Patrick Mahomes has had an impressive start to the 2018 season for the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s completed nearly 64% of his passes for over 1800 yards and 18 touchdowns in six games. He has only thrown four interceptions thus far and would be on pace for a 3200-yard season with 36 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. These would be good numbers for a starting quarterback, but what makes Mahomes even more impressive is this is his second season and the first one as the starter.
Kansas City has the best record in the AFC going 5-1 so far. He has led the Chiefs offense to 215 points, 40 more than any other team in the conference. These are all impressive and should be respected, however, I suggest the mindset of not believing the hype just yet. There have been multiple young quarterbacks who degressed after starting off strong recently, and until proven otherwise I see Mahomes falling in this category. Here are a few examples of recent quarterbacks who took over the league early and had a lot of fans believing in them only to fall off and cause doubt throughout the NFL.
Hop Off the Patrick Mahomes Hype Train (For Now)
The signal caller of the Dallas Cowboys had more pressure than most quarterbacks, starting for America’s team after Tony Romo got injured. Not only did he meet the minimal expectations by fans, but he exceeded them. He and running back Ezekiel Elliott took the league by storm going 13-3 their rookie season and earning the top seed in the NFC. Prescott won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, the first Cowboy to do so since Emmitt Smith. He completed 67.8% of his passes for 3600 yards and 23 touchdowns. As a rookie, he only threw four interceptions which is remarkable since most rookies struggle with decision making early on. He also made an impact on the ground, rushing for six touchdowns and nearly 300 yards.
The future looked bright in Dallas, as Dak, Zeke and Dez looked to be the next Troy Aikman, Smith, and Michael Irvin trio. This was not the case, as the Green Bay Packers beat them at home in the divisional round. Even with the loss expectations were sky high coming into 2017. Prescott took a dip in stats with 3300 yards, 23 touchdowns and, 13 picks. Elliott went from 1631 yards and 15 touchdowns to under 1000 yards and seven scores. He was suspended a few games, however, it’s still a significant drop-off. Dallas went from the number one playoff seed to out of the playoffs winning nine games. They went 3-5 at home compared to 7-1 the year before. They are currently 3-3 but winless on the road. I wouldn’t call Prescott a one year wonder just yet, but it’s clear he hasn’t been as dominant since his rookie season. Like Mahomes right now, he had all the hype and promise but has taken a slight fall since.
I will not be mentioning anything relating to the national anthem protests, as I previously wrote an article about it. On the field as a player, Colin Kaepernick took over in 2012 for an injured Alex Smith and in seven starts went 5-2. This included wins against the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots, and the win versus New England made him the only quarterback under 25 to win in Foxborough against Tom Brady. This record was nearly matched by Mahomes but still stands.
In their five wins, the San Francisco 49ers scored 27 or more points. Kaepernick threw for 1800 yards and 10 touchdowns in seven starts. He used his legs as well, 415 rushing yards and five touchdowns including a 50-yard score. He led the 49ers to the top seed in the NFC and led them to the Super Bowl throwing nearly 800 yards in three games. He continued to use his legs effectively, with 264 on the ground and three scores to lead the 49ers within three points of a championship. After the Super Bowl loss to the Baltimore Ravens, he continued to show promise throwing 3100 yards the next two seasons. In 2014 however, the 49ers went from consecutive double-digit wins to 8-8 and out of the playoffs. 2015 was when he really fell off, only starting nine games throwing 1600 yards and 6 touchdowns. The following season he improved a bit with 2200 yards and 16 touchdowns in 12 games. The 49ers won a combined seven games these two seasons. Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly took some of the blame, however, this was a very sudden drop off for Kaepernick. He went from being seen as the future star of football to out of the league within two years. How much the protests had to do is debatable, however, the drop off in stats is enough to justify why he no longer has a job.
Patrick Mahomes is having an incredible start to the season, however, we’ve seen other quarterbacks such as Robert Griffin III and Sam Bradford start off strong and completely flop within a few years. Whether injuries, coaching, or just a pure decline we’ve seen it enough that I no longer believe the hype until multiple seasons at a high level. Mahomes absolutely has the potential to become a star, but until he does what he’s doing for a few seasons he will be another name added to this list of one-year wonders.
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