New era of NFL quarterbacks pose challenge to 49ers, league
By Robert Smith
No. 1: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Yeah, I know. As a 49ers fan, this one stings a bit.
After all, the 49ers did a terrific job making things tough on Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes for three-plus quarters of Super Bowl LIV. Up until the final nine minutes or so, the 2018 NFL MVP had struggled, having been harassed by a Niners defense into 18-of-29 passing with just 172 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.
But he finished the game on a roll, completing 8-of-12 passing with 114 yards, two touchdowns with no interceptions and a 130.2 passer rating.
The video below shows the leadership and playmaking few other quarterbacks in the league are capable of, especially in the high-pressure situation of a Super Bowl:
While there is a multitude of reasons why the turnaround occurred, the bottom line is Mahomes came up big when he and his team needed it most.
San Francisco 49ers
Coming off a 2018 NFL MVP season in which he threw for 5,097 yards with 50 touchdowns,12 interceptions and completing 66 percent of his passes, Mahomes proved in 2019 that it was no fluke. Even after missing two games with a knee injury, he still managed to throw for 4,031 yards with 26 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He completed 65.9 percent of his passes and also ran for 218 yards.
And while more of a scrambler than a pure runner, Mahomes is able to buy time in and out of the pocket while still processing the defense.
But what makes Mahomes elite is his gifted arm talent and a creativity to complete passes in a variety of ways and angles. He has, on more than one occassion, tossed no-look passes for completions and even thrown the ball left-handed. His former Texas Tech head coach, Kliff Kingsbury had this to say about Mahomes:
"People have said for years: “You can’t get away with doing that.” But if you’re that good, it doesn’t matter."
His ability to create time with his feet and complete passes on off schedule plays is the difference between being good and being elite.
At just 24 years old, and with an MVP and Super Bowl title already on his resume, Mahomes is redefining the position with a flair rarely seen on a football field.
And he, like the other quarterbacks in this article, is just beginning to realize his potential. That should be a very scary thought for the rest of the league. The future is bright, but the present is already shining for this talented group of young signal-callers.