Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes spoke for seven and a half minutes on Wednesday, spread over 15 rounds of media questions and answers.
He was accommodating and expansive for the most part, but there was one exception. In response to a request late in the conversation, he provided a terse six-second response, more than twice as short as any other.
Relevant context: Ahead of Sunday Night Football’s Kansas City-Tampa Bay game, the first since the two met in a Super Bowl two seasons ago, Buccaneers passer Shaquil Barrett mentioned he wouldn’t didn’t see much difference in the Chiefs. current offensive line and the one the Buccs shredded in that league game. A coming-out party would be scheduled for Sunday, he predicted.
What did Mahomes think of it?
In full: “I trust those five guys we have there. I feel like we have one of the best offensive lines in the league, and we’re going to go there with that mindset.
A few of Mahomes’ responses lasted nearly half a minute that day. But let’s stick with his briefest answer, because it’s the most revealing.
Over the past two seasons, Mahomes has obviously been driven by some of the outside noise, whether it’s coming from the majority, vocal minority, or one voice. Whether against him or against his teammates. He doesn’t say it out loud, however, instead leaving us to search for clues.
He just gave us one.
It takes a bit of reading between the lines, a bit of sitting on a few years of those press conferences, and just a bit of common sense. But he barely blinked when asked about Barrett’s comments. Kept his answer as short and to the point as possible. Direct and careful in his remarks.
He didn’t like what he heard, and he probably not only heard but saw it now. The video proof is actually bolder and, I have to say, more entertaining. Barrett actually opens by laughing out loud about it, and he occasionally smiles during his response.
“I really don’t think it’s too much of a difference,” he said, after laughter, when asked to compare this year’s Chiefs offensive line to the 2020 squad. favorable encounters. I think we have an opportunity to really dominate the game. I just think, yeah, we had an opportunity to really impose our will as passers, as edge takers this game. And we really could have a coming-out party.
Earlier this week, I wondered if a match that took place almost 20 months ago would have much relevance to the one that takes place on Sunday. It can go on forever in football time. The personnel has changed widely – and apparently someone has to alert Barrett that for the Chiefs, much of that change has come in the exact group of positions he has classified as roughly the same. Heck, the Buccs have since changed head coaches.
Is this game even worth revisiting?
It is now.
If Mahomes couldn’t find a reason to use that Super Bowl humiliation as some kind of fuel in Tampa Bay, Barrett just gave him one.
Mahomes’ six-second response, in this case, should have been limited to just two words:
Barrett made an interesting decision this week, and by interesting, I mean misguided — a decision that should have caused someone behind his Zoom camera to wave their arms for his attention, then mimic a GIF of Jonah Hill suggesting, Nah, man, let’s go and wrap this up.
It’s no secret that Mahomes has jumped on disrespect in the past. You’ve seen him play often enough to remember that he counted on his fingers not once but twice to remind us of all those instances, to conveniently forget about them in post-match press conferences.
Stories are fun. But there are numbers below. Mahomes has lost 17 games in his career, playoffs included. Nine times he had the opportunity to face a team in a rematch over the next two seasons, when rosters have some carryover.
He’s 7-2 in those rematches, and while that winning percentage is basically career-accurate, there’s an important note here: Both losses came in overtime. So, of the nine times he was offered a rematch with a team that had recently beaten him, none of the nine were able to beat him again in regulation time. He didn’t even possess the ball in either of those two overtimes.
As a reminder, we usually talk about games against the top tier of the league. They’re good enough teams to beat the Chiefs in the Mahomes era. There are no gimmicks on this rematch list.
And yet the record is there. And personal numbers too. He throws touchdowns at a higher rate in rematches than regular regular season games. Throw for more distance on average. Has a better completion percentage.
Well, by any chance this The guy wasn’t the one heading to Tampa Bay this weekend – if 20 months had expired that motivation – Barrett got him a plane ticket.
Not just him either.
While Barrett might see some similarities in the units protecting Mahomes, his eyes deceive him. Or maybe he only studied the tape from the last two weeks. The Chiefs’ offensive line has improved more than any other in 2021, an overhaul prompted by that Super Bowl game he’s referring to. Some models have rated the Chiefs as the best offensive line in football to open this season.
Four of Sunday’s five starting offensive linemen weren’t in Kansas City when the Super Bowl took place. Andrew Wylie is the only remaining player from the makeover.
I wonder what he thinks of all this, don’t you?
“He does that a lot. He talks a lot,” Wylie said. “So I’m not surprised. We’ll come out with something to prove. A little chip on our shoulder this week. That’s all I have to say.
But does that Super Bowl two years ago count this week?
“Of course,” Wylie said. “We show up on Sunday with a chip on our shoulder.”
Since Wednesday, if not already, that includes the quarterback.
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