Patrick Mahomes has been the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs for over four seasons, and in each of the full seasons he has played, the Chiefs have hosted the AFC title game. They have reached the Super Bowl twice and won it once. Last season was the first where Mahomes and the Kansas City offense struggled for an extended period, and where they lost a playoff game they arguably should have won.
From Weeks 5 through 9, Mahomes completed just 60.3 percent of his passes for an average of 6.0 yards per attempt, throwing six touchdown passes against six interceptions as Kansas City went 3-2, but he only averaged 17.4 points per game. He and the rest of the offense got back on track the rest of the regular season and the first 2.5 games of the playoffs, but the second half of their AFC Championship loss to the Bengals was pretty ugly.
Kansas City led 21-10 at the half and had a chance to go up, but Mahomes threw an ill-advised pass to Tyreek Hill just before halftime that allowed the clock to run out instead of giving the Chiefs the opportunity to kick. a field goal. In the second half, they managed only three points, and lost 27-24. Mahomes says he learned a big lesson from the season’s struggles and the loss to Cincinnati.
“You can’t relax. That was the biggest thing,” Mahomes said, per The Athletic . “Every game I’ve played in the playoffs, for the most part, it’s been back-and-forth and we’ve had to fight until the end. We got up a lot and relaxed. Then (the Bengals) got the momentum going. and we went. I couldn’t turn it back on. That’s something I’ll carry with me for the rest of my career. We won one Super Bowl. But you want to have at least two or three in the next few years.”
The Chiefs are off to a 2-0 start this season, and Mahomes is 54-for-74 for 595 yards and a league-high seven touchdowns with zero interceptions. (He tried to throw at least a couple of picks against the Chargers last week, only to see them go down or be overturned by a penalty.) This weekend, he has a date with the Colts, whose defensive coordinator — Gus Bradley — was the coach he got back on track against midway through last season. So there’s a chance to extend the hot start and put the Chiefs in a position to reclaim a spot atop the AFC, possibly en route to hosting another AFC title game. If they can get back there, those two or three more Super Bowls will be more attainable.