“That play, that situation, those are the moments competitors love. These are the moments you dream of. Honestly, I dreamed of nights like this when I was a kid.” – Mahomes to King on his game-winning touchdown pass against the Raiders on Sunday Night Football
“You know what people think of him – they think he’s a runner. I think he’s a quarterback. And I wanted him to play quarterback early.” – Payton on QB Taysom Hill’s first start
“It’s still so surreal to me that I get to lace up cleats and put a helmet on. Yeah, I gotta wear this brace to do it, but…how awesome that it’s progressed this far.” – Smith on returning to play this season from his 2018 leg injury
STAMFORD, Conn. – Nov. 23, 2020 – Peter King speaks with Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes following the Chiefs’ Sunday Night Football win and New Orleans head coach Sean Payton after the Saints’ victory over Atlanta in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also speaks with Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith about his return to the field this season, hands out his weekly awards, and discusses the news and notes from around the league in Week 11.
Across NBC Sports this week, Peacock’s weekday block of NFL programming from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET includes PFT Live featuring Mike Florio and Chris Simms live at 7 a.m. ET, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another, with Michael Holley and Michael Smith, at 3 p.m. ET, and PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. On Monday, Safety Blitz, featuring Rodney Harrison and Jac Collinsworth, streams at 6 p.m. ET, and Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams at 6 p.m. ET Tuesday-Friday. ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news, and the Rotoworld Football Podcast and Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast discuss Week 11.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
PATRICK MAHOMES & THE CHIEFS
King on the Chiefs’ game-winning drive last night: “The pesky Raiders were becoming a problem, and they were up 31-28 in their new stadium in Nevada, threatening to sweep the season series, when the Chiefs called their last timeout. Second-and-seven, ball on the Vegas 22, just 34 seconds left…Mahomes came to the sideline with a definite idea – just like in the Super Bowl. He had a play he really wanted to run.”
Mahomes to King on how the Chiefs called the game-winning play coming out of the timeout: “Actually, there was a funny moment in that timeout…Coach (Eric) Bieniemy said to me, ‘Well, I like that play, but I really like this other one better.’ He tells me the play, and I think about it for a second. I said, ‘Hey, I like that play a lot.’ That’s what I love about our offense. We communicate. We’re a good team.”
King on the Chiefs’ game-winning touchdown: “For defenses, this play is the dilemma of the Kansas City offense. Four weapons spread across 45 yards of field near the goal line. If the quarterback was a stationary target, or just moderately mobile, the defense wouldn’t have to spy him…What’s a defense to do?”
Mahomes: “That play, that situation, those are the moments competitors love. These are the moments you dream of. Honestly, I dreamed of nights like this when I was a kid.”
King on the Raiders: “Las Vegas is going to be trouble for AFC power brokers down the stretch. The Raiders are just 6-4, and their spot in the playoffs isn’t assured, but they’re going to be a very hard out if they get there.”
Mahomes on the Chiefs-Raiders rivalry: “Our franchise has a deep history with the Raiders, and we can feel it come back now.”
King on the Saints starting QB Taysom Hill: “Coach Sean Payton picked Hill to start over the first pick of the 2015 draft, Jameis Winston, for a couple of reasons: He felt he owed it to him and told him he was next in line; and Payton truly felt Hill had a chance to be a new-wave quarterback, runner and thrower.”
King on Payton and Hill’s meeting Saturday night: “‘The Dot Meeting,’ Payton called it. Payton would have maybe 225 plays on his laminated play sheet in different categories (red zone, short-yardage, etc.). Payton liked most of them. (Drew) Brees would pick his favorites, maybe 40, and Payton would put a black Sharpie dot next to the play, then try to call most of them the next day. Ditto with Hill.”
Payton to King on Hill’s first play of the game yesterday: “Box Right Nasty, X Out, Q-8 Smash, and Taysom called it wrong! He forgot the motion!! First play of the game!”
Payton on his game plan for Hill as a starter: “I didn’t want to run him early. You know what people think of him – they think he’s a runner. I think he’s a quarterback. And I wanted him to play quarterback early.”
Hill to King: “I always felt I was capable of playing quarterback, and starting, in this league, but of course, until you do it, that’s just talk.”
King: “We need Thanksgiving in our country this year, for so many reasons…We need Smith and his family and his story to remind us that in the midst of whatever craziness we all have in our lives, we have much to be thankful.”
Smith to King on what he is thankful for after returning to play from his leg injury two years ago: “So tough to put into words…I think certainly first and foremost, grateful for my health right now and my family’s health. You realize looking back what a privileged life I led and had never really faced a challenge like that.”
Smith on returning from his injury: “It’s still so surreal to me that I get to lace up cleats and put a helmet on. Yeah, I gotta wear this brace to do it, but how amazing it is that every day I get to go do this, how awesome that it’s progressed this far. I’m just lucky.”
Smith on when he first returned to the field in Week 5: “It’d been two years since I had been hit. The last time I did, my leg broke. I just spent the previous almost two years doing everything I could to protect my leg, and then all of a sudden now I’m running out onto a field to play tackle football again…Aaron Donald jumping on my back. How was I gonna handle that?”
King: “At 36, there’s been some good, there’s been some bad, and with the warm-and-fuzzies wearing off, Smith knows he has to play well to keep his job for this year and beyond…That’s the thing about football. It’s sentimental for about five minutes, and then you’ve got to play well.”
WEEK 11 NEWS & NOTES
King on the Steelers: “Pittsburgh, with a four-game lead over Baltimore entering Thanksgiving Week. Now that’s a stunner…Ben Roethlisberger with a 24-to-5 TD-to-pick ratio, a defense that can be suffocating at all three levels. That’s a legit 10-0 team.”
King on Saints RB Alvin Kamara: “I’m not normally a fan of second contracts for running backs, but I’ll make an exception for Alvin Kamara…Drew Brees is very likely gone after this year, and whoever quarterbacks this team is going to need that great all-purpose security blanket that Kamara is.”
King on Titans WR A.J. Brown’s go-ahead fourth-quarter touchdown yesterday: “It’s one of the best touchdowns of the year, one of the most football-perfect touchdowns of the year, coming at a time when the AFC South is there to be won for the Titans.”
Brown to King on the play: “So I go the line and get ready to run my route, and Ryan (Tannehill) kind of gave me the look. Everyone knows that look. He double-winked at me. Gave me those big eyes. Like, the ball’s coming to you. At the time, we just really need the first down.”
King on his most underrated receivers in the NFL: “1) Tyler Lockett, and it’s not close. 2) Cole Beasley. 3) Darius Slayton. 4) Willie Snead. 5) Tre’Quan Smith.”
King on Cardinals rookie Isaiah Simmons: “The eighth pick of the April draft, monster defensive back Isaiah Simmons, is out of the witness protection program. He could be a big factor for the Cards in the last six weeks.”
King on former Falcons head coach Dan Quinn: “The fired Falcons coach has done something I think is really bright…He asked TV journalist/analyst Laura Okmin to reach out to 30 to 40 people Quinn had either coached with, coached, or knew well in his NFL life. Quinn asked Okmin to talk to these 30 or so people about what the coach needed to do better. No names; Quinn wanted honesty, and told Okmin to grant anonymity.”
Quinn to King: “I did a 360 on myself…I wanted to know my blind spots. Most often, when you’re the head coach, people tell you what they think you want to hear. I wanted to get the truth, right between the eyes.”
King on what Quinn learned: “One thing he discovered is he didn’t have the kind of pipeline that a coach needs to have to last a long time in one place. He needed to develop – as coaches like Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin and Andy Reid have done – an ethos that every coach and player in the organization buys into.”
KING’S WEEK 11 AWARDS
Offensive Players of the Week: A.J. Brown, Tennessee, P.J. Walker, Carolina, & Taysom Hill, New Orleans.
King on Hill: “Hill’s waited three-and-a-half years for this moment, since being bypassed in the 2017 draft and waived by the Packers as an undrafted free agent and signing with the Saints and waiting, waiting, waiting…It wasn’t a flashy debut, but the Saints will take a 15-point win over their most hated rival any day.”
Defensive Players of the Week: Justin Simmons, Denver, Olivier Vernon, Cleveland, J.J. Watt, Houston, & Carlos Dunlap, Seattle.
King on Vernon: “The Browns are 7-3, and good teams don’t fold when their best defensive player suddenly is lost for the game. (Myles Garrett has COVID-19.) Excellent time for Vernon to play his best game as a Brown.”
Special Teams Player of the Week: Logan Woodside, Tennessee.
King: “On fourth-and-seven from the Tennessee 49, Woodside lined up as the upback in punt formation, took the snap, rolled right, and found gunner Nick Westbrook-Ikhine for seven yards. Three minutes later, the Titans snuck in a field goal before halftime. Good roster management. Two undrafted free-agents combine for a key play in a very tight game.”
Coaches of the Week: Phil Snow, Carolina (defensive coordinator), & Matt Eberflus, Indianapolis (defensive coordinator).
King on Snow: “Snow, who came from Baylor with coach Matt Rhule this season, let loose with some different blitzes and not being so married to his three-man front. Terrific job all around in Charlotte.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- Football Night in America: Week 11 Recap with Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, and Mike Florio
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Chris Simms streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Safety Blitz streams on Monday and Chris Simms Unbuttoned stream Tuesday-Friday.
- ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- The Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast and Rotoworld Football Podcast discuss Week 11 and look ahead to Week 12.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.