Tom Brady versus Patrick Mahomes. A 41-year-old, five-time Super Bowl winner versus a 23-year-old, second-year quarterback. But a future NFL superstar at that. Mahomes threw a league-best 50 touchdown passes for the Kansas City Chiefs’ No 1 scoring offense this year, in only his first season as an NFL starter – he is just the third QB in NFL history to hit a half-century, after Peyton Manning and, yes, Brady. But, now Mahomes faces his toughest task yet; Brady in the playoffs.
Here, we break down some of the staggering stats registered by the two diametrically opposing quarterbacks as they prepare to battle it out on Sunday for the right to represent the AFC at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta on February 3. They’ve met before…
In Week Six of the regular season, the Patriots defeated the Chiefs 43-40 in a Foxborough thriller.
Both quarterbacks impressed, with Brady throwing for 340 yards, one touchdown and a 109.2 passer rating. Mahomes, meanwhile, put up 352 passing yards, four TDs, two interceptions and returned a 110.0 rating in a losing cause. Two of Mahomes’ touchdown passes were deep – 67 yards to Kareem Hunt and 75 yards to Tyreek Hill. The last QB prior to that with two deep TD passes versus New England, Nick Foles on the way to defeating them in Super Bowl LII.
Different to that October 14 meeting, the rematch is to be played at Arrowhead stadium, as Kansas City host their first ever AFC Championship game. Brady, would you believe it, has a losing record on the road in the playoffs (excluding neutral-site Super Bowls), with three wins to four losses – losing his last three straight. He has eight passing TDs to go with eight interceptions in those games, for a 75.9 passer rating.
For context, Brady is 20-3 at home in the playoffs, with 46 TDs, 18 INTs and a 93.1 rating. Mind the gap
There is quite a considerable age gap between these two. In fact, Sunday’s Conference Championship games feature two of the three largest age gaps between opposing quarterbacks in the playoffs since the 1970 merger.
New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees (40) and his Los Angeles Rams counterpart Jared Goff (24) have the third-highest age differential (15 years, 272 days), while Brady and Mahomes take top spot at 18 years and 45 days. When Mahomes was born in 1995, Brady had just graduated high school, he was four years old when Brady was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft and he was just six when Brady won his first Super Bowl in 2002.
Brady has since gone on to win five of the things, appearing in eight, while he has also racked up postseason records in passing yards (10,569), passing TDs (72) and wins (28). Mahomes, meanwhile, is looking for just his second playoff win – following Kansas City’s 31-13 beating of the Indianapolis Colts last week – but the odds are stacked against him. No quarterback with one or fewer career playoff starts has defeated Bill Belichick’s Patriots in the playoffs since 2001. Such QBs have gone 0-8 in that span, with a completion percentage of 56.9, a TD:INT ratio of 9:10 and a 73.3 passer rating.
The stats are similarly damning for a quarterback making their Conference Championship debut against a former Super Bowl winner. Since the 1970 merger, rookie QBs are 5-17, and 1-11 over the last 25 years. Brady, meanwhile, is preparing for his 13th AFC Championship encounter and eighth straight. Striking similarities
It’s not all doom and gloom for you Mahomes fans, however. The Chiefs quarterback has put up some ground-breaking numbers in 2018, the likes of which we haven’t seen since, well, Brady.
The AFC Championship game will mark the third playoff matchup in NFL history between two quarterbacks to have had a season with 50+ passing TDs. Brady has been involved in all three such games, but has lost each of the previous two to Peyton Manning. Brady’s 50-TD season came in 2007 when his Patriots team went the regular season undefeated before they were famously upset 17-14 by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. Mahomes’ 2018 numbers stack up favourably against his illustrious counterpart:
Mahomes is also looking to match Brady’s feat of leading his team to Super Bowl glory in only his second season in the NFL and first as a starter, just as Brady did in the 2001 season culminating in the Patriots defeating the Rams 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI. Brady’s numbers that year are dwarfed by Mahomes’. 318.6 yards per game to 189.5, 50 touchdowns to 18, and a passer rating of 113.8 to 86.5 But, Mahomes isn’t facing a second-year Brady. He’s up against the G.O.A.T, and his five Super Bowl titles, in search of an NFL-record sixth.