The legend of the Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes rivalry goes way back. Way beyond the realms of the National Football League. In fact, it dates all the way back to when they were both in college.
When the two took on each other back in 2016, the scorecard at the end of the night was a sight to behold. 66-59. Breaking all sorts of Football Bowl Subdivision records, they displayed signs of the things to come.
Fast forward to 2021, and the two face off again. But this time, the stakes are as high as ever. Meeting for the first time in the NFL Playoffs, the two sides are gunning for success in the Divisional Round.
Mayfield finally delivering the goods
Ever since making his debut back in 2018, Baker Mayfield has been a quarterback with much promise. But that’s what it had remained for the first 2 seasons.
Mayfield struggled to recreate some of the form that made him 2018’s 1st overall draft pick and a 2017 Heisman Trophy winner.
But ever since Kevin Stefanski took over as the Cleveland Browns’ Head Coach, it’s been a different story. Baker is finally showing signs of being the franchise quarterback the Browns have been longing for for years.
The QB drafted from the Oklahoma Sooners has been putting up career-best figures and has found form at just the right time. Over the course of his last 7 games in the regular season, Mayfield was averaging close to 300 yards a game.
He carried that form into the playoff game against division rivals, Pittsburgh Steelers, as well. With over 260 passing yards and 3 touchdowns against the Steelers, Mayfield led the Browns to their first playoff win since 1995.
Patrick Mahomes without football for 3 weeks
Once the AFC’s top seed was sealed by the Kansas City Chiefs, courtesy of a win against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 16, the franchise decided to rest a whole host of their starters for the dead rubber tie against the LA Chargers for the final gameweek.
Among the list of players rested for the game includes their star quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. This means that when Mahomes takes to the field against the Browns on January 17th, the quarterback will have gone without a sniff of professional football for 3 weeks.
Given that the top seed in each conference this year equates to a first-round bye, a gap of 3 weeks is something that can leave players without match sharpness.
While Mahomes will surely have been training for the big day, the sort of preparation required for such games can only be gathered by playing other teams. The Chiefs though will be hoping that Mahomes can get going from the word go.
And with 38 touchdown passes and over 4,700 passing yards this season to his name this season, it’s no wonder that the Chiefs are banking on Mahomes to pick up from right where he left off.
If the two can put a similar performance as they did back in 2016, then folks, grab yourself some popcorn. We might just be in for another blockbuster event.