No matter what is going on internally with the Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes just keeps getting the job done.
Mahomes threw for 377 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Chiefs to a hard-fought 27-24 overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Kansas City is the first AFC team to clinch a playoff spot with the win.
The MVP favorite made just one mistake, a third-quarter interception, but was otherwise stellar taking what a tough Baltimore defense gave him.
Lamar Jackson had 218 total yards (147 passing, 71 rushing) in his first professional loss. The Ravens entered Sunday with three straight wins since Jackson took over for an injured Joe Flacco.
Patrick Mahomes Should Run Away With NFL MVP
Drew Brees has thrown for an average of 166.3 yards per game over his last three games.
Mahomes is racking up those numbers per half during the same timeframe.
Sometimes raw yardage numbers don't tell the full story.
In this case, they totally do. Mahomes is the NFL's MVP, and it should not be considered all that close at this point. You could say his cross-body throw to Tyreek Hill on the Chiefs' game-tying drive in the fourth quarter was his MVP moment—if only there weren't already so many of those moments already in this spectacular season.
Kudos to Hill as well, battling through an obviously painful foot problem to haul in that catch and play a huge role in overtime.
While obviously a very secondary issue, Mahomes' brilliance in the wake of Kareem Hunt's release has only further solidified his MVP campaign. In back-to-back weeks, Mahomes has foisted the team on his back and done whatever it has taken to push the Chiefs to win close games. He was near-flawless through the air last week and was the Chiefs' leading rusher.
Mahomes threw the ball a Texas Tech-esque 53 times on Sunday against a Ravens defense that statistically ranks among the NFL's best in every category. He beat three-man defenses, all-out blitzes and everything in between while putting up video game numbers and leading a last-minute comeback.
This is the MVP.
Chiefs Expose Limitations of Building Offense Around Lamar Jackson
These two things are both true and not mutually exclusive:
1. The Ravens have a better chance to win with Lamar Jackson as their starting quarterback than they do with Joe Flacco.
2. The Ravens offense is greatly limited with Lamar Jackson as their starting quarterback.
Jackson is not a good passer. NFL defenses don't respect him through the air, and he's given them little reason to do so. When the Ravens are forced to go through the air with little threat of a run, things fall apart.
The Ravens should have lost the game in regulation after Jackson lost a strip-sack deep in their own territory and set up the Chiefs for a game-winning field goal. Harrison Butker bailed Baltimore out by missing a relative chip shot, but it's indicative of the Ravens' struggles any time they're forced to air it out.
On the CBS broadcast, Tony Romo said it was almost a good thing for the Chiefs when Jackson was forced out of the game for long third- and fourth-down plays in overtime. The implication was obvious. Robert Griffin III can throw the ball; Jackson cannot.
What Jackson does in the ground game is invaluable and fits perfectly with a defense-first Baltimore team. There are just severe limitations through the air.
The Chiefs host the Los Angeles Chargers next Thursday. The Ravens host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.