This 2021/2022 season has seen Mahomes perform like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
The beginning of the season has been shaky for the young Kansas City Chiefs quarterback but as a real champion, he went back to work, put his head down, and got to better performances along the way. Now, the Chiefs are the top seed of the AFC Conference, and nobody could have seen that coming, back in October. A lot of people even doubted the Chiefs had it to go to the Playoffs.
On Thursday night, he had the eye of the tiger, moments of brilliance that helped the Chiefs win this pivotal game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Near the end of the first quarter, he dodged a Chris Harris blitz, barely escaping a sack before sliding out of the pocket to his right. He then put a perfect pass back toward his left for a 17-yard completion to Kelce. The play put K.C. in easy field goal range, and the drive resulted in three points that proved critical in a game that was tied and went overtime.
Patrick Mahomes has thrown for more yards and touchdowns in his first 50 career games than any other quarterback in NFL history. He passed a pair of Hall of Fame quarterbacks like Kurt Warner and Dan Marino in yards amassed. And since he began as a starter in this league, it looked like every single week was a record for the young Mahomes, so when he started to play badly because that’s how he played for half of the season, he looked “broken”! And critics began to pour down on him.
The tip of the iceberg of the Mahomes Magic came in his Monday Night Football debut on Oct. 1, 2018, at the Denver Broncos when his left-handed pass made him quickly a quarterback to watch. Then came the “no-look passes”, the big comebacks in important games, the legendary Jet-Chip-Wasp scheme, and just impossible throws he is the only one capable of doing them.
The Chiefs’ offense hasn’t looked like the Chiefs’ offense in 2021. Patrick Mahomes has struggled through the season, one of the worst offenses he’s had in his four years as Kansas City’s starting quarterback.
Because of Mahomes’ weird inefficiency, the Chiefs were only 5-4 going into Week 10. They were then only No. 15 in scoring offense at 24.6 points per game, down from No. 6 and 29.6 points per game in 2020.
The Chiefs are facing a lot of zone defenses designed to take away the big plays towards their star receivers Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. And it worked for a while. So they had to make some adjustments, so far so good. In his fifth NFL season, Mahomes looks at his best after looking his worst this year.
He’s among the league leaders in passing yards and touchdowns but has also 17 turnovers, the second-most behind rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence. So he is getting better, but his early mistakes at the beginning of the season really were unusual. Mahomes has had a lot of underthrown passes, which is uncharacteristic of him.
Even the best players make bad decisions from time to time. And as Vince Lombardi said back in the days: “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” And those interceptions, underthrown passes that Mahomes has done this season are simple mistakes that can be solved easily through coaching and practice.
Fast forward to Thursday night’s victory over the Chargers: Mahomes threw for 410 yards and three touchdown passes. Yes, he also had a couple of bad throws but he performed perfectly in the fourth quarter and in overtime. Additionally, five days before the Chargers game, Mahomes led the Chiefs to a 48-9 impressive win over the Raiders.
Mahomes has been playing better lately, which is good as the playoffs are getting closer. Nothing to worry about. We are back on top.