The Greatness Of Patrick Mahomes

Don't forget.

Jim Rome
January 10, 2020 - 12:38 pm
Patrick Mahomes

USA Today

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We can have a discussion about whether or not this is the best sports weekend of the year, but as people say in those tedious debates, “it is definitely in the conversation.” Four NFL playoff games, like last week. But the argument being that the divisional round is better than the wild card round because you have better teams.

Buffalo, New England, New Orleans, and Philadelphia are out. San Francisco, Green Bay, Baltimore, and Kansas City are now in.

That means another chance to see Lamar Jackson and I don’t care how close that Titans game is, you’re going to watch the whole thing, because Lamar Jackson might do something that you’ve never seen before. That’s how special he is. He can make a blowout just as exciting as a nailbiter.

But it seems like something has almost been lost in the Lamar Jackson hype. And that something is Patrick Mahomes. 

Don’t get me wrong, Lamar Jackson deserves every bit of the credit and the hype that he’s received this year. He’s earned all of it and more. But while everyone else has been focused on Jackson, it’s almost like people have forgotten about Patrick Mahomes. 

This time last year, Patrick Mahomes was the favorite for the MVP. This time last year, Patrick Mahomes was the guy who was doing things you’d never seen before. This time last year, Patrick Mahomes was making defenses look stupid. 

And now there isn’t that same level of hype or buzz around him. In fact, he’s going into this game against Houston, The Trubisky Bowl: Playoff Edition, without a ton of buzz at all.

And I’m telling you, sleep on him at your peril. Because while his numbers were down this year, I’d tell you part of that was due to his injury. And he’d tell you he’s a better quarterback.

As he told SI: “I feel that I’m [an improved quarterback], 100 percent.  “I mean, obviously the stats aren’t the same. I don’t have 50 touchdowns, 5,000 yards, or whatever it was. But as far as positive plays vs. Negative plays, I’ve done a lot more, just being higher on positive plays and not putting myself in negative situations.”

When last season ended in overtime against the Patriots, Mahomes went to work. And he did it with a plan, knowing that there was a good chance that he wasn’t going to torch the league every year. That defensive coordinators would come up with new schemes and that he might get banged up. As he said, there will be times where “you have to grind through.” 

Go back to the start of the season. Nearly 400 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Jags. Nearly 450 and 4 touchdowns against the Raiders. Nearly 400 and 3 against the Ravens. 

We can keep going, but you get the picture. At that point, he was just picking up where he left off last year. He was a little banged up, but more importantly, he wasn’t making costly mistakes. He had cut down on the negative situations. It was mid-October before he threw his first pick. 

And then came the injury on the quarterback sneak against Denver. And as soon as it happened, he knew something was wrong. He looked down at his leg and saw that his kneecap was in the wrong spot. And brace yourself for this quote…you know how these dudes are different than the rest of us: because they say things like this:  

“That was the first thing that went through my mind, when I saw it sideways. That doesn’t look normal. That can’t be good.” 

If I see my kneecap “sideways,” my first thought is not “that doesn’t look normal. That can’t be good.” There won’t be any thoughts at all. Because if I look down and see my kneecap sideways, or about a foot away from where it’s supposed to be:  its lights out. And I don’t mean for a few minutes or an hour, I’m talking for all of eternity: if I look down and I see realize I only have one kneecap, or that my kneecap is now residing near my ankle, I’m looking for a place to lie down for my permanent nap.  But that’s just me.  Pat.  We’ll pat did the exact opposite.

When the doctors put his knee back into place, Mahomes actually tried to re-enter the game.

That’s what I would call grinding through. . But he did miss the next two games. And around that time, Lamar Jackson started to go supernova. And then when Mahomes came back, it was kind of an afterthought that he threw for 446 yards, 3 touchdowns, and zero picks against Tennessee. Or that Kansas City won six straight games to close out the regular season and get the bye. Or that their defense is allowing less than 10 points per game since Week 11.

If you want to point to Mahomes numbers being down this year, that’s fine, you can do that. But when it comes to the playoffs and winning in the playoffs, here’s the number that really matters: 5 interceptions, down from 12 last year. 5 interceptions in nearly 500 pass attempts. That’s Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees territory.

The goal in the offseason was to become a better quarterback and to reduce the negative situations. He’s definitely done that. And after reaching the AFC championship game last year, he has a chance to take it one step further this year. And he’s doing it with a more well-rounded team than last year. He doesn’t have to do everything for them, and that makes them and him more dangerous. 

You can point to Houston beating Kansas City in Kansas City back in the October if you’d like and you can say that gives the Texans a chance this weekend. But don’t kid yourself. I can’t believe I actually have to say this, but don’t sleep on Patrick Mahomes. Or do it, and pay the price. I have a feeling this could go really badly for the Texans.