Is regression inevitable for Patrick Mahomes?

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Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had such a spectacular season in 2018 that it’s hard not to wonder if anyone, even the uber-talented Mahomes, could possibly play at the same level in 2019.

Mike Clay of ESPN laid out the statistical case for why regression toward the mean is likely after the kind of outlier season Mahomes had last year: Mahomes was in the Top 15 seasons in NFL history with 13.3 yards per completion, 8.8 yards per pass and 8.6 percent of his passes going for touchdowns. Every other quarterback who has had a season in the Top 15 in any of those statistical categories has declined the following year.

It’s also inevitable that defensive coordinators facing the Chiefs will spend much of the offseason planning new wrinkles to throw at him. He won’t catch anyone by surprise this season. And with Tyreek Hill‘s status still in question, Mahomes may be without his best receiver.

The closest comparison to Mahomes may be Dan Marino, who in 1984 had a similarly spectacular season in his second year in the NFL. Marino was still a good quarterback the following year, but not as good: He threw for 947 fewer yards, 18 fewer touchdowns and four more interceptions in 1985. It’s easy to picture Mahomes likewise being good in 2019 — but not as good as he was in his MVP season in 2018.

32 responses to “Is regression inevitable for Patrick Mahomes?

  1. Shut out at home in the first half in the AFC Championship game.

    Without Hill… regression is not just possible but very likely.

  2. This is in a nutshell the nexus of the “Madden Curse.” To have a season that gets you on the Madden cover, so many things have to go so right, including things out of your control, that it’s virtually impossible for all those things to go equally well the next season and so players naturally dip after landing the Madden cover. The “Madden Curse” is really just “regression to the mean.”

  3. Regression is always going to happen to some extent, because the league starts figuring you out. The great QBs continue to evolve and keep ahead of the adjustments. While there’s no guarantee Mahomes can or will, he does have insane tools to succeed. Here’s hoping he makes the most out of them.

  4. He had one of the best seasons ever for a QB. Hard to top that. That + the possibility that Hill might not be with the team anymore. Doesnt mean Mahomes still can’t be a top QB in the league.

  5. Agree. We’ve seen great early seasons from the likes of RGIII, Josh Freeman and Blake Bortles. Mahomes had the perfect mixture of one year of NFL practice experience + first year of anyone seeing him play. He is far better than any of the QBs I already mentioned, but I would be surprised if he was at quite the same level as last year.

  6. I expect an even bigger drop from Baker Mayfield, now that everyone has had time to plan against him.

  7. I’m expecting at least 6K yards, 60TDs, and -2 INTs. That is if Hill misses the season. If he plays all 16, we will have to rename all of the awards The Patrick Mahomes Trophy.

  8. The Pats dismantled Marino in ‘85. Mahomes is really good but the Hill and Hunt factors do loom large, not to mention the cap hell they are in. Watkins and Mathiue are befuddling overpayments as is Frank Clark.

    The moves appear to be knee jerk reactions to Hunt and Hill.

    Shifting to a 4-3 on D won’t be effective overnight with a lack of personnel either.

  9. If Marino could do it…but while Andrew Luck never had that kind of amazing season early in his career before he got injured, I’d say there is almost no way that Luck would have ever had those first few seasons without TY Hilton, who I think made Luck’s “franchise QB” status (in other words, I think Luck is over-rated…if he wins the Supe like Russell Wilson….). So, if Tyreek Hill is out of the Chiefs, it’ll happen to Mahomes also. Mahomes is good and blessings to the Chiefs (since I can’t stand the Bronocs, Chargers, and Raiders!), but if Hill is out, Mahomes is merely good not great.

  10. He will naturally regress this year, DC’s were starting to figure him out in the 2nd half of last year.

  11. Belichick gave the league the blueprint to slow down Mahomes in the AFCCG. Add to that he will likely be missing Tyreek Hill, then it’s safe to say he will take a step back.

  12. patsfan4lifesbchamps says:
    May 28, 2019 at 1:23 pm
    Belichick gave the league the blueprint to slow down Mahomes in the AFCCG. Add to that he will likely be missing Tyreek Hill, then it’s safe to say he will take a step back.

    Was that when Mahomes destroyed the Pats in the 2nd half, and made all pats fans grab their blankies.

  13. As a fellow Chiefs fan pointed out, regression is simply movement toward the mean (average). While statistically Mahomes will regress it may be that his redshirt freshman year was a below average year for him and his numbers go up. There’s only one Patrick Mahomes!

  14. Everyone before him that put up crazy 40+ TD seasons has regressed the next year. That does not mean they played poorly, but its hard to have such a good season once, let alone repeat it.

  15. Not too many rookie QBs join a team LOADED with offensive weapons.

    Now… we will see who Mahomes is WITHOUT hill and hunt.

    He still has All-Pro Ohioan/University of Cincinnati TE Travis Kelce.

  16. He will invariably be overvalued and over drafted in fantasy but I’m willing to bet he still puts up a monster stat line

  17. So let’s say he throws for 800 yards and 15 touchdowns less. Still looking at a 4,200 yards and 35 td’s. I don’t think the int’s will go up, but more than likely go down. Even with that regression, if the defense can just get to the middle of the pack (top 15) with the Mahomes “it factor” then my beloved Chiefs will be champions. Yeah, we were shut out the first half of the AFCCG, but then dropped 31 in the second half and were an offsides penalty away from a superbowl birth.

  18. Never thought I would hear Josh Freeman and Pat Mahomes in the same sentence. Mahomes and the Chiefs were a Dee Ford offsides of beating the great Belicheck and Brady, 50 TD passes and 5,000 yards , only been done once in NFL History. I think the kid is going to be just fine if he only has 45 TD’s and 4500 yards …

  19. Mahomes is a legit perennial Pro Bowl QB. He probably won’t repeat what he accomplished last year, but he still may lead the league in yards and TD passes again. But with that, the Chiefs are only the 2nd best team in their division with that wretched defense. The Chargers are the best team in the AFC West, with a top offense and an elite defense. KC will be a wildcard team though.

  20. Is regression likely? History would suggest so. Is it a foregone conclusion? No. Is the rest of the league hoping it happens? Absolutely. Chiefs fans loving the smell of fear from the rest of the league.

  21. GoodellMustGo says:

    Shut out at home in the first half in the AFC Championship game.

    Without Hill… regression is not just possible but very likely.
    ——————————————————————–

    Scored 31 2nd half points points in 31 plays in that AFCCG.. Pats had no answer for the Kid..

    Hill had one catch, Hunts was already off the team and they still scored 31.

    The kid is a quick study, may not have 50 and 5k but a regression is the wishful thinking..

  22. joetoronto says:
    May 28, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    He will naturally regress this year, DC’s were starting to figure him out in the 2nd half of last year.

    The Chiefs averaged 31 ppg in the last seven games (5 regular season and 2 playoff), all played without Hunt.. That’s what you call DC’s figuring him out??? Every loss was due to their terrible defense not Mahomes!

  23. The Chiefs better hope that the defense improves enough so that Mahomes won’t be on the field so much. That alone will lead to statistical regression, even if he remains efficient and elite (which is probable). If you hope to win championships it’s good not have to score in the 30s every game.

  24. The Chargers are the best team in the AFC West, with a top offense and an elite defense. KC will be a wildcard team though.
    ———————————————–
    So just like last year? Chargers were the best team in the AFC West. All the talking heads said so, right up to when they weren’t. Good enough for me. They will be watching the Chiefs in the AFCCG again. Since Mr Offsides is in SF, maybe the Chiefs can get a SB berth.

  25. On the stat sheet probably, but I think Mahomes will continue to get better. Like others said its hard to sustain the incredible #s. Lots of things factor into those like key injuries, roster changes, more film for opponents, etc. His #s will likely dip but he will probably improve as a player.

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