The world should still be talking about Patrick Mahomes.
If they hadn’t given away a win at the final second, the Kansas City Chiefs would be 2-0. For that matter, that’s also true if the Chiefs could develop anything resembling a pass rush or if the defense could stop a single rusher, or if any number of smaller plays or miscues had not happened.
This is important because apparently the only way to give Mahomes any credit is if he’s perfect.
After a performance in which Mahomes completed 77 percent of his passes, threw 3 touchdowns, passed for 343 yards, and was well on his way to engineering another fourth-quarter comeback, there’s zero buzz at all about the game’s best young player. Apparently, for Mahomes to get any credit, he has to play a perfect game.
Patrick Mahomes should get more credit than what his shadow will allow.
There’s an issue here going forward for Mahomes because there are, assumedly, a lot of games left to play in his career. How do you judge a man known for his consistent excellence? How often are NFL reporters supposed to write about Mahomes’ heroics when they surface week after week?
Mahomes’ greatness is his own problem when it comes to media coverage and resulting honors. When the bar is set so high, so early, then our expectations will rise to meet them—true of both fans and media. It’s the reason why an exemplary season from Mahomes is likely going to be set aside for Most Valuable Player awards because someone else came up with Mahomes-esque numbers for the first time in his career.
During Mahomes’ rookie campaign, none of this was a problem. There was less drama around that single MVP award than any in recent NFL history. From there, however, Mahomes’ past heights started to cast shadows over his future. When Mahomes has thrown for 50 touchdowns, then 26 doesn’t sound all that impressive and even 38 isn’t all that exciting. When 5,000 yards have been eclipsed, then 4K fails to grab the attention.
Through two weeks, Mahomes has a 131.4 passer rating with 6 touchdowns and a 76.1 percent completion rate. (Note: Mahomes has never had a season over 66 percent, so that’s 10 points higher). He led the NFL last year with 314 passing yards/game and he’s averaging 26 more than that so far in 2021. He’s also averaging a career high 10.75 net yards/passing attempt—the first time he’s even come close to double digits. He’s really having a phenomenal season in the early going.
Essentially Mahomes is a lot more accurate even as he’s throwing deeper than ever. Yeah, somehow that’s possible?!
Yet this week, Peter King over at NBC Sports wrote on Monday, ” I think my two-week MVP ballot would be: 1 Derek Carr, 2 Kyler Murray, 3 Tom Brady.” That’s fine. That’s just one guy. And early-season MVP votes don’t count after just two games—thank goodness!
Apparently Mahomes has to win every game in order to stay in the news, and the jaw-dropping plays aren’t enough if there’s a mistake thrown in for good measure. Yes, Mahomes threw a horrible ball when pressured in the fourth quarter, one that landed in the hands of Baltimore Ravens cornerback Tavon Young. Yes, he would want to redo it. Yes, he knows it was reckless and something from which he can learn.
Unfortunately at least in the national conversation, that lone miscue is also keeping us from remembering the incredible deep bomb to Demarcus Robinson deep in the end zone or the perfectly timed strikes to Travis Kelce and Byron Pringle on long touchdown runs by each. We’re ignoring the fact that Mahomes was giving the likes of Michael Burton a chance to shine in primetime because his go-to target in Tyreek Hill was hardly ever open.
Perhaps the media will pick back up where they left off in terms of love and praise for Mahomes next week if he’s able to lead the Chiefs to a. home win over the visiting L.A. Chargers. For now, Mahomes’ one error is enough to remove him from the limelight. The base line for coverage has been so skewed that it takes Herculean efforts to get noticed.
Otherwise, it’s just another game for Patrick Mahomes.