Kansas City rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes ended his first career NFL win in style. With a 67-yard drive, Mahomes set up the Chiefs’ 27-24 win over Denver.

The Chiefs’ rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes made a solid first impression in his first career NFL start. Filling in for Alex Smith in the final regular season of the game, Mahomes bounced back from a first quarter interception and finished with 284 yards on 22 of 35 passing attempts. But his 74.6 passer rating did not necessarily indicate how the young gunner finished the game, leading the Kansas City offense on a last-minute drive that set up a game-winning field goal. Kansas City would go on to defeat the Denver Broncos 27-24.

And while the game had no playoff implications, Chiefs fans were happy to see a glimpse of the future in what could be promising years ahead. Since the Chiefs had not started a rookie quarterback in a game since Todd Blackledge back in 1983, the anticipation was high despite a game that saw many Chiefs starters on the bench. Mahomes certainly did not have a memorable game, but earning the win was a first for a Chiefs rookie quarterback in multiple decades.

Broncos star linebacker Von Miller said in the postgame interview that he was impressed by Mahomes.

picture courtesy of Bleacher Report

So Mahomes has officially made his case to start for Andy Reid’s squad next season. But will that happen? Who knows. With Alex Smith posting career highs in multiple categories this season, it is possible that he could be retained. He has posted 4,024 yards on a 67 percent completion percentage with 26 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, but with the Chiefs facing salary cap issues in the coming offseason, unloading Smith’s final year,  $17 million contract would make sense for the team.

The Chiefs might even be able to get back what they gave up to attain Smith in the first place: two second-round draft picks. The 33-year-old Smith could be too old to garner such interest, but his success in Kansas City combined with his stellar season could very well earn significant interest. Depending on his postseason performance, he could be looking at a nice new contract from a variety of teams entering the 2018 offseason. To do that, Smith and company will need to be prepared for the Tennessee Titans. The first step to that end meant that numerous Chiefs players were on the receiving end of a much-needed rest this past week.

Quarterback Alex Smith, receiver Tyreek Hill, and tight end Travis Kelce all were given the week off in preparation for Kansas City’s first postseason game of the 2017-18 season. Hill, who is dealing with a family tragedy, would have suited up and likely played a little if not for the death of his father.

Even without two of the Chiefs’ most explosive offensive players, Mahomes was able to put together a performance that pleased fans and Andy Reid alike. And while he did not throw a touchdown pass (and he threw a few bad throws), there was much to build upon. The final 67-yard drive orchestrated by Mahomes displayed why John Dorsey traded up in the draft last season to land the Texas Tech Aggie.

With composure, athleticism, and tenacity, Mahomes is making his case to be the Chiefs’ quarterback for the next decade. And he is even selfless, giving Alex Smith much credit for helping him prepare. 

So much for cheap pizza on game days. Little Caesars has closed down several KC locations.