Patrick Mahomes is going to come back down to earth... right?
Because this is getting ridiculous. After a three-touchdown performance in a 38-27 win over the San Francisco 49ers, the Chiefs’ second-year quarterback has 13 passing touchdowns in his first three starts—with no interceptions—which means he's on pace to throw for 84 touchdowns in a 16-game season. So, yes, unless you believe a first-year starter is going to set flame to the NFL record book, we can assume Mahomes will return to the mean. Problem is, it's just hard to see when.
It would be easy to say Kansas City’s running game is setting him up with second-and-medium or third-and-short passes, and the real trouble will come when the Chiefs can't run the ball at will. But Mahomes completed 24 of 39 passes for 314 yards on a day when running back when Kareem Hunt was largely ineffective on the ground against a capable 49ers defensive line. Hunt carried the ball six times in the first half, for 15 yards with two goal-line touchdown runs. Again and again, Mahomes delivered on third-and-long and even fourth-and-short, scrambling for a first down during a first-quarter touchdown drive.
You might argue the 49ers didn’t do much to pressure the young quarterback, but Mahomes was hit eight times after releasing the ball and sacked twice; his best throw—officially a four-yard touchdown pass to Chris Conley on the run in the right back corner of the end zone—came after he escaped pressure early in his dropback, scrambled left then reversed field a la Russell Wilson and fired a stinger into the corner of the end zone.
You want poise under pressure? How about a bad snap on third-and-five, and the presence of mind to pick up the bouncing call, settle his feet and fire a strike to Travis Kelce for 21 yards and a first down on another eventual touchdown drive.
The Chiefs didn’t punt to the 49ers until there were 11:43 left in the third quarter, when San Francisco showed signs of life and eventually made the game respectable. But this was domination, from beginning to end. Now we wait another week, for Monday night when Kansas City travels to Denver to face the Broncos, to see if anyone has an answer for the most thrilling performer on the most prolific offense we’ve seen in quite some time.