The goal was to start fast.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the Kansas City Chiefs' offense had shown flashes of success through the first two weeks of the preseason, but not yet on an opening drive.
There was an emphasis on changing that to begin Saturday afternoon's bout with the Chicago Bears, and as tailback Kareem Hunt concluded the Chiefs' initial offensive series with a 19-yard trot into the end zone, that focus yielded results.
"We wanted to get a drive going early in the game – we hadn't had that yet," Mahomes said following the game. "So, to go out there and score a touchdown on our first drive was exciting. We're going to try and maintain that through the rest of the game [moving forward,] but as a unit, we had a pretty good day on the offensive side of the ball."
Hunt's score was the final snap of a six-play, 69-yard drive in which Mahomes connected with four different players to move the ball. It began with a forward pitch to the fleet-footed Tyreek Hill, who broke free for 28 yards on the Chiefs' first play from scrimmage. Mahomes connected with wide receiver Sammy Watkins for 15 yards a play later and, after a pair of rushes by Hunt, found tight end Travis Kelce to move into the red zone.
It was then, facing a 3rd-and-6, that Mahomes got the ball in the hands of his young running back, who managed to do the rest.
"I made a protection call and [the Bears] brought the extra guy, so I just dumped it off to Kareem and he made a play," Mahomes said. "Within our offense there's a lot of adjustments, and it was just one of our hot routes that if they brought a certain guy, he would have to get his eyes around fast. He did, I got it on him and he got out in some open space."
The play represented Mahomes' lone touchdown pass of the day, but it ignited what ended up being a strong outing for the 22-year-old signal caller. He completed 18-of-24 pass attempts for 196 yards and the score, adding up to a 112.5 passer rating in the second-year quarterback's lengthiest outing of the preseason.
And interestingly enough, the mandate of starting fast carried over to Kansas City's opening drive of the second half.
That series didn't end in a touchdown, as the drive stalled at the 5-yard line, but Mahomes still managed to move the offense 80 yards on 12 plays – while completing 8-of-8 passes – before his fourth-down throw fell incomplete.
It was Mahomes' final drive of the day, and while it didn't result in points, the series as a whole – when coupled with the opening drive of the game - just further exemplified what the offense is capable of achieving with the regular season just a few weeks away.
"I feel like we've built a great chemistry as an offense with some great relationships," Mahomes said. "I've talked to a lot of the guys about how we've been really good in certain spurts of training camp and the [preseason] games – we just need to put it all together. If we can do that, we can be a truly special offense."