PFT 2019 storyline No. 2: Will Patrick Mahomes have a sophomore slump?

AP

The Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes took the league by storm in 2018. Can they, and he, do it again in 2019?

That’s one of the biggest storylines of the 2019 season.

Whenever someone like Mahomes emerges out of the blue and dominates the way he did, opposing defenses spend the offseason obsessing over coming up with ways to slow him down. The 13 teams on the docket this year (he plays three of them twice) surely have studied every game, every snap, every throw for anything that could be used to keep Mahomes from doing to them what he did to pretty much everyone last year.

The Patriots may have provided the blueprint for the rest of the league in the AFC Championship game, which didn’t exactly shut down the Kansas City offense but ultimately slowed things down enough to outscore them in overtime. Although the Chiefs require a defense to cover every blade of grass on the field, given the power of Mahomes’ arm and the speed of Tyreek Hill‘s feet, the Patriots chose to defend the deepest areas of the field, keeping the ball in front of them and forcing the Chiefs to move more deliberately than perhaps they’d like.

Ultimately, nothing any defense does may matter. Mahomes is at his best when he’s forced to improvise, and there’s no amount of planning that can keep a guy with uncanny gifts from winning what becomes a schoolyard scramble. If defenses decide to avoid chaos, Mahomes has the arm and accuracy to pick them apart from the pocket.

That said, it won’t be easy for Mahomes to match what he did last year. But just because other quarterbacks have struggled in their second seasons as the starter, we’ve already seen that there’s something very different about Mahomes. If that’s the case, the 2019 Mahomes will be the 2018 Mahomes — and maybe even better.

So get ready for more funny-body throws from various arm angles, with no-look passes and left-handed passes and Fran Tarkenton scrambles and balls heaved off the wrong foot or with no feet on the ground at all. No amount of coaching can stop that kind of special talent, and it’s something the NFL will get to enjoy for as long as Mahomes has the physical ability to do it.

52 responses to “PFT 2019 storyline No. 2: Will Patrick Mahomes have a sophomore slump?

  1. Yes – he’ll suffer at least an apparent slump, like many QBs do, as opponents develop enough tape to figure them out. Plus the Chiefs play a tougher schedule – 19th last year, 5th this year. Plus the more successful a team gets the harder it is to retain guys, and that’ll be even worse in the near future as Chiefs will soon need to pay him a ridiculously huge chunk of their cap.

  2. Have liked the Chiefs, going back to the Roaf/Shields era, but am not a Chiefs fan primarily. While regression is *almost* certain, this kid is special. I like his chances of coming real close to matching what he did last year. I’d put those chances at around 30%. That may not seem like high odds (they objectively are not) unless you first consider the mind-blowing stats he put up last year. If there’s a 30% chance he matches/exceeds + 70% chance he regresses 10-20%, the weighted average still leaves you a great performance for 2019.

  3. It’s possible – we’ll see. The key for the Chiefs will be sustaining things, which includes Mahomes sustaining his play. They lost Hunt, and were lucky they didn’t lose Hill. There’s really only one team that’s been able to sustain excellence over the long haul. Matching that, even for a few years, would be quite an accomplishment.

  4. If the Defense is marginally better than last year, he should be on the field less. So statistically speaking his numbers will be lower, but that doesn’t mean a slump.

  5. The Patriots may have given the blueprint in the AFC championship game? The blueprint for what? Giving up 31 points? That they scored in one half.

  6. Haters need to just watch, learn, and admire.
    Mr. Patrick Mahomes is a once-in-a-lifetime QB
    We are the new faces of the league. The Chiefs are the new Americas Team and We are s team destined for dynasty status.
    Dont hate…..Appreciate our greatness.
    I have heard from so many “Patriots” fans, who are wanting to be a Chiefs fan now.. They are not welcome. Chiefs Kingdom are 100% Real fans, not bandwagon fans.
    #Innocent
    #BestWr

  7. Remember when he missed that wide open RB for a TD in the AFC title game? If that had been Brady missing that throw Max Kellerman would still be talking about it.

  8. Mahomes is a great player but there seems to be a lot of arrogance in this team. If they have some early losses they will get frustrated and could have a much less successful season than they expect to have.

    One of the key indicators to me is all they crying they did after the OT loss in the AFCC. If the Pats had lost all they would have done was give the Chiefs credit for outplaying them and say they had to do the better job taking responsibility for their loss. The Chiefs sat in a pool of self pity and whined extensively about how unfair the OT rules are and tried to get them changed. They obviously felt they should have won even though they blew the game and did not accept responsibility for losing. That’s not the profile for long term success.

  9. If you define slump as less than 5000 yards and 50 TDs, then yes there will be a slump, but if he’s in the like around 40 TDs and 4500 yards I’ll take that “slump” year in and year out.

  10. I think this kid is a winner so I don’t expect him to have much of a drop this season. He’s fun to watch. He’s also smart and just has a knack of making plays. That’s something you can’t teach.

    How can you not like that guy? He makes plays and he has fun. He’s fun to watch.

  11. I don’t think looking at other young QBs’ production is the right way to look at it but rather the Reid QBs, which is why I said betting against him being a success was probably foolish a year ago. All of his QBs have gotten better in year two from McNabb to Alex Smith. You can extrapolate to his disciples too, which Wents went from good to MVP candidate in year two, and I’d expect Trubisky to do so too. The Reid system just works for QBs, and he’s going to have a monster year barring injury.

  12. It’s kind of hard for him not to have a down season with the one he had last year. I don’t see him taking much of a step back this year though, although defenses will have a year of gamefilm on him to breakdown, this will be only his 2nd season starting in the NFL so he still has learning to do. What happens when the game slows down for Mahomes? You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him.

  13. I can’t see him slipping too much, but everyone is drafting faster guys on defense to combat QB’s who are like Mahomes. So I do think defenses will make it tougher on him than it was last season.
    But the kid is very talented and he will no doubt put up big numbers again.

  14. Can’t spell CHIEFS without IF. If Ford didn’t line up offside, we would have won. If we had the ball in overtime, we would have won. For a team that’s won maybe 5 or 6 playoff games over the last 20 yrs, chiefs fans seem to think of their team as some type of perennial powerhouse

  15. Will he put up 50 tds probably not but the team will still win 12 games and the division and be a handful in the playoffs, most definitely. Just watch this kid he has IT. You can’t explain IT, it’s just there like all the other greats.

  16. “Can’t spell CHIEFS without IF. If Ford didn’t line up offside, we would have won. If we had the ball in overtime, we would have won. For a team that’s won maybe 5 or 6 playoff games over the last 20 yrs, chiefs fans seem to think of their team as some type of perennial powerhouse”

    You are being generous. They have won TWO playoff games in 25 some odd years. Last year
    s playoff win was literally the first in almost 25 freaking years and this team and it’s fan’s have already crowned themselves the new dynasty! ROFL

  17. J K says:
    July 26, 2019 at 9:28 am
    The Patriots may have given the blueprint in the AFC championship game? The blueprint for what? Giving up 31 points? That they scored in one half.

    ——

    What about the blueprint for holding him to 0 points in the 1st half?

  18. Belichick gave the blueprint on how to slow down Mahommes in the first half of the AFCC game. Now it’s up to the rest of the league to copy it.

  19. There’s a great possibility that the Chiefs don’t even win their division.

  20. History tells you that only cerebral QBs that know how to dissect defenses last long term. The young, physically gifted QBs always flash early, but the key is to adapt and not settle on just talent.

    Mahomes was unbelievable but if we’re being honest, last season’s success was 80% talent. Not just his own freakish arm, but a literal AFC pro bowl supporting cast: Hill, Hunt, and Kelce. I expect more INTs as defenses adjust to his tendency to escape he pocket, but he’s too talented for a major drop off. I just don’t think he’s the top 5 all time QB we’ve anointed him just yet.

  21. Maybe, maybe not. The fact is this is the next big test for him whether he can keep adjusting to stay ahead of teams as they learn to adjust for him. Its a test any NFL QB has to pass if they want to become one of the long term elite guys and not a short term flash. Whether or not you like his chances this is going to be fun to watch if you are a fan of the sport.

  22. It’s not a question of if but rather a question of how much he’ll slump.

    He won’t be surprising anybody this year, that’s for sure.

  23. Broncos fan here, he was so good last year that even if his numbers slip big deal. He is going to have to play great to over come the defense and coaching. Neither are good enough to win the Super Bowl.

  24. If the Chiefs defense has improved, Mahomes will not need to throw 50 td’s. The Chiefs lost 4 regular season games by a combined 14 points. That was on the pathetic defense. The same defense that lost the AFCC game.

  25. No regression. If you have watched this kid at all, you would know he is the real deal. There is no “blueprint” as others have suggested. Mahomes adapts his game as it is happening and has the ability to do things that other quarterbacks only dream of. He is going to be fun to watch for years to come!

  26. The question isn’t how good Mahomes will be. We know he’s special and even if he has a minor slump he’s still a top five QB. The question is can Andy Reid finally win a Super Bowl now that he has a QB who is one of the absolute best in the NFL? Magic 8 Ball says ….

  27. chickensalad43 ,

    Yes, because you can throw for 50 TDs without being cerebral. All of those wide open TDs he was throwing, or the Randy Moss jumpballs he was throwing up was what did it, lol. Some of you try to hard. He looked like a better version of Dan Marino the first time he played last year. Did you call him just a physical freak? Of course not. The kid is special, and btw, his rookie year wasn’t the first time he put up monster numbers, but in college it was allegedly just the system. Reid has never coached a team with mediocre QB play, ever. So this guy is going to be the first, huh?

  28. Belichick gave the blueprint on how to slow down Mahommes in the first half of the AFCC game. Now it’s up to the rest of the league to copy it.
    —————————————————————————-

    The 31 points in 31 plays in the 2nd half proved that the Pats plan wasn’t sustainable, The Chiefs made halftime adjustments and then scored at Will!

  29. He is a special talent. But just like all the talented QBs that came before him, it will get wasted if they do not build a defense.Scoring 31 points in the second half of games does not help if you needed 32.

  30. It’s caled T-A-P-E, doesn’t lie, doesn’t make excuses, it’s what forces every wunderkind to evolve and learn or disappear. I’d let go that Tarkenton reference too, what did he ever win? 3 SB – 67.9 as rating highpoint, just sayin

  31. It’s funny that only the defense is able to learn in the offseason. He and the rest of the o have been working and improving too. Will he put up 50/5000? Probably not, but with a d which may only be 5 rankings better he won’t have to.

  32. mrgdawg says:
    July 26, 2019 at 9:18 am
    If the Defense is marginally better than last year, he should be on the field less. So statistically speaking his numbers will be lower, but that doesn’t mean a slump.
    ——————————————————————————————-
    Not really. A good defense gives fewer 1st downs and get the offense more chances to score. If Mahomes stay at the same level and the defense gets better his stats should improve.

  33. As a Pats fan living near St. Louis, I’m looking forward to watching Mahomes this year. I’ve always “hated” the Chiefs but how can anybody not like this kid? Considering the area I live in, I will probably get to watch more Chiefs games than I care about so at least it will be entertaining. And my new favorite team is anyone playing the Rams.

  34. He’s going to have an even better year and it’ll be irritating to the non-Chiefs fans. The disdain will grow exponentially as the Chiefs cruise to their first SB victory in 50 years. Chiefs dynasty, baby!

  35. It’s not about blueprint you dumbs, it’s all about execution. I’m sure Bill B could have come up with a dozen different game plans and the Pats would have won as long as they executed to a higher level as it happened in the last two encounters against the Chiefs. Just as whatever brilliant game plans Andy Reid coached teams came up with in the past, the less than perfect execution always cost them the win.

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