BALTIMORE — Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has an uncanny ability to sense when there is pressure in the pocket.
Mahomes can avoid defenders and extend plays by finding a receiver downfield or running for a first down.
Containing the six-time Pro Bowler will be one of the biggest challenges for the Ravens when they play Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday at 3 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium.
“He just has great pocket presence,” Harbaugh said about Mahomes. “He sees the field, and he feels the pocket. He must have [an] antenna that he just senses all that, like your car has all those sensors that start beeping when guys get close. It must be that way for him because he kind of senses the pressure, and he’s able to just move around and get away but keep his eyes downfield, slip out [and] all those kinds of things. That’s what he does.
“Everybody that watches football knows it. It’s one of his gifts, so we’re going to have to really study it [and] be good at defending it. I do like our guys’ chances. We’ve got a lot of really good athletes, a lot of guys who play hard, so we’ll just try to make it as hard on him as we can.”
This past season, Mahomes ranked sixth in the NFL with 4,183 yards passing with 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He is 13-3 in the playoffs and has advanced to the AFC Championship Game in each of the past six seasons.
Mahomes had another exceptional game in his duel with Josh Allen and the Bills in Sunday’s divisional game that the Chiefs won, 27-24, in Buffalo. Mahomes finished 17-for-23 passing for 215 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He consistently made big plays when Kansas City needed them against the Bills.
Mahomes, who was selected by Kansas City with the 10th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, has also gone 3-1 against the Ravens, throwing for 12 touchdowns with two interceptions for a 119.1 quarterback rating. The key for the Ravens will be to keep him under pressure, so he doesn’t have time to make those explosive plays.
“The fact that he extends plays [and] buys time [in the pocket] – he buys time to run, sometimes,” Harbaugh said. “He buys time to throw. He’s just a really elusive guy. You’ll see him in space. Sometimes, he’ll make guys miss. It’s just Patrick Mahomes. He’s unique. [He] plays his own brand of football. [He’s] been very successful. We’ll just have to study him and do our best to try to keep him under wraps.”