Just how good was Patrick Mahomes in his rookie year? Could Chiefs’ rivals have seen his greatness coming?

Kansas City Chiefs v New England Patriots
Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs v New England Patriots

Patrick Mahomes is having a great season with the Kansas City Chiefs. He has led them to a 9-2 record that sees them atop the AFC standings. He has thrown for 3,585 yards, which sees him averaging 325.9 yards per game and has accumulated 29 touchdowns. He is in line to have his best season since 2018 when he won the MVP award in the first season as a starter.

Of course, he also won Super Bowl LIV in the 2019 season and was the Super Bowl MVP in that game as well. He reached the Super Bowl again in the 2020 season. At this point, there is no doubt that he has already established himself in his young career as one of the greatest quarterbacks to have played the game.

It points to a degree of sustained success and one that was visible right from the off. He was taken in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs and there were high hopes from him. He came into the NFL having won the Sammy Baugh Trophy in 2016.

Even then, in the rookie season he sat behind starter Alex Smith and learned from him. He only started one regular-season game in his debut campaign, after the Chiefs had already booked their place in the playoffs. He completed 22 of his 35 attempts for 284 yards. But it was marred by the one interception he threw and failing to throw a touchdown pass.

It is tough for any backup to come into this situation and a better judgment of his caliber could be found in the preseason games that he played. His performances during those four preseason games predicted his exceptional potential.

Patrick Mahomes' rookie 2017 season: performances in preseason games

The Kansas City Chiefs played four preseason games in the 2017 season. Patrick Mahomes features in all of them.

In Week 1, they played the San Francisco 49ers and the fans and Chiefs' rivals got to see him for the first time. He was not prominent in that game but he made the best use of the time he had on the field. He completed seven of his nine passes and had a touchdown.

In Week 2, the Chiefs played the Cincinnati Bengals. Patrick Mahomes again showed his mettle throwing for 88 passing yards. He completed 10 of his 14 throws and they were consequential in scoring two touchdowns. He also showed his ability in rushing with 29 rushing yards, proving to his leagues that he could always outscamper them, if needed.

Week 3 against the Seattle Seahawks was a more sobering experience for him. Patrick Mahomes completed only eight of his 15 throws for just 70 passing yards. He had just two yards of rushing and did not throw or rush for a touchdown.

But Week 3 turned out to be an outlier as he was dialed in for Week 4 of the 2017 preseason against the Tennessee Titans. Patrick Mahomes completed nine of his 16 throws for 183 yards. He also had 13 yards rushing and led the team to one touchdown. The only negative was perhaps his fumble in the game. The game is also noted for a ridiculous pass he made while getting hit and off-balance that showed just how good he could be.

He was the best quarterback during the preseason of his rookie year. He was sacked on just eight percent of his dropbacks despite facing a 41 percent pressure rate. He had a completion percentage of 67.9 and his 109.2 passer rating was the best in the league.

Patrick Mahomes had served notice to the rest of the league that he was here to stay. In the 2018 campaign, he got his chance as a starter. He has not looked back since.

Quick Links

Edited by John Maxwell
App download animated image Get the free App now