Week Four began with Rams quarterback Jared Goff making it clear that, yes, he’s a franchise quarterback. Week Four ended with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes making it clear that, yes, he’s a franchise quarterback, too.
Mahomes led the Chiefs back from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit with a cool head, nimble feet, a razor-sharp eye for who is and isn’t open, and an uncanny ability to deliver the ball with just the right velocity and touch to keep drives going — despite whatever adversity he may be facing. He’s so smooth that he at one point threw the ball left handed, and it took ESPN a full 30 seconds to realize what they’d just witnessed.
Everyone who has witnessed Mahomes this year knows what he can do. Against a championship-caliber defense in their own building with a stadium that was shaking and without field-stretching wideout Sammy Watkins, Mahomes got it done, engineering a pair of touchdown drives despite leading the team to only one through most of the game.
The numbers weren’t spectacular — 28 of 45 for 304 yards and a touchdown pass — but the outcome was. A team that had been running away from every team they faced found itself in a hole, and Mahomes put them on his back and pulled them out of it.
Yes, it helps to have Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy dialing things up. It helps to have Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce to help move the chains. But Mahomes is the straw that stirred the scotch and soda, only 14 days past his 23rd birthday but playing like a guy who’s been doing it for more than a decade.
He’ll be doing it for much more than a decade in Kansas City, and the Chiefs will contend in every game and every season of his career, as long as he can stay healthy.
The golden age of young franchise quarterbacks is here, and the Chiefs have one of the very best. Get used to seeing those red helmets in prime time for the foreseeable future, because Mahomes makes every game exciting, whether early in the game or late.
Meanwhile, every G.M. who passed on Mahomes had better start preparing the list of excuses as to why they didn’t pounce on the chance to get him. And Browns fans should be happy that they’ve got the guy running their team who realized what Mahomes can do, jumping up 17 spots to get him, even with Alex Smith entrenched as the starter.
The countdown continues to November 19, when folks in Mexico City will be treated to the first match between Mahomes and Goff. They already feel destined to meet in one or more Februarys.