God saw what he had made, and it was very good.
The Kansas City Chiefs' second-year quarterback shined late in Monday night's 27-23 come-from-behind victory over the Broncos in Denver.
The key sequence for the wunderkind quarterback came on the game-winning drive. Following a preposterous, Brett Favreian left-handed toss by Mahomes to pick up a first down, the Chiefs found themselves backed up after consecutive penalties. With under three minutes left it was second-and-30 on their 31-yard-line.
Two plays later, Mahomes had the Broncos at the Denver 11-yard-line headed in for the go-ahead score.
"Second-and-30," Broncos cornerback Chris Harris fumed in the locker room after the game, via Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic. "SECOND-AND-30. How we gonna let them smoke us like that?"
First, Mahomes picked up a chunk gain against Denver's man-coverage, finding reserve receiver Demarcus Robinson for 23 yards. Then on third down, the QB hit tight end Demetrius Harris downfield for a 35-yard gain to set up the winning score.
"Second-and-30, I'm thinking like, 'There ain't no way they'd be able to get this,'" Von Miller said. "And then they did."
The sequence was not without controversy.
Replays showed the play clock hit zero before the snap on Mahomes' toss to Harris. Broncos coach Vance Joseph was asked after the game if he spoke to the refs about the no-call.
"I did, and he said he looked up, it was zero and the ball was gone. I disagree. I disagree," Joseph said.
The rule of thumb for NFL referees is the one watching the play clock will look back to the line once it hits zero to see if the ball is snapped. Unable to watch two things at once, the mechanics of the play generally give the offense an extra fraction of a second to get the snap off.
In Monday night's case, the milliseconds made a huge difference.
"It pissed me off," linebacker Shane Ray said. "We all saw it at zero. ... It's just frustrating, man. You can't leave the game in the hands of the ref and we just have to do our job and finish it. We can't let those situations happen."
"The ref came into the huddle and the ref, that's his one job, he just missed it," added linebacker Brandon Marshall. "One of our players was like, 'Well, if that's his one job, how did he miss it?' They tried to say he was also looking at the quarterback -- I don't know, man. How do you miss that? That's crazy."
Missed call or not, the Broncos can't help but bemoan their inability to stop Mahomes after getting him into second-and-30.
"We just didn't finish. We've got to close that game out," Harris said. "We have them second-and-30 and we just let them off the hook."