Patrick Mahomes had a brilliant 2018 season with the Kansas City Chiefs, and his NFL MVP trophy is proof.
But the 23-year-old quarterback still has a lot to learn -- thanks in part to the New England Patriots, who defeated Mahomes' Chiefs both in the regular season and in the AFC Championship Game.
Kansas City outscored New England in the second half of both of those contests but couldn't rally to overcome early deficits. In a recent conversation with NBC Sports' Peter King, Mahomes said those losses to the Patriots taught him a valuable lesson entering his third NFL season.
"You can’t make mistakes against Tom Brady and coach [Bill] Belichick and the Patriots the way we did in both games, early in the game," Mahomes told King. "We obviously made things happen in the second half of both those games and gave ourselves chances to win.
"But if we just go in with the mindset of making adjustments even quicker, making sure that you go out there with a game plan and execute at a high level just from the beginning. They’re gonna keep executing, so you better, too."
The Patriots are one of the NFL's best at making in-game adjustments, and they did just enough to hold off Chiefs comebacks in a 43-40 win at Gillette Stadium in Week 6 and a 37-31 overtime victory at Arrowhead Stadium in the AFC title game.
Mahomes remembers one mistake that was particularly costly in Kansas City's Week 6 loss: An interception he threw to Patriots safety Duron Harmon late in the first half while trying to avoid a sack.
"I feel like if I can just get better at situationally knowing when to take that shot and when not to, I think that’d be a big step in my game," Mahomes said.
The Patriots host the Chiefs in Week 14 this season and very well could see them in the postseason again, so we'll find out if Mahomes benefited from those learning experiences.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.