Is Patrick Mahomes the best ever Week 1 quarterback?
After Patrick Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs to a resounding victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, the quarterback can lay claim to being among the greatest Week 1 quarterbacks the National Football League has ever seen. But is he the very best?
It’s unlikely to be the Texan’s biggest motivation at the dawn of a new season, but the Chiefs star’s performances on opening day may suggest otherwise. At the weekend, Mahomes threw for 360 yards and five touchdowns, as Kansas City blew away the Cardinals 44-21 at Arizona’s State Farm Stadium. That took him to 18 touchdowns without an interception in Week 1, which is an NFL record.
Later on Sunday, the man regarded by many as the greatest quarterback of all time showed he still has what it takes at the highest level. Tom Brady guided the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 19-3 win at the Dallas Cowboys, throwing for one touchdown as the Bucs dominated proceedings.
Brady and the retired Peyton Manning are tied with Mahomes in producing five Week 1 performances with at least three touchdown passes and no interceptions, which is the joint record for the most since 1950.
However, Sunday was Brady’s 19th opening week appearance, while Manning played 17 times in Week 1 during his career. Mahomes, on the other hand, is still only 26 and has only played five times in opening week. That makes him 5-0 in Week 1.
Mahomes’ stunning form in the season’s curtain-raiser is unequaled at this stage of his career. Indeed, Drew Brees is the only other player who’s managed 15 Week 1 touchdown passes across a five-season period, throwing 16 between 2008 and 2012.
After this weekend, Mahomes has the highest completion percentage (72.5%), passing yards per game (308.4), passing yards per attempt (9.2), touchdown pass to interception ratio (18-0) and passer rating (136.9) in games played by quarterbacks with 150 or more attempts in opening week across the Super Bowl era. Those numbers could decrease as the years go by, but most of the others can only improve.
Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons summed it up pretty well after the game: “He went out there and was Patrick Mahomes. There isn’t a whole lot I can say.”
The Tyler native has proven himself to be quick out of the blocks on the back of 1,542 passing yards in opening week. After the victory over the Cardinals, a smiling Mahomes said: “I always feel like I have something to prove. I’m just a guy from Texas Tech that (certain analysts) said couldn’t play in the NFL. I always have that mindset of going out there and proving that we’re the Chiefs and we still have a chance to win the AFC championship and win the Super Bowl.”
After losing the AFC Championship Game in overtime last season, Mahomes and company will be keen to go one better and reach the Super Bowl again this time round. The Chiefs quarterback will need his supporting cast to be on point in order to get there, especially without star receiver Tyreek Hill, now of the Miami Dolphins.
There seemed to be a nod in this direction as Mahomes connected with nine different skill-position teammates across his 30 completions.
“The whole offseason, everybody asked us the questions of what this offense was going to look like,” Mahomes commented after the game. “We’ve always believed that we were going to put on a show. I thought guys did that. I know a lot of different guys made plays.”
Although that’s true, none of those guys could take any of the headlines away from Mahomes, who must surely now be known as the NFL’s Week 1 goat.