October 22, 2016. Lubbock, Texas. 60,248 witnessed a display of offensive firepower that surely had a role in vaulting both players to first-round status.
The teams had identical offensive outputs of 854 yards, a grand total of 1,700. Mayfield completed 27 of 36 passes for 545 yards and seven touchdowns. Mahomes used his arm more than twice as many times, throwing 88 passes, with 52 completions, 734 yards, five touchdowns, and an interception. (Bengals running back Joe Mixon chipped in with 263 rushing yards for the Sooners.)
Oklahoma won the non-overtime marathon, 66-59. Now that both are in the AFC, they’re guaranteed to meet at least once every three years, and maybe at some point in the postseason. Maybe they’ll even become the next Brady-Manning rivalry.
Sunday’s meeting, a product of the schedule rotation that has each team from the AFC West playing each team from the AFC North this season, will be chapter one of Mahomes-Mayfield in the NFL. And that could be enough to drive already-batty Browns interim coach Gregg Williams even farther out of his own personal belfry.
Williams wasn’t aware of the epic Mahomes-Mayfield matchup from little more than two years ago when a reporter asked him about the off-the-charts numbers.
“I have no idea,” Williams said when the subject came up at a press conference. “Are you going to tell me?”
And then they told him.
“Oh my gosh,” Williams said. “I will have to . . . . I don’t want to say it, but typically, I talk about cutting my wrists on those kinds of things . . . setting defenses back a 1,000 years.”
Defenses already have been set back in 2018 at the NFL level. Which could drive Williams even slightly farther off his rocker on Sunday, if the Chiefs-Browns game ends up landing somewhere between the Arena League and Oklahoma-Texas Tech.