I love looking at Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ stats, especially in his magical season of 2018.
Last season, Mahomes passed for 5,097 yards and threw 50 touchdowns passes and only 12 interceptions. Almost 9 percent of his passes went for touchdowns.
Think about that. (Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky is throwing 3.8 percent of his passes for touchdowns this season.)
Mahomes also rushed for 272 yards and two touchdowns in 2018. And, of course, he was named the NFL’s most valuable player.
He’s not blowing the world apart this season, but he’s still putting up elite numbers. Six times this season, his quarterback rating has been at least 115.0. Three times, it has been at least 130.0.
Quarterback ratings aren’t everything, but they’re something. It’s hard to believe, but the Chiefs actually lost to the Titans on Nov. 10 despite Mahomes passing for 446 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions and a quarterback rating of 119.2. Stuff happens.
But Mahomes also won four games this season in which he had below-average quarterback ratings of 72.7, 81.0, 81.8 and 83.6. That maybe could be called leadership. Or being a winner. Or possibly just having great ancillary offensive threats and a nice defense.
But forget the stats. The thing that’s most exciting about Mahomes is his mere presence afield. You watch him and think, ‘‘This guy might do anything.’’
He darts, eludes, looks everywhere and makes throws that don’t seem likely or even possible. He’s a quarterback-as-master chef in the violent NFL kitchen, a creator who can turn burnt caramel into crème brulée.
This is the era of the quarterback in the NFL, a time when the rules have been tweaked to protect the most important player in the game. If you don’t know that’s true, check out some of the beatings old quarterbacks such as the Bears’ Jim McMahon, the Packers’ Lynn Dickey and the Bills’ and Lions’ Joe Ferguson took back in the day. Head-on car wrecks couldn’t be much more damaging.
Thus, quarterbacks in the NFL game are whom we watch, the difference-makers, the players the league has decided are so much more valuable than everybody else that they perhaps should be carried into arenas on thrones.
But when they screw up, we want their heads. Such are quarterback expectations and demands.
So Chicago’s dissatisfaction with Trubisky has led to an overall discontent with the entire team. Trubisky’s blah 84.2 quarterback rating this season — below even his blah 86.4 career rating — just sticks in the throat like a phlegm ball.
The coming of Mahomes to Soldier Field on Sunday is loaded with drama and portent. Is there anybody left in our town who doesn’t know Trubisky was taken eight spots before Mahomes in the 2017 draft? That might go down as the biggest blunder ever made by a Bears general manager. Thank you very much, Ryan Pace.
Maybe if Mahomes hadn’t played baseball at Texas Tech, the Bears would have thought more highly of him. Maybe if they had noticed he passed for 5,052 yards and 41 touchdowns in his final college season, they would have thought more highly of him.
But what’s for sure is the Bears seldom play the Chiefs, with the last game at Soldier Field coming eight years ago. That was a 10-3 barn burner won by the Chiefs and no-name quarterback Tyler Palko over the Bears and Caleb Hanie.
This game might mean nothing to the 7-7 Bears as far as the postseason goes, but it means a lot for their pride. And it certainly means a lot for the 10-4 Chiefs in their battle for playoff position in the AFC.
Above all, however, Mahomes is coming. He enters with a shadow that threatens to engulf Trubisky. Here they are, head-to-head. Draw when you’re ready, pardner.
Great veteran quarterbacks are all around these days, from Drew Brees to Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers to Russell Wilson. Even fading Eli Manning likely will be a Hall of Famer.
But new stars must emerge. And they are. Hello, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray and Deshaun Watson. And, yes, hello, Mr. Mahomes.
If Trubisky wants to make a statement, here’s his moment in time.
Let the stats fly.