Mahomes faced nine opponents for whom a Chiefs game was their Super Bowl. His best interior blocker opted out of the 2020 season, as did running back Damien Williams, who had a big Super Bowl in February. The team's best blocker, right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, missed three games. Receiver Sammy Watkins went down, too.
Mahomes responded by leading the Chiefs to an 8-1 record with road victories against the Bills (7-2) and Ravens (6-2). The explosive passing game he established opened up screens and runs, speeding up the acclimation of rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (4.7 yards per carry, 28 receptions) and blockers pressed into duty. Despite all the attention, Mahomes threw only one interception.