Heading into a new NFL season by September 8 2022, one question comes to mind, will Patrick Mahomes be the man to lead the Chiefs to another Superbowl ?. There have been some drastic changes in the Chiefs' dressing room and with the departures of players that won the Superbowl LIV for the Kansas City Chiefs and the arrival of a couple of new faces, the Chiefs offence might have to take a whole different look and Patrick Mahomes is key to making it work.
Why are doubts over Mahomes' ability?
Patrick Mahomes in his time spent in the NFL so far has proven himself beyond reasonable doubts, he was the youngest QB to win the Superbowl MVP award, and he has 4 Pro Bowl appearances. Mahomes since he became a regular starter for the Chiefs in 2018 has taken the Chiefs to the playoffs for every season he has played. There's no doubt about what he can do, but one thing that is raising eyebrows is a recent development in the 2021 season. It was glaring in their AFC Championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals how Mahomes was having difficulties making quick decisions on plays which greatly affected the team and prevented them from their third Superbowl appearance in the last four years.
In the game against Cincinnati Bengals, the Chiefs started well and even had a 21-3 lead over the Bengals. But what changed?.
In the second half, the Cincinnati Bengals made a defensive adjustment and almost doubled their usage rate of drop-8 coverages which worked for them as they limited the Chiefs to only 3 points in that period. Most especially Patrick Mahomes struggled against 8+ defenders in coverage completing only 7 of 13 passes for 59 yards, coupled with an interception and 2 sacks. He recorded his lowest expected points added (EPA) in his career in that game.
The defense played against Mahomes forced him into an uncomfortable position where he felt he needed to make explosive plays to get out of the situation which didn't work as it either ended in him getting sacked or his pass intercepted. Mahomes didn't fare well against the Bengals' drop-8 coverages and teams will be expected to come out and draw up plays to shut down Mahomes. The AFC Championship game practically sums up the 2021 season for Mahomes. He was intercepted the most time in his career with 13 interceptions but on the bright side, he had the most yards, 4839 since his sophomore year 5097 which is his career-high. Mahomes hasn't lost his touch, he should be able to work his way through these defensive adjustments and lead the Chiefs to another Superbowl Championship finals.