Although there’s a difference of 18 years between the two quarterbacks, Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes is the top quarterback rivalry of today — and Brady just put his stamp on the rivalry.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9, in Super Bowl LV in surprising blowout fashion. And while there are many reasons for this win — the relentless pass pressure from Tampa Bay’s front seven and Kansas City’s propensity for drawing penalty flags from the referees — the biggest storyline from this game is Brady’s absolute dominance of Mahomes.
Coming into this matchup, the matchup was tied at two-all. Mahomes had defeated Brady in the last two matchups, pulling off a win earlier this season and a win over Brady in his final season with the New England Patriots. Meanwhile, the 43-year-old quarterback had defeated Mahomes during the 2018 regular season and when it mattered most — the AFC Championship Game at the conclusion of the 2018 season.
Fast forward two years later, and the old-timer has done it again — except this time, he made his much younger counterpart look every bit his age.
“They were the better team today. They beat us pretty good, the worst I think I’ve been beaten in a long time,” said Mahomes following the game.
While Brady wasn’t flashy, he had his way with the Chiefs’ defense on his way to a fifth Super Bowl MVP. The 21-year NFL veteran threw three touchdowns passes in the first half alone and ended the game 21-of-29 (72.4 percent completion rate) for the game.
Meanwhile, Mahomes had the worst game of his four-year NFL career, completing 26-of-49 passes for 270 yards and two interceptions and failing to lead the Chiefs to a touchdown in a game for the first time in his NFL career.
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It is also the lowest output for points scored in a game for a Mahomes-led offense in 54 career starts for the Chiefs.
Yes, it is true that Brady was only sacked once and was barely touched the entire night — while Mahomes faced pressure on 29 of his drop-backs. But a lot of that had to do with the former’s experience and pre-snap adjustments. Meanwhile, the latter’s impatience and inability to adjust to pre-snap formations ended up costing him.
“I just think we weren’t on the same page as an offense in general,” said Mahomes. I wasn’t getting the ball out in time. The receivers were running routes not to exactly where I thought that they’d be at. And the offensive line was good at times and some times they let guys get through.
Prior to Super Bowl LV, Mahomes had his way with every opponent he came across. Even in the few games he’s lost during his starting career since the 2018 season, he always looked good. However, this game was the absolute definition of a humbling moment for the 25-year-old quarterback.
Mahomes dropped back 56 times during Super Bowl and only faced a blitz on 11 percent of those drop-backs. Of the 29 pressures he faced on Sunday, 27 came against a pass rush of four or fewer.
Furthermore, he ran for a total of 497 yards before his passes/sacks tonight. Mahomes failed to take advantage of a four-man pass rush. He consistently killed any sort of a pocket the Chiefs’ offensive line could possibly create by running around for his life 10-to-20 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
Most importantly, he never adapted and adjusted — he consistently did this the entire game, hoping his pure skill and ability to throw the football and extend plays would be able to overcome these aforementioned mistakes.
Meanwhile, Brady completed a total of eight passes for 62 yards to his wide receivers. Yes, that’s right — he completed more passes for more yardage to his tight ends and running backs, with Rob Gronkowski leading the way with six receptions for just 67 yards.
But that’s the difference here. While Brady isn’t as “skilled” as Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees, he beats every quarterback he faces with his ability to take advantage of the opposition before the snaps — and by not making costly mistakes.
Did you see Brady throw any interceptions? Did you see him take any sacks or make any plays that hurt his team?
The answer is no.
Criticize Brady all you want for his “dink-and-dunk” nature. He’ll never create highlights the way Mahomes does with his baseball-esque throws, the way Rodgers does with his arm strength or the way Brees once did with his rocket arm.
He just does things efficiently — before and after the snap. Better than any quarterback in NFL history, that is.
And if there was any belief otherwise, he has eliminated that argument by beating three of the best quarterbacks in the game today in one postseason.
Mahomes learned a hard lesson tonight. While everything has come easy for him during his starting career, tonight was the first time he’s been truly humbled — and he was humbled tonight by the guy that’s going down as the G.O.A.T.
As Mahomes continues his very young career — and hopefully this won’t be the last time Mahomes matches up against Brady — he needs to learn two things: learn to beat the opposition before the snap, and learn how to stay in the pocket instead of endlessly running backwards like you’re playing in the backyard.
Why did Brady and the Buccaneers beat Mahomes and the Chiefs today?
They didn’t panic and they took what the defense gave them.
On the Chiefs’ end, they panicked and were flustered — they simply lost their composure. And that was largely due to Mahomes himself.
While many are ready to crown Mahomes as the best in the game today, Super Bowl LV is a stark reminder that Brady hasn’t given up the crown just yet.