On yesterday’s episode of Undisputed over at Fox Sports, everyone’s favorite troll who lives under a bridge harassing billy goats, Skip Bayless, decided to go in on Patrick Mahomes.
I will break down the comment in just a second but go ahead and give the segment a watch below.
This comment just screams “I haven’t watched a single Chiefs game all season but one of my producers told me that Mahomes has as many interceptions this year as he did last year and so I have an opening to make a completely insane comment.”
Look, let’s get one thing out of the way early. Skip Bayless knows what he is doing. His job is to go on T.V. and say outrageous things and debate his fellow hosts. He’s made millions doing it and he is damn good at it. As much as he might annoy fans with his act, and I assure you, it is an act, people still tune in and watch these shows he is on. If they didn’t, Skip wouldn’t be rich and he wouldn’t still be on TV. Period.
And frankly, I don’t have too much of a problem with the debate shows, though Skip isn’t my cup of tea. I don’t find him particularly entertaining. I don’t take these shows too seriously, after all, sports is supposed to be fun, but I prefer First Things First with Nick Wright. I think that show is always more entertaining than the others and the hosts have fun giving each other good-natured ribbings. But I digress. Back to Mahomes.
The reason I’m throwing up this blog isn’t to trash Bayless but to address the point he is making because ludicrous as it may seem to those of us in the Chiefs Kingdom, Skip probably isn’t the only person who has this take.
You may not need me to tell you this but Patrick Mahomes is not regressing or “devolving.” Was he devolving in 2019 when he only threw 26 touchdowns after throwing 50 the season before? Of course not.
The NFL is all about adjustments and matchups. That is why it can be hard for a team to do one thing really well for an entire season. Teams are constantly adjusting to their opponents. 2018 Patrick Mahomes took the league by surprise. As a first-year starter, nobody expected him to be an all-pro caliber player. Teams adjusted, they started playing the Chiefs differently. Patrick had to adjust to the adjustments. Throw in expected regression and injuries and of course, Patrick Mahomes wasn’t going to throw 50 touchdowns again. Hell, he might never throw 50 touchdowns again in his career.
We have three seasons and five games of data on Patrick Mahomes. We know who he is and so does the rest of the league. As long as Mahomes is able to keep adjusting to the new roadblocks his opponents are going to throw at him, he is going to continue to be great. He is on pace to throw 54.4 touchdowns so far this season. Have there been some hiccups this season? Absolutely. Some bad breaks? You bet. But to claim Mahomes is “devolving” is an outlandish assessment, even for a provocateur like Bayless.
The way we learn is by making mistakes. When was the last time you learned a new skill and mastered it immediately? If anything, Mahomes is likely doing the opposite of devolving right now. The conservative manner in which teams are playing the Chiefs is forcing everyone on the offense to evolve and learn a different way to attack their opponents. In past seasons, the Chiefs offense has been so explosive that it could erase deficits and overcome mistakes. Now, with the Chiefs defense playing as badly as any unit in the NFL, the Kansas City offense has to learn to be patient and to focus. It is going to take them longer to score and they can’t afford to make too many mistakes. They have to concentrate. They have to gash teams on the ground.
If Mahomes and the Chiefs offense can master their new skills, and if the defense improves even a little bit (and they can’t be any worse so they probably will improve) the tactics teams are using against the Chiefs right now that are working, won’t work so well anymore. Then it will be the opponent’s turn to get impatient and make mistakes and then you will see flashes of the explosive Chiefs offense that has thrilled us the last few years.
Until then, expect some growing pains. But I have a hunch Patrick Mahomes and Reid are gonna be ok.