Heading into the Kansas City Chiefs’ bye week, quarterback Patrick Mahomes is on pace for 4,777 yards passing, 44 passing touchdowns, and two interceptions. That touchdown-to-interception ratio is absurd. No quarterback in NFL history has thrown for more than 40 touchdowns and fewer than five interceptions in the same season.
In 2018, Mahomes' first year as a starter that coincided with his first NFL MVP campaign, he threw for 5,097 yards, 50 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Those were ridiculous numbers and set an unprecedented standard that many thought would be tough to touch again in his career.
While the number 50 really stands out from 2018, Mahomes is a much more refined quarterback in 2020. He's said as much in press conferences this year. He's smarter and understands defenses at a higher level. There is a great argument that a 4,800-yard, 45-touchdown, four-interception season is even more impressive than a 5,000-yard, 50-touchdown, 12-interception year. Regardless, both are incredible seasons and MVP-worthy, presenting a Mahomes vs. Mahomes debate for the ages.
Within these conversations about Mahomes, however, we shouldn't let the long-term view overshadow what we're seeing in the moment. We should enjoy Mahomes and his greatness while it's happening. It’s difficult at times to not think about all of the records Mahomes will go on to break, but let’s enjoy what is happening in 2020.
Mahomes has thrown for 2,687 yards, 25 touchdowns and only one interception through nine games. He has completed 66.9% of his passes. He has a 115.9 quarterback rating. Ridiculous numbers from a quarterback who has often been an afterthought in MVP debates.
When you take Mahomes’ stats through his first 40 games (postseason included) and compare it to some of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, things start to get a little bit wild.
What Mahomes did in his first 40 games compared to what many NFL Hall of Famers did in the best 40-game stretch of their career is remarkable. It puts Mahomes on a trajectory to be in the greatest-of-all-time conversation and he just turned 25 years old.
If you add to the numbers from his games since the chart above was created, Mahomes' career totals (postseason included) now sit at 13,573 passing yards, 114 touchdowns, and 22 interceptions. This past week he surpassed Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino as the fastest quarterback to throw 100 career regular-season touchdown passes. The sky is the limit for Mahomes.
Oops, there we go projecting again. It’s fun to think about Mahomes’ potential career numbers, but let’s get back to where we are today.
The Chiefs are having a much-deserved week off. They’ll be back at it with revenge on their minds when they take on the Las Vegas Raiders next weekend. Mahomes hasn’t forgotten his only interception this season happened on a fourth-and-long late in the fourth quarter against the Raiders. He will be ready to put the hammer down on the Raiders in prime time during the Chiefs’ first trip to Vegas.
A few other key matchups coming up during the home stretch of the season are two road games against future Hall of Famers. Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the horizon in Week 11. Mahomes is looking to even the all-time series against Brady with a win. Mahomes’ first-ever matchup against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints will feature one of the top Super Bowl contenders from each conference.
There are a couple of fun divisional rematches down the line against young up-and-coming quarterbacks in the Denver Broncos’ Drew Lock and Los Angeles Chargers’ Justin Herbert. The Chiefs will also battle the wild card-chasing Miami Dolphins and rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The Chiefs' Week 16 matchup against Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons could very well be a shootout and play out down to the final seconds like the Chiefs’ game against the Carolina Panthers last week.
All of those games will provide Mahomes even more opportunities to show the league that he deserves to be named the most valuable player in the sport for the second time in three years. But while you're watching, don’t overthink the greatness. Enjoy each time Mahomes takes the field as this once-in-a-lifetime quarterback continues to climb to the top of the record books.