No doubt about it, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been nothing short of dynamic in his first two starts. With each of his 10 touchdown passes going by it makes more and more sense why the Chiefs cut bait with long-time starter Alex Smith and shipped him off to Washington.
Just one problem, Mahomes is good, but teams didn’t have much film on him. Yet.
Remember when I suggested Garoppolo could get some growing pains? Well the same can be said for Mahomes. This is a common trait all quarterbacks got through, they start out lighting up the opposing defenses, then as time goes on the league gets wind of their heroics and puts a stop to things.
Exhibit A: Troy Smith. Remember him? He had a decent game against the Denver Broncos in England. So decent then-49ers head coach Mike Singletary decided to go with Troy Smith over Alex Smith. The decision led to a quarterback carousel, ending with Smith going to the UFL and Singletary getting fired. He had two games with a QB rating around 115 before the 49ers went scoreless in a home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Exhibit B: Austin Davis. Davis played so well in a sample size for the then-St. Louis Rams that people were calling him the second coming of Tom Brady. Davis came back to earth shortly thereafter and was yanked after fumbling the ball and throwing picks later into the season. He had six games with an average passer rating of 95.8 before turning in the clunkers that would lead to his benching.
Exhibit C: Jimmy Garoppolo. For the first two weeks, he hasn’t exactly looked the same as he was in 2017. Garoppolo is in no way a bad quarterback. At least not yet. However, some tendencies are revealing themselves that may become nasty if left unchecked. His game against Minnesota was uncharacteristic, ditto for his outing against the Detroit Lions where it looked like sack city. Have they figured him out? Possibly. Not much you can do when Marquise Goodwin is injured and in the Lions’ case, your receivers are being blanketed in grabby coverage.
It’s extremely rare for a quarterback to not face some sort of growing pains once a defense gets their hands on them. It’s how those quarterbacks adjust. Drew Brees is an excellent example of someone who had to grow into the role, and now he’s headed to Canton once his career is done.
So sure, Mahomes has looked good now, but what happens when teams get film on him? Sherman called out something similar to Jimmy Garoppolo. Minuscule yes, but it’s the same idea. As time goes on, the books get built on quarterbacks, and if Mahomes continues on this high level play through the entire season especially in his second year within the league, well, then we can wonder why the 49ers didn’t draft him.
Some quarterbacks take longer than others, but defenses will adjust. Three games may be too much of a sample size, but this is where the film starts getting broken down.
Could the 49ers visit to KC be the game where Patrick Mahomes comes back to earth?