Solely Aaron Rodgers can rival the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs quarterback’s athleticism and precision. We’re witnessing the beginning of an all-time nice profession

Patrick Mahomes now has 41 landing passes for the season. {Photograph}: Ed Zurga/AP

Half human, half superb, Patrick Mahomes cemented himself because the league’s MVP on a wild, wacky NFL Sunday. Mahomes overcame a proficient Baltimore protection, because the Chiefs beat the Ravens 27-24 to wrap up a spot within the playoffs.

Mahomes’ brilliance is difficult to elucidate, even more durable to magnify. He’s bending the boundaries of what’s believable on the soccer subject. Solely Aaron Rodgers is ready to match the first-year starter’s mix of athleticism, precision and playmaking magic. No one has a extra spectacular arm than Mahomes. Baltimore entered Sunday because the fourth-best protection within the league by DVOA. Mahomes promptly set to work dissecting it, conjuring all types of magic, together with no-look passes that had greater than a whiff of sorcery:

That’s not an optical phantasm. That’s one thing he practiced in faculty and has perfected within the execs. How do you even take into consideration defending that? Easy: you don’t.

Mahomes-MVP detractors have pointed to the Chiefs’ offensive system and the quarterback’s all-star solid. Andy Reid’s model of organized dysfunction has certainly put Mahomes in wonderful spots. Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Kareem Hunt, previous to his launch, made the entire scheme sing. Sunday was totally different. Hunt is not with the crew, launched after a video surfaced of him pushing then kicking a girl at a Cleveland resort. His substitute, Spencer Ware, together with Hill, missed time in opposition to the Ravens attributable to harm.

Baltimore compelled KC to play a unique sort of recreation. On protection, they got here after Mahomes. He seemed bamboozled at occasions by the Raven’s different fronts and stress packages. Baltimore blitzed defenders from wherever and all over the place. Mahomes had a tough time determining who was coming, and his offensive line was overwhelmed.

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It might have been straightforward for Mahomes to fold, however that’s by no means been his manner. He continued to drive the Chiefs down the sphere, displaying the sort of poise we’ve turn out to be accustomed to, as he led a pair of potential game-winning drives. When the crew wanted him, he put them on his again:

There may be no person, not even Rodgers, who would have the audacity and arm vanity to aim that throw with the sport on the road. In a single play, Mahomes showcased what makes him particular: his intelligence; throwing from awkward arm angles; throwing off-platform; uncooked, unadulterated arm energy; and athleticism. We’re witnessing the beginning of an all-time nice profession.

Video of the week

The Dolphins last-second miracle had a bit of little bit of every thing. The spotlight: Rob Gronkowski flailing round because the Patriots’ deep security. The Onerous Rock Stadium miracle (we want a greater, non-corporate, identify) will be a part of the likes of Marino’s faux spike, the Holy Curler, and the Miracle on the Meadowlands as the best performs to finish a daily season recreation.

Not content material with that, the Soccer Gods gave us extra lateral insanity later within the day. The Steelers hit an ideal hook-and-ladder with time winding down in Oakland to maneuver the crew into subject aim place, seeking to tie the sport:

Kicker Chris Boswell slipped on the next kick. Soccer is foolish.

MVP of the week

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers. Kittle nearly broke the single-game tight finish file for receiving yards in a half. He posted seven catches for 210-yards and a landing within the first half of the Niners win over the Broncos. Kittle fell 5 yards in need of breaking Shannon Sharpe’s file after he was shutout within the second half.

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Stat of the week

How a couple of pair of Saquon Barkley gems? Barkley now has 4 landing runs of 50 or extra yards this season. The Giants had three landing runs of 50 or extra yards within the earlier 10 seasons. His newest, a 78-yard magnificence:

No Giants rookie has ever scored extra touchdowns than Barkley – 13. And he nonetheless has three video games to go.

Quote of the week

“I need to sincerely apologize for my inappropriate and unacceptable tweets. I used to be a 16-year-old child in highschool who clearly made unhealthy decisions. These phrases don’t mirror who I’m at this time.” – Baltimore Ravens fullback/defensive lineman Patrick Richard after racist tweets he posted in 2011 and 2012 have been unearthed.

The Richard incident comes the identical week as Heisman trophy winner Kyler Murray apologized for homophobic tweets he posted when he was 14, and after Kevin Hart withdrew from the Oscars after complaints about homophobic tweets he posted in 2014.

How does this preserve occurring? Any agent who doesn’t instantly scrub the social media historical past of their shoppers – notably these posted when mentioned athlete/superstar was a excessive schooler – is derelict in responsibility. That needs to be day-one of the pre-draft course of. The optimistic: in outing their racism, homophobia and/or misogyny in a public setting, the ignorant will be challenged and, hopefully, educated.

Elsewhere across the league

Amari Cooper has helped rework the Cowboys’ season. {Photograph}: Ron Jenkins/AP

– We’ve seen some sensible offense this season however the Bears confirmed protection can nonetheless win you video games after they smothered the Rams on Sunday Night time Soccer. They picked off Jared Goff 4 occasions as they gained 15-6 – and the Rams gained’t relish going through them once more within the playoffs.

– Packers interim coach Joe Philbin used each his challenges within the first 83 seconds of his debut. Each rulings stood. Welcome again, coach. Not less than he scored a cushty win over the Falcons, 34-20.

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– Enjoyable reality: Christian McCaffrey, Weeks 1-6: 1 TD. Christian McCaffrey, Weeks 7-14: 12 TD. The Panthers all-everything weapon is greater than empty energy. At this level, he is the Panthers offense.

– When was the final time an in-season moved re-vitalized a complete franchise like Dallas’ acquisition of Amari Cooper? Cooper had one other massive recreation in opposition to Philadelphia, catching 10 passes for 217-yards and three touchdowns. He’s introduced some juice to a Cowboys offense that was pedestrian earlier than his arrival. The whole crew has responded.

– Dallas successful on a should-be interception in opposition to the Eagles, tipped into the palms of Cooper, is the proper microcosm of the NFC East this season.

– In an period the place we get to feast on quarterback play – the passing recreation being king – the Ravens run-only offense is a refreshing facet dish. Baltimore’s offense is proscribed with Lamar Jackson at quarterback, however it’s way more enjoyable. The Ravens pushed the Chiefs to the brink due to the offenses capability to regulate the clock and preserve Patrick Mahomes off the sphere. Jackson brings an electrical energy to the offense, he ought to preserve the beginning quarterback job even when Joe Flacco is cleared to return.

– Houston’s nine-game win streak got here to an finish in Indianapolis. The Texans have performed in 9 one-score video games this season and entered the week 11th in total DVOA. They’re nearer to a .500 crew than their file signifies.

– Right here is the stat line from Washington beginning quarterback Mark Sanchez in opposition to the Giants: 6/14, 38-yards, zero touchdowns, two interceptions. It was nearly impossibly unhealthy. However, hey, at the very least he is aware of the offense, proper? Colin Kaepernick had a greater passer score sat on his couch. Washington’s choice to not even attain out to Kaepernick stays indefensible.

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