This week, there was a lot of chatter about how Patrick Mahomes has never had a bad game. FiveThirtyEight noted that Mahomes has never had a QBR at or below 50. Pro Football Focus has given Mahomes a grade worse than 70 just a dozen times, and his stats in those games sure don’t look too bad:
This is why the Chiefs' floor is so high offensively.— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) September 29, 2020
Patrick Mahomes has 12 games with a @PFF passing grade under 70.0. His stats in those games:
95.1 passer rating
The Chiefs passing offense is still one of the best w/avg Mahomes https://t.co/NFyd2K6hbQ
But his performance Monday, in a 26-10 over the Patriots, sure didn’t look like that of a player with a rock-solid floor and a sky-high ceiling. Though Mahomes accounted for two touchdowns and had no turnovers in the game, his box score tells less than half the story. In reality, Mahomes could have easily had no touchdowns and three turnovers—and his performance overall was, well, bad.
Mahomes’s night began with one of the worst passes the former MVP has ever thrown. On just his second pass attempt of the night, Mahomes—from a pristine pocket—just completely missed Sammy Watkins and instead found longtime Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty. Only McCourty could not hang on:
Later, in the second quarter, Mahomes had another turnover-worthy play. On a third-and-4 from his own side of the field, Mahomes was sacked, and as he was going down the ball fell out of his hands and into the arms of linebacker Shilique Calhoun. But the officials had whistled the play dead, ruling Mahomes down before the ball came loose.
This actually would have been an interception, not a fumble, since the ball never touched the ground. A replay clearly showed that—and also showed that Mahomes certainly was not down before the ball came out.
Then, in the fourth quarter, Mahomes went deep to Tyreek Hill—and three Patriots defenders. Mahomes rarely underthrows everything, but this pass looks like something Drew Brees will be throwing in 10 years.
Finally, Mahomes’s two touchdown passes can’t really be called passes. They were essentially handoffs. Here’s his first touchdown of the night, a 6-yard “pass” to Hill:
And here’s the touchdown to receiver Mecole Hardman, another glorified running play:
Mahomes should’ve had three interceptions and zero touchdowns. If he had, his final stat line would have been 17-of-27 for 224 yards, no touchdowns, and three picks. That’s … quite bad! It would have been just the second game of Mahomes’s career in which he accounted for three or more turnovers and the third in which he did not score a touchdown (either through the air or on the ground). And his 236 yards (including the TD “passes”) is the sixth-lowest yardage mark of Mahomes’s career in 35 regular-season games.
Mahomes’s bad night didn’t show up in the box score, but it was reflected in how much the Chiefs struggled to move the ball. Kansas City had just six points at halftime thanks to two Harrison Butker field goals, and they put up just 19 total points on offense—another score came on a pick-six in the fourth quarter (which came off a tipped pass, more luck for the Chiefs). It’s the most lethargic the Chiefs offense has looked under Mahomes.
Despite the bad game, Mahomes is yet to have a bad stat line. But then again, if a bad game still results in two touchdowns and a 16-point win, maybe Mahomes’s floor is still as solid as ever.