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Not surprisingly, the Titans crushed the Chiefs 30-6 in this final preseason game. The battle of Patrick Mahomes (9-16 for 183 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) v. Alex Tanney (9-22 for 101 yards, 0 TD/1 INT) was doomed from the start for Tennessee.
Nothing much happened in this game that was all that shocking for dynasty-fantasy, except the extended look at Patrick Mahomes, which I’ll get into in detail because what happened here is everything about Mahomes in the future. We’ll end on Mahomes, but first a few quick notes not-Mahomes…
Fantasy player notes…
— KC IDP LB rookie Ukeme Eligwe (6 tackles, 1 PD) looks pretty normal/natural at ILB for KC. An OLB in college (Georgia Southern), he played middle for KC in this game and looks really nice there. He played along side Kevin Pierre-Louis (5 tackles), who also looked solid but I wouldn’t say KPL looked any better than the rookie.
Eligwe made tackles on three of the first five plays. He has a natural instinct for the ballcarriers/plays, whereas KPL is a better athlete and has more experience, but lacks a little in ILB instincts.
KPL will be the backup ILB this season, and Eligwe behind him — but a potential starter for KC in 2-3 years.
— Titans’ rookies Taywan Taylor (0-0-0/1) and Jayon Brown (5 tackles) started in this game, which means I assume neither is starting Week 1 of the regular season. Brown, I would expect not starting. Taylor, I thought would be protected. The fact Taywan played here means, to me, that Corey Davis is ready for the regular season and the team doesn’t see Taylor as ‘wow’, but more ‘useful’…a young Harry Douglas.
I like Taywan but he is beyond buried here. Lot’s of talent on the Titans’ WR depth chart.
— OK, Patrick Mahomes (9-16 for 183 yards, 1 TD/0 INT)…
Patrick Mahomes is whatever you want to believe he is. He’s like Jameis Winston, but far superior – the media is going to overlook all the turnover issues because they really like him/hate the incumbent QB. There was a two play, back-to-back event with Mahomes that happened in this game that is the essence of who Mahomes is as a QB.
On the first of these two plays, Mahomes had his primary read taken away and the protection broke down, so Mahomes calmly escaped the pocket looking downfield. On the run/jog he quickly flicked a pass about 30-40 yards on the absolute money to a receiver in stride right before the out-of-bounds line. It’s a throw only a handful of QBs can make, and Mahomes makes them with regularity…and he makes them look easy. When you see them on the highlights it’s magical.
Here’s the problem… The very next throw after that, Mahomes is calmly in the pocket surveying and throws a pass into the middle of the red zone to a not-open receiver and it’s picked off…but the defender bobbles as he falls to the ground with the INT and it is overturned on review. It doesn’t count on the stat sheet, but it was real. Mahomes had another forced throw in this game that was bobbled by the receiver and picked off but ruled not in-bounds ruled. There was another throw in this game, a simple one where Mahomes should have just thrown it away but he tried to force it in and got lucky it wasn’t picked, as it went harmlessly incomplete.
If I took 100 random throws by a QB in the NFL and put them in a fictitious bag, and pulled out one at random…80-90% of the odds you grab tape of Tom Brady making a smart or safe or logical throw with 10-20% chance at pulling a ‘wow’ factor throw (at age 40). Blake Bortles almost all one/no-read throws you’d hate grabbing from the bag. Jameis Winston 50% of the throws are on target to receiver (covered or not), 50% way off the mark (even if wide open). Alex Smith 2% ‘wow’ throws and 98% boring. Patrick Mahomes is different, unlike most any QB in the NFL today – about 60% of this throws leave your jaw dropped that a human could make that pass. 40% of the throws would make you sick to your stomach, and you can’t believe a QB would force that throw in that spot. It’s like he has no other gear but the extremes. Like a great point guard who gives you Magic Johnsonpasses one play and then stupidly turns it over trying to make a cute, creative pass the next play…and back and forth he goes.
Guess which passes SportsCenter and the NFL Network show on the highlights with Mahomes? So, guess what the public perception is on Mahomes? He’s what you want him to be…what you choose to believe. The media and scouts should know better, but I laughed as I typed that too. Busy fans can’t watch all these guys in detail…so they consume what is offered. It looks SOOOO good on Mahomes the way highlights are packaged.
That’s why I’m here. I’m your eyes and ears.
Patrick Mahomes is like the ‘evil’ Dak Prescott. Dak is unflappable and almost always smart with the ball, and not the greatest downfield passer – Dak cuts you apart with a thousand paper cuts. Mahomes is unflappable, a deep-ball master and is a 50-50 coin flip what he’s going to do next. Mahomes’ ‘best’ is as good as there has ever been…his bad is virtually unsustainable in today’s NFL. I know the NFL…they hate turnovers more than anything. Coaches, and fans sometimes I think, would rather lose a game than have a forced throw turnover or a WR ‘drop’ or RB fumble trying to ‘make plays’. Until Mahomes has the full spotlight/scrutiny his legend is going to grow and the media is going to force out Alex Smith because they want the 50% amazing throws guy…it’s all they look at so he’s 100% amazing throws to them. The media doesn’t care if what they do has irreparable damage…they never have and there is never accountability. They just move on from Blake Bortles as if they didn’t proclaim him a god from the jump.
The easy way to assuage fears on Mahomes is to say, “He’ll just need to clean that up.” A favorite coach and media saying. If only it were that easy. Jameis Winston and Cam Newton have been riding that excuse for years, and it’s now been exposed on Bortles. Mahomes will have 2-3 years of fawning media to cover him over so he should work for fantasy ahead, for the most part.
There should be some enthusiasm for Mahomes more than my 50-50 pitch…because Mahomes’s ‘good 50’ is better than anyone else’s fitty. If he REALLY can somehow magically ‘clean it up’ then you have pure greatness here. I just think he is a true gunslinger in every sense — it in his DNA. It’s what makes him great is what also makes him flawed. You take the good with the bad…if the NFL can stomach it.
I’m guessing when the turnovers hit, he’ll be over-coached into a different style and be stripped off what made him great and the restriction kills off the 50-60% ‘great Mahomes’. Hopefully, he gets the Big Ben treatment – do whatever you want whenever you want because the good outweighs the bad. Let Mahomes be a riverboat gambler — and he can do things rare other QBs can. Make him a cardboard cutout West Coast guy…you’ll steal his soul and he’ll be a disappointment.