Let’s Pump the Brakes on Patrick Mahomes

This isn’t intended to be a Patrick Mahomes hate article. Mahomes is a very talented quarterback who’s doing a lot of things right at the moment. However, I think we need to stop anointing him as the second coming of Brett Favre. While his numbers are great this year, this doesn’t mean that he’s ready to be called an elite quarterback. We are going to look at some NFL Next Gen stats to see why Mahomes isn’t all he’s cracked up to be.

First off, for anyone who loves football, NFL Next Gen stats are awesome. They give you so many in depth stats and charts to look at which helps give you the full picture of an individual performance or a full season. Let’s start with Mahomes 6 TD game from Monday night. When looking at his chart for the game, 3 of those TDs were  completed within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. One of them was completed 10 yards downfield. One was a bomb to a WIDE open Tyreek Hill (the defender covering him fell) and one was a nice pass for about 30 yards. This is a pattern than you see with a lot of Mahomes charts. He throws a lot of short passes that his explosive weapons turn into huge gains. With Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce, and Sammy Watkins, there’s just too many options to cover. These guys are able to get open on short routes and turn them into TDs. An interesting stat is Completed Air Yards (CAY). CAY tells you how far in the air completed passes travel. Mahomes averages 6.6 yards per completion, which is good for 8th in the league. While this number seems pretty good, it’s grossly inflated. Tyreek Hill is able to get open downfield a lot. And because of his immense speed he’s able to get wide open. So open in fact that Mahomes’ margin for error is very large. The throw becomes very easy when there isn’t a defender within 10 yards of your receiver, even if the pass is 50 yards downfield.

I’m not saying that Pat Mahomes is bad. He’s a very talented player. His arm strength and athletic ability allows him to make some unbelievable plays. But he’s not the next Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers, at least not yet. The Chiefs offense is designed to get the ball into their playmakers’ hands quickly. Remember, this is the same offense that produced a fringe MVP season for Alex Smith. The difference is, it improved a lot over the offseason with the addition of Sammy Watkins and the growth of Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill. I’ll leave you with this: In his last 5 games, Mahomes has thrown 19 TDs. 13 of those were completed within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. By comparison, only 6 of Drew Brees’ last 17 TDs have traveled less than 10 yards and only 7 of Goff’s last 20 have done the same.

-Stephen Brown III (@sbtrey23)

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