom Brady.
    ==========

    By comparison… you have a #1 overall pick in that group.

    Dilfer and Flacco were 1st rounders.

    Teams are not winning with journeyman QBs. That era is over.

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