Kansas City Chiefs fans are watching one of the most sudden falls from grace in recent football memory, and a primary contributor to this tumble seems to be the city’s hero, Patrick Mahomes.
There are a lot of factors that play into a team’s struggles and losses. But in a sport like American football, where a single position becomes the focal point of the game itself, a quarterback’s problems are often difficult to hide.
This is not an article calling for the benching of one of the league’s brightest stars, but since Mahomes arrived in Kansas City, he has managed to escape criticism from sports media. Granted, there are plenty of players who are impeding the success of the so-called Reid-Mahomes dynasty, but Patrick simply isn’t playing like his 2018 MVP self.
We knew this day was coming.
The NFL produces some of the most brutal competition found in American sports, and weaknesses will absolutely be exposed through the grit of the gridiron. Mahomes came into the 2017 draft with several negative notes about his ability to play one of the hardest positions in sports.
“He’s developed some bad habits and doesn’t have a very repeatable process as a passer,” his draft profile says. “He will have to prove he can operate with better anticipation and be willing to take what the defense gives him in order to win from the pocket.”
Mahomes sat behind Alex Smith in 2017, as we all know, and when he arrived on the scene in 2018, he forced the eyes of every football fan to watch. Mahomes seemed to delete every negative note talent scouts made about his game and breezed his way to MVP and Super Bowl MVP.
Here we are now in 2021 watching the man who put Kansas City on the map do his part in putting the Chiefs in the loss column. We tune in to watch the supposed best quarterback in football inexplicably abandon clean pockets, heave unnecessary throws to opposing defenders, and fail to produce in big moments.
The Chiefs’ struggle realistically started in Tampa Bay, where Mahomes and the offense could not produce a touchdown and looked like a sub .500 team. Mahomes even admitted after Super Bowl LV that he left the pocket when pressure wasn’t there. Why was this flaw in his game not addressed in the off-season?
Halfway into the season, Mahomes looks like a terrified rookie with no discipline, desperately trying to make plays that aren’t there. Even in games the Chiefs have won, fans still leave Arrowhead Stadium scratching their heads wondering why he can’t just step up in the pocket and throw the ball.
Running around like a kid in the backyard and whipping the ball downfield was cute while it lasted, but it’s time to grow up. With the damage Mahomes unleashed on defenses for the last three seasons, it really is no wonder opponents eagerly and quickly adapted to stop his unsustainable play style.
The Chiefs’ only options at this point? Coach Mahomes into a sharp, quick-release quarterback archetype that has found success in this league since the invention of the forward pass, or they can continue to struggle in a league that simply “figured out” Patrick Mahomes.