Patrick Mahomes bounced and danced along the sideline at Soldier Field during pre-game warmups as though he owned the place.
Later Sunday night, he did own it.
Mahomes turned in, by his standards, a ho-hum game, but it was more than the Bears could handle. Seemingly without even trying or doing anything spectacular, he rolled up a 108.1 passer rating in the first half and literally skipped off to the locker room with a 17-point lead.
That was more than enough for the Chiefs, who clobbered the Bears 26-3 and ended their hope to at least finish with a winning record. Mahomes breezed to a final line of 23 for 33, 254 yards, two touchdown passes, one touchdown run and no turnovers.
It all looks so easy with him. And fun.
Imagine getting to watch him every week instead of, well, you know.
Bears fans will never forget that their team could’ve drafted him in 2017, and apparently Mahomes won’t, either.
After a quick touchdown pass to Travis Kelce at the end of the second quarter, he coasted back to the bench counting to 10 on his fingers — an obvious nod to where he went in the draft, eight spots after Bears general manager Ryan Pace was so sure Mitch Trubisky was the difference-maker.
Mahomes’ move was funny, but redundant. He trolled the Bears enough by what he did on the field. Trubisky helped with that, too, by failing to break 100 yards passing until midway through the fourth quarter.
They sat through a miserable three-hour reminder of how badly they botched that second overall pick. It was a partial reminder, actually, because the other first-rounder from that class, Deshaun Watson, is also tremendous. Mercifully for them, and this city, those teams only play here once every eight years.
But it’s not just what Mahomes does. It’s the possibility of what he could do.
When the Bears stumble into third-down-and-a-million, they might as well cut to the chase and punt. Even third-and-6 feels insurmountable at times.
But when the Chiefs worked their way into second-and-28 on penalties in the second quarter, there was a sense that Mahomes could get them out of it. There’s a “you never know” feeling every time he has the ball.
He actually didn’t pull that one off. He made a nice run at it with 12-yard completions on each of the next two plays, and the Chiefs had to punt.
The Bears, of course, let them off the hook on Kevin Pierre-Louis’ running-into-the-kicker penalty, and Mahomes cashed in a minute later on the touchdown pass to Kelce.
“The high-end plays of Mitchell Trubisky are about what you’d see from Patrick Mahomes,” NBC broadcaster Cris Collinsworth said on the pre-game show. “The problem that he’s had is that he misses a lot of layups, and this offense cannot afford to miss layups.”
Mahomes and his overwhelming cast of skill players turned layups into dunks Sunday. With the Bears overly fixated on containing Kelce, Mahomes had a prairie’s worth of open space as he jogged in for a 12-yard touchdown run to cap the Chiefs’ first possession.
There was a brief moment of hope for the Bears as Eddy Pineiro closed the third quarter with a 46-yard field goal to cut the Chiefs’ lead to 17-3, but Mahomes casually squashed it.
He eats third-and-8s like pretzels. Facing one at the 50-yard line, he scrambled from the middle of the field to the right sideline and flung it to running back Spencer Ware for 18 yards. The Bears would put a play like that on their season highlight reel.
A couple plays later, the pocket got hectic and a Bears pass rusher got his hand on Mahomes’ arm, but he shook it off and dropped one in to Kelce for 11 yards and the first down. He hit third-and-8 again on that drive, merely a speed bump, and found Damien Williams for a 14-yard touchdown pass to bury the Bears at 23-3.
If he can do all that against the Bears’ vaunted defense on a night when he played just OK, imagine where Mahomes is headed. And that’s going to be even harder for Pace to watch.