KC Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes outperformed by Baker Mayfield late in season

When the KC Chiefs host the Cleveland Browns this weekend in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, most of the focus will be on quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield.

While Mahomes and Mayfield certainly deserve the spotlight, they won’t be the only stars on the field. Players like Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill have been exceptional for the Chiefs, while Nick Chubb and Myles Garrett have played like the stars they are for the Browns.

Still, it is all about the quarterbacks in a matchup like this. Have no doubt about it; everyone will be locked onto the performances of these two young gunslingers.

These two participated in one of the most entertaining college games of the century, so there will always be a degree of anticipation when these two meet.

In 2016, OU beat Texas Tech 66-59. Jake Trotter of ESPN laid out some of the record-setting numbers Mahomes and Mayfield reached that day.

The two sides combined for an FBS-record 1,708 yards of offense. Mahomes set FBS records with 819 yards of total offense and 734 passing yards.

Mayfield broke an OU record with seven touchdown passes.

And together, Mahomes and Mayfield combined for 1,279 passing yards — the most ever in a college football game.

So far in the NFL, Patrick Mahomes has had the most success, winning an MVP, a Super Bowl, and a Super Bowl MVP. He also had a terrific season in 2020 and was the MVP favorite for much of the year.

BUT…

Patrick Mahomes hasn’t played as well as Baker Mayfield late in the season.

According to Pro Football Focus, since week nine of the NFL season, Mayfield has graded out higher than Mahomes.

  • Patrick Mahomes – 88.5
  • Baker Mayfield – 90.5

Mahomes threw five of his six interceptions since their week ten bye, including three in a win against the Dolphins. Two of his three worst completion percentage games of the season came in weeks 15 (55.32 percent) and 16 (5.55 percent). While he still wracked up 13 passing touchdowns in those six games and averaged 342 passing yards, those interceptions, and poor completion percentages hurt his overall grade.

On the other hand, Mayfield only has one interception in the nine games (counting the playoff win against the Steelers) since week nine. That is one interception in 297 attempts in that span. In fact, he hasn’t thrown a pick since week seven.

While the Browns feature a fearsome running attack featuring Chubb and former Chief Kareem Hunt, there have been some games when Mayfield has thrown the ball a lot. In week 14, he had 47 passes and 53 in week 16.

In a nutshell, Mayfield is on a roll, and so are the Browns. They’ve won seven of their last nine and can run two talented backs at the Chiefs all day, and they have a confident quarterback who is in the middle of the best stretch of his career.

Patrick Mahomes and the KC Chiefs should be rested and ready to go.

Should Chiefs’ fans be worried? It is the NFL playoffs, so anything can happen. The Browns are playing well and have a lot of momentum going right now. They are good enough to beat the Chiefs on any given day.

But will they beat them this week? The Chiefs still have Patrick Mahomes, and he is still an MVP candidate, though he appears to have fallen behind Aaron Rodgers late in the season. He is not chopped liver. The Chiefs still operate a high-octane offense.

It is not like the Chiefs stumbled to the finish line. They had won 23 of their last 24 games before losing to the Chargers in week 17 with Mahomes, Hill, Kelce, and several other starters watching from the sideline in a meaningless game.

Patrick Mahomes and the KC Chiefs should be well-rested and prepared. The Browns’ offensive line is beaten up, and who knows who will be 100 percent healthy come game time. The Chiefs are still the team to beat in the AFC, and history has shown Mahomes will thrive in the playoff atmosphere.

It should be an exciting clash between two star quarterbacks, but the Kansas City Chiefs have faith Patrick Mahomes will win the day.

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