Rosen has task of keeping Cardinals on pace with Mahomes-led Chiefs
TEMPE, Ariz. — Keep the Kansas City Chiefs on their current tear, and Patrick Mahomes will have done his job.
Week after week, he’s made that look easy.
Kansas City leads the NFL averaging 36 points per game, and a lot of it has to do with their 23-year-old quarterback. Mahomes has thrown for more than 300 yards in each of his last eight games and at least three touchdowns in seven of nine outings through the Chiefs’ 8-1 start.
Over the past three games, he’s completed more than 70 percent of his passes.
So when the Arizona Cardinals enter Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, the task of keeping up with all those points and all those touchdowns falls on rookie quarterback Josh Rosen’s shoulders.
Rather than building off of nine full games of production like Mahomes, who didn’t play until the last game of his rookie year, Rosen hopes to continue constructing his career on a tiny foundation of two drives to end the front half of the Cardinals’ season — drives that allowed Arizona to come back from a 15-3 deficit for a win over the San Francisco 49ers.
“I mean, for the most part we’re trying to focus on us and get ourselves rolling, regardless of who the opponent is,” Rosen said Thursday.
Mahomes didn’t take this path, but it could have been similar.
Former Arizona coach Bruce Arians told the Los Angeles Times in September that the Cardinals targeted Mahomes on draft night in 2017. The Chiefs, who only had the 27th overall pick, moved up to draft the Texas Tech quarterback 10th overall, three picks ahead of Arizona’s slot.
That pushed the Cardinals’ drafting of a franchise quarterback to 2018, where they made the move from 15th to 10th to nab Rosen.
The quarterbacks’ paths have crossed before. In college, they were coaches at the Manning Passing Academy.
“We were roommates, so waking up early together and getting in trouble together,” Rosen joked.
Rosen didn’t get to see Mahomes’ arm talent in action during that offseason trip, but he knows what the Chiefs are capable of. He grew up a fan of the Michael Vick-era Philadelphia Eagles, who were then led by current Chiefs coach Andy Reid.
“I used to have an Eagles shirt as a kid that said, ‘Our coach will eat yours,'” Rosen said. “I was a huge Andy Reid fan. Him and Mike Vick and the DeSean Jackson days were very fun to watch.”
Is there a chance the Cardinals’ offense could continue to build on those two game-saving drives against San Francisco?
“The Chiefs are vulnerable defensively I think,” said Arians, who joined the TD Fantasy Podcast on Wednesday and will call the game for CBS. “The Browns did a great job of pounding the ball in play-action (last week) and staying out of third-and-long. But again, you’re going to have to score a lot of points because they’re going to score a lot of points.
“For Josh it’s just a matter of continuing to grow, show improvement, protect the ball better and just keep moving forward. They’re not real complicated defensively, they’ll give you opportunities to get the ball down the field.”
Kansas City is allowing the 13th-most points per game (25.1), eighth-most rushing yards per game (124.8) and fifth-most passing yards per game (302.7).
Some of those numbers are a result of opponents getting so many chances to possess the ball because of explosive plays and quick scores.
Rosen said he was aware of the numbers. He said they’re deceptive as Kansas City has played conservative defensive schemes while holding big leads.
Asked if there was a weakness in the Chiefs defense, he pointed at the rolling cameras and smiled.
“Always,” he said. “Every week there’s something.”
ROSEN ‘INDEBTED’ TO BRADFORD
Rosen spoke for the first time Wednesday about the team’s release of veteran quarterback Sam Bradford, who lost his starting job to the rookie after Week 3.
“That’s kind of the tough, sort of unfortunate aspect of this game,” Rosen said. “But I mean, we’ll always stay in contact. Sam is awesome. I couldn’t thank him enough for what he did to help me. He’s — I’m very indebted to him.”
GOLDITCH READY TO SETTLE IN — AGAIN
The Arizona Cardinals on Monday signed rookie offensive lineman Zack Golditch to the 53-man roster, his first foray onto an NFL team’s regular season team.
It’s his fourth NFL team since going undrafted, but his story is much deeper.
Golditch was shot in the neck during a 2012 shooting at an Aurora, Colo., moving theater that killed 12 and injured 70 total.
“It’s a part of my story. Obviously I can’t go back and change it, but I’m thrilled to be at where I am right now. That’s just a credit to the people who helped me get here,” he said Wednesday.
Golditch, who played at Colorado State, has spent time on the practice squads of the Los Angeles Chargers, San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts. He was signed off the Colts’ practice squad.