Mahomes vs. the best of the AFC
Knowing that he is currently struggling, let’s see how the “broken” Patrick Mahomes stacks up against some of the rest of the AFC through Week 13. The six quarterbacks we will compare him to are those of the teams that are currently in the AFC playoff picture.
First is the first-seeded Patriots rookie Mac Jones. He has completed 70% of his passes, and has thrown for 16 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, and a total of 2,869 yards. Mahomes has a lesser completion percentage, but has attempted 94 more passes. That said, the primary advantage in favor of Jones is his throwing 4 fewer interceptions on the year. If you were to eliminate the passes that were intercepted in succession to a Chiefs drop, the difference between these two disappears completely.
Second is the signal caller for the two-seed Titans Ryan Tannehill. He has completed 53 less passes than Mahomes, his QBR is 3 points less, and he has thrown only 14 touchdowns to compliment 13 interceptions. This is the quarterback of the same Tennessee team that laid a 27-3 beat down on the Chiefs in Week 7. The Sunday night victory this week tied the Chiefs and Titans overall records at 8-4, and Tennessee seems to be on a slippery slope with back-to-back losses to the Texans and Patriots. Bottom line, if they find themselves in need of top-tier quarterback play down the stretch, they will be in trouble.
Third is the first legitimate dual-threat quarterback on the list, Lamar Jackson. As a passer, Mahomes has a significant edge over Jackson. The Ravens QB has completed the least amount of passes on this list with 242 and is boasting only 16 passing touchdowns alongside his 13 picks. He’s also provided two touchdowns and 762 yards on the ground. What sets Lamar apart is his legs, but on the other hand, Mahomes has nabbed two touchdowns on the ground as well, and has rushed for 250 yards. He’ll never be a 1,000 yard rusher, but once again, the worst version of Patrick Mahomes is statistically more efficient than the opponent.
Next up is divisional foe, and fellow gunslinger, Justin Herbert. The Chargers, who were the preseason AFC West favorites for many, have had an up-and-down season. The defense has proven to be soft on occasion, and the team seems to lack the ability to put games away. Herbert himself, however, is poised to improve upon the numbers of his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2020. With a stat line a tick ahead of Mahomes, the sophomore has proven efficient. He’s connected on 66% of his throws, has 27 passing touchdowns, 11 interceptions and over 3,500 yards through 13 weeks. He is on track to have the best season amongst QBs in the division, and will be a worthy opponent for years to come.
Another second year cat, Joe Burrow, is putting on his first full season display after going down with a torn ACL and MCL in Week 10 last year. Burrow was the tightest competition for Herbert in terms of the Offensive Rookie of the Year title last year before going down, so there were high hopes for his return. While he has done well, and currently has the Bengals in the playoff picture, his numbers aren’t much better than Mahomes’ stats either. He’s completed more passes (315), but has thrown less touchdowns (23), and more interceptions (14).
Finally, there is Josh Allen. Much like the Bills season as a whole, Allen’s year has left much to be desired. The most interesting thing about drawing comparison between these two is just how similar they are, and how differently their triumphs and failures are dissected in the national narrative. This year, Allen has a 65% completion rating, 26 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and 3,216 yards. Nearly identical numbers to Mahomes. However, when people talk about Josh Allen, they tend to mention his youth and improvement from when he first entered the league, as opposed to his struggles. Allen is 25 years old. Mahomes is 26. Both have been full-time starters since 2018, and Mahomes’ worst season yet is equivalent to Allen’s second best.