What will it take for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to finally silence his critics in 2022? On the QB’s expectations and why they’ve grown so sky-high.
It is hard to imagine, but there are people who still question Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but he can do a lot this season to silence those doubters forever. This discussion about Mahomes heated up when ESPN analyst Sam Acho created a top-five quarterback list in the NFL and did not have Mahomes in it. According to Acho, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, and Joe Burrow are better than Mahomes.
I know everyone reading this is considering this take flat embarrassing for Acho because we all have Mahomes as the best quarterback in league with no discussion. It’s ok if someone falls in love with what Allen has become or even that Burrow is now 2-0 against Mahomes. However, to have him out of the top five entirely is just laughable. While most people spoke out against Acho, it was not unanimous. That means there are people (outside of Chiefs Kingdom) who question his greatness despite all he’s done, so it begs the question what can he do to remove all doubters?
Recent Performance By Chiefs QB Has Opened Door For Doubters
The main questions about Mahomes stem from his “down year” last season for the Chiefs. First, let’s all laugh at what a “down year” for him looks like. He tied his career-high completion percentage at 66.3% and threw for his second-most career yards at 4,839. He also had 37 touchdowns while only throwing 13 interceptions. Now 13 interceptions is a lot for Mahomes, but it was just one more than Tom Brady (12) and less than Burrow (14), Allen (15), and Stafford (17). He also had his career-high in rushing yards with 381 in 2021.
But yes for Mahomes, that was a down year just from the eye test. He was forcing more balls than usual and trying to do too much. This was odd because the offense still had plenty of weapons and he wasn’t battling any injuries. I still believe personally that Eric Bieniemy was a bad play caller and he and Mahomes just didn’t work well together. Luckily they fixed that by handing the play-calling duties back to Andy Reid and bringing back Matt Nagy to work with Mahomes.
Chiefs’ Season Success Has Inflated Expectations For Mahomes
The bad taste in some people’s mouths is still there after his dismal performance in the second half of the AFC Championship game when the Chiefs eventually lost to the Bengals. There is no nice way to sugarcoat it; Mahomes played awful. The reason why doesn’t even matter; in that position a player like Mahomes should be able to overcome and finish the job. Even still, the most important thing is to remember that in four years, Mahomes’ worst finish to a season has been overtime losses in the AFC Championship game.
This makes Mahomes ability to silence any doubters tougher than most because at this point he has to at least make the Super Bowl to not finish worse. But I don’t think that will be enough. I think that Mahomes will have to have an MVP-level regular season to start with. That will silence any doubters that claim he can’t be as great without Tyreek Hill as a weapon. I think he will need to throw for at least 5,000 yards, 40 touchdowns, and less than 10 interceptions.
That will silence the doubters who are questioning his abilities to be productive without Hill. The next step will then be what really matters; the playoffs. He can do no worse than making the Super Bowl for the third time in his five-year career. Even still, if he loses the Super Bowl a second time he will still have doubters who will say he’s more like Jim Kelly than Tom Brady because of his record in the big game. To truly silence all the doubters, Mahomes has to win the Super Bowl in 2022.
It is very sad to think that Mahomes has to win his second Super Bowl to quiet doubters who have quarterbacks over him that haven’t won a playoff game yet. That is the reality that he is living in as the best quarterback in football. He’s the young star and too many people have gotten sick of how great he’s been so early. Mahomes has dominated basically every other quarterback that the talking heads try to match him up against. Everyone is waiting for that next Brady-Manning rivalry. To this point that just hasn’t happened.
Lamar Jackson was the first, but he’s fallen off the radar as a threat to Mahomes. Baker Mayfield was the next guy, and yeah, we all still need a few minutes to wipe the tears away from laughing so hard at that. Then it was Justin Herbert, but he can’t even make the playoffs, let alone win a playoff game to compete. Allen has been the closest anyone has come, but despite some amazing games, he can’t get the win over Mahomes when it counts.
Now as of today, that rival is Burrow. He beat Mahomes twice last year, including in the playoffs. He’s only the second quarterback Mahomes has lost to in the playoffs joining Brady. We all know the eye test showed Mahomes outplayed Burrow in each game, but Burrow got the win and that’s what counts. Mahomes needs to beat Burrow this season and beat him handily to shut up any notion that there is a rivalry there.
If Mahomes beats Burrow handily that nobody can question his head-to-head records. If he continues his video game statistics regular season then he’ll quiet anyone doubting that he can’t do it without his weapons. Finally, he needs to win the Super Bowl to shut anyone up who has anything else negative to say. If he does all three of these things, and I would bet that he does then he will be back as the unquestioned greatest in the game today.
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