In a matchup between the last two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes came out on top.
He completed 37-of-49 passes for 462 yards and three touchdowns in the Kansas City Chiefs’ 27-24 victory against Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
That evened the series between Mahomes and Brady at 2-2, and each game has been a competitive contest with no more than a one-score margin.
Most memorably, Brady’s New England Patriots defeated the Chiefs 37-31 in overtime of the AFC Championship Game to cap the 2018 season.
After celebrating that win, Brady, who was impressed by Mahomes’ talent and professionalism, made sure to have a private conversation with Mahomes after the young star was leaving Arrowhead Stadium.
“He just kind of talked about how he respected how I did everything the right way and stuff like that,” Mahomes said. “It was definitely a cool experience.”
After Sunday’s contest in which the quarterbacks combined for more than 800 yards, Brady, who has been criticized — perhaps unfairly in the era of social distancing — for snubbing fellow quarterbacks after losses, shook hands with Mahomes.
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In the early going, Mahomes came out on fire, completing 25-of-33 passes for 359 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. Those passing yards represented the most in any first half since 2004.
He victimized Carlton Davis, a solid cornerback but someone who ran in the 4.5s at the 2018 NFL Combine. With Davis left in one-on-one coverage against one of the fastest players in the NFL, Mahomes connected with Tyreek Hill on touchdown passes of 44 and 75 yards in the first quarter.
The latter was the Chiefs’ longest pass play of the year.
The 25-year-old quarterback was showing he was worth every penny of the long-term deal he signed before the season that could pay him about half a billion dollars.
Meanwhile, the 43-year-old Brady looked his age, going just 10 of 16 for 117 yards and a touchdown in the half, and the Bucs had a stretch of three straight three-and-outs.
Tampa was just one of four on third down in the first half.
While the Bucs struggled to convert third downs, Mahomes made it look easy.
For example, with 9:23 left in the second quarter, the Chiefs faced a 3rd and 8. Mahomes rolled out to the right to avoid pressure from pass rushers Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul and hit Demarcus Robinson for 13 yards.
Brady completed eight in a row between the second and third quarter before throwing interceptions on back-to-back series.
Late in the third quarter, Bashaud Breeland intercepted Brady for the second year in a row. And on the next series, a pass bounced off safety Daniel Sorensen’s helmet and into teammate Tyrann Mathieu’s arms.
Brady, who is in the first year of a two-year, $50 million deal, got hot in the second half while targeting Rob Gronkowski, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans.
The latter caught two fourth-quarter touchdowns, and Brady ended up 27-of-41 for 345 yards and three touchdowns.
The fact that he rallied his team, which appeared lost while down 17-0, showed the brilliance and agelessness of Brady, the six-time Super Bowl champion who Mahomes effusively praised during the week.
“I don’t know if I’m on his level,” Mahomes said. “He’s someone that’s a global star, and so for me, I just try to be myself.”
Despite Mahomes’ humility, the transcendent quarterback guided the Chiefs to their first victory at Raymond James Stadium while throwing for the second most yards of his career.
And with Mahomes at the helm, the Chiefs have a great chance of returning there in 10 weeks for Super Bowl LV.
Source: Forbes – Business