As Denver and Kansas City prepare to face off for the second time in less than a month, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes raved about the Broncos' defense while addressing the media Wednesday.
In the first matchup between these teams in Week 14, Denver nearly came back to win after trailing 27-0 — and while Kansas City ultimately emerged victorious, the Broncos' performance greatly impressed Mahomes.
"They played us tough this last one," Mahomes. "They gave us everything that we could ask for. We have to go out there and play our best ball. If you look at the tape, you see the talent that they have and how hard they play."
Mahomes threw three interceptions in Week 14, which is the most he's thrown in a game since 2020. The 2019 league MVP gave due credit to the Broncos' playmakers, whom he holds in high regard.
"They did a good job of following my eyes, making some good plays on some balls that I was trying to throw in some tight windows," Mahomes said. "I have to make sure to just take what's there and not try to force it. They've got great players, like I said. They've got great players that make a lot of great plays. ... We know we have to play our best ball if we want to win."
The respect goes both ways, as the Broncos' defensive players and coaches have spoken highly of Mahomes' talent not just throughout the week, but throughout the season.
"We've all got to understand, [Mahomes is] a hell of a player," Defensive Coordinator Ejiro Evero said Thursday. "He's going to make plays, and we've just got to continue battling and continue fighting and continue to stay with the game plan."
Cornerback Pat Surtain II, who recorded a sliding interception in Week 14, noted that game planning for the Chiefs has to start with finding a way to disrupt Mahomes.
"We have to limit their explosive plays," Surtain said. "That's where the team rallies around. It starts with their quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, and their perimeter guys that create plays for him. If we limit that, we have a good chance of slowing down their offense."
Below the Fold
Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy has taken his game to a new level over the past few weeks, and to his teammates, this level of success was only a matter of time for the former first-round pick.
"Obviously, [Jeudy's] been running routes since high school," Surtain said Thursday. "There is no denying that. I just feel like now, since he's gotten more experience with this being his third year in the league, that he's very savvy and very smart in his approach. Obviously, knowing the ins and outs of the games, reading certain coverages of the defense, that takes time for growing and learning, but he's a pro at that. Other than running routes, I think he possesses a lot of traits that a great receiver possesses. He's going to keep on building and keep on growing in that aspect."