The NFL has seen a drastically different Patrick Mahomes through the first seven weeks of the 2021 season. Rather than being the calm and collected gunslinger with a flare for flashy touchdowns, the 2018 MVP has been erratic and turnover-happy, resulting in a disappointing start to the campaign.
Mahomes’ struggles reached a boiling point last weekend when he posted a career-low 6.0 QBR in the Kansas City Chiefs 27-3 loss to the Tennessee Titans. The fifth-year quarterback coughed up two turnovers and didn’t throw a touchdown pass in the game as the Chiefs fell to a shocking 3-4.
Mahomes now has nine interceptions on the year, which is on pace to be the worst mark of his career. Although he’s still delivered a handful of jaw-dropping throws this season, he recognizes that he needs to be better.
He tried to convey that to his teammates this week ahead of a Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants.
“You can just watch the tape and know that I need to play better in order to have success,” Mahomes said Thursday, per ESPN’s Adam Teicher. “There were plays where guys were open. There were plays where we had matchups down the field that I didn’t hit that I usually would give those guys opportunities to make plays.
“I’ve said something to them that I’ve got to be better. At the same time, they have that mindset that they’re going to try to build me up. It’s a thing where you’re not going to play your best game every single game, and that’s when you have to rely on your other guys to kind of step up and make plays for you.”
Patrick Mahomes: I told my teammates I have to be better. https://t.co/ywcwu00auM
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) October 28, 2021
There’s been some question this season if Mahomes is feeling the added pressure of a lackluster defense and is trying to make up for it by doing too much on offense. On Thursday, the 26-year-old didn’t place any of the blame on his Chiefs teammates on the other side of the ball and instead explained what he specifically could’ve done better against the Titans.
“It’s just stuff that I’ve always got to work on, and I kind of lose sometimes during the season and have to get better with,” Mahomes said, per Teicher. “It’s hanging in the pocket, working on my footwork, staying on time, all that stuff like that.
“You see it kind of get me in certain games every single year, and it’s something I have to go back to and learn from and be better at. There were times where I maybe could have stepped and found a soft spot in the pocket where [instead] I kind of got out of there and tried to make something happen. … Whenever we don’t get going as an offense, it’s usually because I’m doing little things like that.”
Mahomes seems to have identified the flaws in his game so far this season and now will look to remedy those as soon as possible. The Chiefs have a perfect opportunity to right the ship against a 2-5 Giants team, but won’t want to overlook any opponent at this point.
If Mahomes can clean up his play, Kansas City should be in good shape come Monday.
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