Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has never beaten Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in two career matchups, but it's hard to fault the reigning NFL MVP for those defeats.
Mahomes combined to complete 39 of 67 pass attempts for 647 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions in those losses. The Patriots defense did very little to slow down Mahomes, and unless they find some adjustments to make, the outcome of Sunday's Week 14 showdown at Gillette Stadium could be very different than last season's results.
Here is Mahomes' take on the Patriots defense ahead of this weekend's game:
#Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes talking about the #Patriots defense.— Craig Kolodny (@NBCBostonCraig) December 5, 2019
"They are not going to give us a lot of opportunities. They are a very good defense..so it is about taking what's there and whenever you get the big shot... make sure you hit that and score touchdowns when you do. pic.twitter.com/2t6ZjEQ15D
The Chiefs haven't been afraid to take big shots against the Patriots with Mahomes at quarterback, and they've hit on several of them, too.
In the Week 6 matchup at Gillette Stadium last season, Mahomes connected on 67-yard and 75-yard touchdown passes to Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill, respectively, in a 43-40 loss. In the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium, Mahomes threw three touchdown passes, including a 23-yard scoring play to Damien Williams. Mahomes also completed passes of 21 and 27 yards on Kansas City's final drive of regulation that set up a field goal to force overtime.
Mahomes isn't on pace to match his 5,000-plus yards passing and 50 touchdowns from his MVP-winning 2018 season, but he's still playing at a very high level in 2019. Patriots safety Devin McCourty believes the experience Mahomes has gained will be a huge benefit to him.
"I think with any player, you get better with experience, understanding situations," McCourty told reporters Wednesday. "Any mistakes you make the year before or the game before, if you get in that situation again, you kinda learn from that. But it's hard. The guy played so well last year and did so many things at a high level. To really do that again the next year, to me, is the hardest thing, and he's doing it. He's still able to do things that you really wouldn't expect quarterbacks to do. I think overall, the understanding for him will just get better. I think it was against Tennessee and he was rolling to his left, and it looks like he might have a window to throw, but there's no one in front of him, so he just runs in for a touchdown. I think those little things will always continue to improve for him. The worst thing for a defense is he stays the same. We kinda hope he gets worse (laughs)."
Mahomes represents the toughest challenge of the season for McCourty and the rest of the Patriots pass defense. New England's pass defense has played very well through 12 games and ranks first in the league in yards allowed per game and interceptions, among other stats. Last week's loss to the Houston Texans was a rare subpar performance from this unit, as the AFC South team tossed four touchdown passes (the same amount the Pats had given up in the first 11 games combined).
Another lackluster effort from the Patriots pass defense could be devastating for the defending Super Bowl champs. How so? A loss for New England would pretty much end its hopes of securing the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoff race.
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