Has New England Patriots HC Bill Belichick solved Patrick Mahomes?
In attempting to assess whether or not Patriots head coach Bill Belichick owns Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, both halves of the question sound silly.
After all, what is ownership if not relative? This can’t be a question of whether Belichick will eternally assert dominance over Mahomes; such a thing is impossible. We’re dealing with a potential all-time quarterback, someone you can only hope to contain rather than erase.
But Belichick, too, is a far-more-established all-timer; wouldn’t the surprise be Mahomes routinely picking apart his sterling defenses, instead of the other way around? The status quo should involve Belichick’s schemes slowing down the offensive operation, no matter who’s under center.
After the latest Patriots-Chiefs fracas, though, which involved another quiet first half for Mahomes and a near Hoyer-led upset before everything fell apart, Colin Cowherd tried to detail the question on everyone’s lips: Do we have enough data now to say that Belichick has Mahomes’ number, at least in comparison to Russell Wilson, a similar QB who often has the upper hand in matchups with the Pats?
According to the radio personality, the difference is not seen in the final scores of any of these matchups, but rather the manner of scoring, the methodology of the touchdowns accrued, and the confusion Mahomes routinely displays in the first two quarters of each battle, before he gets his sea legs.
“Belichick cannot stop Russell Wilson,” Cowherd began, in arguing the difference between the two MVP-caliber marksmen. “Faced him four times. Can’t stop him.”
“Both Russell Wilson and Mahomes have faced him this year. Russell Wilson carved him up. Only five touchdowns, but he was throwing the ball over the top. These were big plays against Belichick’s great defense, which never gives up big plays.”
“Mahomes, [Monday] night, had a couple of touchdown passes. Jet sweeps. Those don’t even count as throws downfield,” he continued.
The carnage, too, comes mostly in a series of slow first halves for Mahomes: one TD, three picks, and a 58% completion percentage combined in his four recent meetings with the Patriots defense.
Of course, a flurry of late work has also defined these Mahomes performances, but Cowherd’s not wrong that the narrative about Russell Wilson’s “ownership ” of the Patriots would be delivered far differently if not for a single Super Bowl miscue.
For now, it’s fair to say that the second halves Mahomes has posted, time and again, undo the argument that his greatest weapons have been forever muted by Belichick’s whizzing defensive schemes.
But Monday night did offer mounting evidence that, by routinely erasing Mahomes’ first-half output, strong QB play for the Patriots for all four quarters could lead to rough-and-tumble victories over the near-dominant Chiefs in any setting.