Vahe Gregorian: Why reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes will be a better quarterback this season
At this time a year ago, the NFL profile of Patrick Mahomes consisted of his promising debut in a late-season game at Denver the year before and impressive-but-inconclusive hints in his preseason performances. © Jill Toyoshiba/Kansas City Star/TNS Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrates with fans before a preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers on August 24, 2019, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. Even as anticipation bubbled for the kid with a launch-pad for a right arm, caution lights flashed about how quickly he could become the sort of force that might change fortunes for the Chiefs.
Small sample size aside, what Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has done in the first two weekends of this new NFL season has him on pace to shatter records. © Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Last season, his first as an NFL starter, Mahomes passed for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns, becoming the second quarterback in history to eclipse the 5,000-yard mark and throw at least 50 touchdowns.
Not surprisingly, he won league MVP for his efforts.
The big picture: At his current pace, Mahomes will not only smash his own best effort, but he’s on his way to re-writing history and setting benchmarks nobody in their right mind could have seen coming.
Watch: Crazy sequence as Mahomes hurt, Jack ejected for throwing punch
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Josh Allen came screaming off the edge and sacked Patrick Mahomes, who fumbled the ball and suffered an injury. © Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports Here's the video, #Chiefs Patrick Mahomes looks injured. Matt Moore is now their QB. pic.twitter.com/dLtNACM33Y— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 8, 2019 Mahomes had been on fire to open the game, and as the Kansas City Chiefs drove toward the end zone once more, the injury took place. As Mahomes was being carried off the field, Myles Jack threw a punch in a fight in the end zone and was ejected from the game.
Here’s what Mahomes has done so far:
- Week 1 vs. Jacksonville: 378 yards and three touchdowns.
- Week 2 vs. Oakland: 443 yards and four touchdowns (all thrown in the second quarter).
It’s worth noting that Jacksonville rebounded with a stellar defensive performance against Houston, which has a ton of offensive firepower and a terrific young quarterback. It’s also worth pointing out that the Oakland Raiders dominated their Week 1 opponent defensively.
So, what Mahomes has done so far can’t simply be brushed aside as having dominated lesser competition.
The projection: When you extrapolate Mahomes’ first two games over a 16-game season, the results are astounding.
- Averaging 410.5 yards and 3.5 touchdowns per game, Mahomes is on pace to throw for an absurd 6,568 yards and 56 touchdowns.
Previous records for both marks have been set by Peyton Manning.
Mahomes' 4 TDs in 2nd quarter lead Chiefs past Raiders 28-10
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes bounced back from the first scoreless opening quarter of his career in the regular season by throwing four touchdown passes in a near perfect second period that led the Kansas City Chiefs to a 28-10 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. The Raiders (1-1) held Mahomes in check for the opening 15 minutes before he carved up an overmatched defense with big play after big play in the second quarter for the Chiefs (2-0). Mahomes didn't take long to strike, finding Demarcus Robinson open on a blown coverage for a 44-yard touchdown pass on the first play in the second quarter. He didn't slow down from there.
- During his legendary 2013 campaign, Manning passed for an NFL-record 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns.
Mahomes could get better, not worse: What makes this even more stunning is the fact that Mahomes is doing this without star wideout Tyreek Hill, who is one of the most dynamic big-play receivers in the NFL. Hill was injured in the first quarter of Week 1 and is likely to be out at least a few weeks longer.
In Hill’s absence, Mahomes has made two other players his go-to receivers.
- Week 1: Sammy Watkins caught nine passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns.
- Week 2: Demarcus Robinson caught seven passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
Don’t forget Mahomes, 23, also has at his disposal Travis Kelce, who is one of the most dangerous tight ends in football. Mahomes also has backfield mates Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy — both of whom are dangerous in the passing game.
The bottom line: Simply put, what Mahomes is doing in his second year as the starter in Andy Reid’s quarterback-friendly offense is astounding.
Top 10 NFL quarterbacks heading into Week 3
Here is a look at the top-10 quarterbacks around the NFL heading into Week 3. 1- Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs© Kyle Terada-USA TODAY SportsOtherworldly. That’s the best way to describe Mahomes’ second-quarter performance against the Oakland Raiders last week. He went for nearly 300 passing yards and four touchdowns. In. 15. Minutes. That’s about one of the craziest stat lines we’ve ever seen. Mahomes has now thrown for a league-leading 821 yards to go with seven touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 136.3 quarterback rating on the season. Yeah, this kid might be good.
He’s poised to set a new bar for quarterback greatness, and it won’t be the least bit surprising if he ends up making his 2018 MVP season look like child’s play when he’s done this year.
Related slideshow: Our 40 favorite ESPN personalities of all time (Provided by Yardbarker)
Olbermann was one of the first stars of “SportsCenter.” His deadpan delivery and heaping helping of snark helped shape the voice of the show. Eventually, Olbermann would work his way into political television before returning to ESPN for a while to combine the two. Taylor Hill/FilmMagic
There’s dry senses of humor, and then there’s Kenny Mayne. Famously, he got his first gig at a still relatively fresh ESPN by sending the network a note asking to hire him, including boxes to check. ESPN must have liked his style, because his deadpan delivery has been part of “SportsCenter” off and on since the ‘90s. ESPN even gave him a comedy show online for a little while, which featured a young, up-and-coming comedian named Ben Schwartz. Mat Hayward/Getty Images for 1st Family Foundation
Scott was one of the first black faces to carve out a niche on ESPN. This made him a tremendous inspiration to many who followed in his footsteps. Without Scott, would “Boo Yah!” have ever become a catchphrase? Sadly, Scott passed away in 2015 at the age of 49. His legacy will not be forgotten. Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Buccigross has been a part of ESPN since 1996. While he’s been a “SportsCenter” staple, he’s particularly loved by hockey fans. After the network shunted hockey to the side, Bucci Mane wouldn’t let the sport die on the "worldwide Leader." He’s also the man behind the popular Bucci Overtime Challenge on Twitter and perhaps the world’s most-famous college hockey fan. Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images
Drake loves Doris Burke, and we strongly agree. Whether she’s a sideline reporter or working as an analyst on the call, Burke is one of the best announcers in all of basketball. She’s smart, insightful and knows how to ask great questions. Plus, she can dribble between her legs in heels! Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Bill Walton isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. However, his presence is undeniable. Big Bill, the Hall of Fame player and renowned Deadhead, is not the most professional of broadcasters, but his whimsical, roundabout way of calling games is always a delight. Denis Poroy/Getty Images
When he’s not dropping Young Jeezy lyrics on Twitter, Bilas is the best college basketball analyst you are going to find. He’s been vital to ESPN for years, both as a writer and as a TV personality. Plus, Bilas has been banging the drum for college athletes to get paid for as long as any prominent sports personality. Rich Barnes/Getty Images
With Corso, it all comes down to one thing. Every week on ESPN’s college football pregame show, Corso is called upon to make a prediction. He does it with as much pomp and circumstance as anybody. We’ve been watching him don mascot heads for over a decade at this point, and it has yet to get old. Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Mel Kiper Jr.
Kiper made “NFL Draft analyst” a thing. He’s the name most associated with the draft, which he’s watched become a huge event every year. The growth of the NFL Draft has helped turn Kiper into a name so well-known that Frank Caliendo does an impression of him. Eventually, the NFL will have a draft without Kiper as part of it, and it’s going to feel strange. Chris McGrath/Getty Images
The early days of ESPN were kind of a boy’s club, but Cohn has been hosting “SportsCenter” for years. Seriously, she started the gig in 1992 and she’s still there. Cohn has been with ESPN as long as anybody, making her one of the first faces we think of when it comes to the network. Also, she used to be a hockey goalie and maybe still is. Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Paley Center for Media
Fowler has been the straight man for ESPN’s college football coverage for years. He’s the professional announcer who used to host the pregame show on Saturdays before he took over for Brent Musburger as the play-by-play man for ESPN’s main game on Saturdays. When he isn’t calling college football’s biggest games, Fowler also is a play-by-play guy for the big tennis tournaments. Gary Miller/Getty Images
Breen is probably the best NBA announcer working today. He can make watching the Knicks worthwhile, which is really saying something. Whether he’s wrangling Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson or getting to call the game with somebody a little more straight-laced, Breen’s voice is always a pleasure to hear. Presley Ann/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald
Scott Van Pelt
Van Pelt started as a pretty straightforward announcer on “SportCenter.” Since then, though, he’s built his personal brand within ESPN. It started with him being one of the primary voices of ESPN Radio for years, and then the network gave Van Pelt his chance to turn his own “SportsCenter” hour into a new thing. Mostly, he just talks about gambling and betting with his buddies, but Van Pelt has certainly carved out his niche. Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
At this point, a lot of people probably think of Eisen as the face of NFL Network. Before he moved to that new, fledgling network though he was one of the primary “SportsCenter” anchors. He was primarily paired with Stuart Scott, which was certainly a dynamic duo for seven years. Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Nichols may feel like a jack, or jill, of all trades, but she also feels like a master of some. She’s popped up all over ESPN over the years, often during football coverage. However, after a spell with CNN, Nichols returned to the network to help create and host “The Jump,” a new NBA show. Be it football or basketball, we’ve been seeing Nichols’ red hair on our TV for years. David Becker/Getty Images
Ley joined ESPN in 1979, just a few days after the network hit the air. He proceeded to be a part of the network until June of 2019, when he finally retired. Of all the things he did, though, “Outside the Lines” seemed to be his baby. It was a show that allowed him to get serious, get political and talk the straight talk. Ley’s presence will be missed. Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Paley Center for Media
After ESPN got the rights to "Monday Night Football," its presentation lagged a bit for a while. Then, Gruden got the ax from the Tampa Bay Bucs and headed to the booth, and he immediately made an impact. The man known as "Chucky" always had a personality even as a coach. Getting to turn it up to 11 in the booth just bolstered his image more. Now, of course, he's going to be coaching for a while, as the Raiders gave him a staggering 10-year contract. AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Levy was a great hockey broadcaster, though he hasn’t had a chance to cover it much since ESPN limited coverage of the NHL. In that time, though, he got to call the three-longest televised NHL playoff games of all time. He’s also quite good on “SportsCenter” or calling football as well, which he has done more of in recent years. Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Though he was stuck with Joe Morgan for many years, Miller was still a tremendous baseball announcer. “Sunday Night Baseball” hasn’t been the same without Miller, who had that classic baseball announcing voice. Plus, he also made a great effort to pronounce non-English names right, especially those emanating from Latin America. Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Kolber deserves our love if only for handling that Joe Namath incident with aplomb. Since then, she’s moved from sideline reporting to hosting studio shows. In particular, Kolber took over as the host of “Monday Night Countdown” in 2015. Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Before there was Adam Schefter and Jay Glazer, there was John Clayton. He was ESPN’s preeminent football reporter from 1995 through getting let go in 2017. Also, there was that one ESPN commercial he starred in that was quite funny, further cementing his status as an ESPN legend. Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM
If we’re thinking of a soccer announcer associated with ESPN, Darke is probably the first name you think of. Unlike a lot of soccer’s game callers, Darke was brimming with enthusiasm and energy. Of course, he still had a British accent, which helped. His calls during the 2010 World Cup, especially the United States win over Algeria, will keep him in the hearts of soccer fans in the USA for years to come. Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Baseball and Peter Gammons go hand-in-hand. In addition to his legendary writing career, he was given the Spink Award by the folks who vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame, Gammons was one of the faces, perhaps the face, of “Baseball Tonight” for many years. Gammons left ESPN in 2009 after 20 years, and his presence is still missed. Rich Pilling/MLB via Getty Images
Kurkjian has been sort of the heir apparent to Peter Gammons in some ways, though one person can’t fill Gammons’ shoes alone. In addition to his writing duties, Kurkjian was often on “Baseball Tonight,” and you can hear his distinct cackle during baseball games throughout the year. He’s also known for collecting esoteric stats. Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Brown had quite the NBA coaching career. He won Coach of the Year twice, once in 1978 and once in 2004, which he won after spending years not coaching but instead broadcasting. After he left coaching again, Brown joined ESPN , immediately becoming one of its primary commentators. He’s no longer on the top team — he lost that gig to the flashier names of Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson — but for our money he’s better than that duo. Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Love him or hate him, Berman made a massive impact on ESPN. His personality was always at the forefront. All his little quirks and nicknames became synonymous with sports coverage. Berman was a ubiquitous presence for many years, and even if he wasn’t always your cup of tea, he was, in many ways, the personification of ESPN. Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Reali began life at ESPN in a fairly small role. He was the “Stat Boy” on “Pardon the Interruption,” showing up at the end of the show to provide corrections and facts. This was but a stepping stone, as suddenly he was hosting “Around the Horn.” He’s been in that role since 2009, making him one of the more reliable faces on the network. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images For ESPN
When they make a sitcom about your life, you’ve made an unusual impact on culture for a sportswriter/TV personality. The current plethora of talking head debate shows can all be traced back to “Pardon the Interruption.” For a while, Kornheiser also brought his curmudgeonly presence to “Monday Night Football,” where he worked as one of the announcers. That didn’t last, but “PTI” certainly has. Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
And then there’s Kornheiser’s “Pardon the Interruption” partner. We could have even put Wilbon and Kornheiser in the same slide. These two are tied together in the minds of ESPN fans forever. While they have had many an exasperated debate on TV, they also garnered a legion of dedicated fans in that time. Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Patrick joined ESPN way back in 1989, and quickly he and Keith Olbermann combined forces to help shape “SportsCenter.” He’s partially responsible for the catchphrase “This is SportsCenter” and reported he was one of the inspirations for the Aaron Sorkin show “Sports Night.” Patrick was also one of the voices of ESPN Radio for many years, until both his gigs ended when he left ESPN in 2007. Since then he’s continued to work in radio and was also on NBC for many years. Donna Ward/Getty Images
Saunders was always a reliable presence in the studio for ESPN. A former college hockey player, Saunders was an NHL studio hosts for years, but he’s probably better known for being the studio host for college football. He also took over as the host of “The Sports Reporters” from Dick Schaap. Sadly, Saunders passed away in 2016 at the age of 61. Marc Stamas/Getty Images
If you watched Chris Berman hosting an NFL show, you probably saw Jackson by his side. He was right there, playing into Berman’s quips but also providing his own style. The two formed a duo way back in 1987, and they continued to work together on football coverage for decades. Jackson retired in 2016 but not before winning the Pete Rozelle Award for broadcasting excellence from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
When you think “hockey” and “ESPN,” odds are the first name you think of is Barry Melrose. For years, he’s been sort of the de facto hockey guy for the network. He’s there with his mullet, and often his beard, being folksy and rocking a Canadian accent. On the occasions where there has been a hockey game to call, Melrose has been a part of that. Even people who aren’t hockey fans are quite familiar with Melrose. Rebecca Taylor/NHLI via Getty Images
Storm has been all over ESPN. For many years she anchored the weekday morning “SportsCenter” broadcasts and also popped up on NFL and NBA coverage. Outside the realm of ESPN, Storm also made history in 2018. She and Andrea Kremer combined to become the first female duo to call an NFL game, which they did on Amazon Prime. Noam Galai/Getty Images
You can probably hear Chris Berman throwing to Kremer in your head when you think of ESPN’s NFL coverage. She often appeared on both “Sunday NFL Countdown” and “Monday Night Countdown” while also being on “SportsCenter” and “Outside the Lines.” Kremer is quite an accomplished sports journalist, having won a Peabody Award. After leaving ESPN in 2006, she moved to NBC, even working as a sideline reporter for a Super Bowl. Plus, let’s not forget her calling NFL games for Amazon Prime. George Gojkovich/Getty Images
After joining ESPN in 2000, Tafoya became a staple on the sidelines on Monday nights. She also did work on NBA games, college basketball games and was a substitute host on “Pardon the Interruption.” While she left ESPN for NBC in 2011, that gave us a decade of seeing Tafoya all over ESPN, especially if you are a football fan. Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Stephen A. Smith
Yes, Stephen A. Smith is a hot take machine. He’s ridiculous and bombastic. Some people can’t stand him. And yet he’s one of the faces of ESPN. You can’t talk about the debate show era of ESPN without mentioning Smith. His yelling face is the avatar of the network in many ways. Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
For years, Greenberg and Mike Golic were the hosts of “Mike and Mike in the Morning,” ESPN’s morning radio show. They were the first voices many people heard in the morning. In addition to his radio gig, though, Greenberg would show up to host “SportsCenter” or handle other gigs. After “Mike and Mike” ended in 2017, Greenberg became one of the hosts of ESPN’s new morning show “Get Up!” Desiree Navarro/WireImage
Speaking of “Get Up!” Beadle is one of the other hosts of that show. She’s been bringing her sense of humor and personality to the ESPN airwaves since she got a gig on “SportsNation” back in 2009. There was a period of time when she left the network and ended up at NBC, but she returned to the worldwide leader, getting into the podcast game and carving out a new role. Her most prominent gig now, aside from the morning show, is hosting “NBA Countdown.” Leon Bennett/WireImage
In addition to a lot of baseball play-by-play work — he’s now the voice of the Dodgers —Steiner was a staple of ESPN for many years. He’s famous for a couple of things. One is for his roles in those classic “This is SportsCenter” ads, like the Y2K one. Also, he has one of the most replayed moments from early ESPN, when he quipped that Carl Lewis’ rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” had been written by “Francis Scott Off Key.” Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Watch: Fitzgerald passes Gonzalez to become No. 2 all-time receptions leader .
Cardinals veteran receiver Larry Fitzgerald passed Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez on the NFL’s all-time receptions list. © Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY SportsThe reception was the 1,326th of his career, and now only the great Jerry Rice has more catches than Fitzgerald in NFL history..@LarryFitzgerald has passed Hall of Fame TE Tony Gonzalez (1,325) for second place on the NFL’s all-time receptions list behind only Jerry Rice (1,549). pic.twitter.