Patrick Mahomes is off to one of the greatest starts for a quarterback in NFL history, throwing for the most passing yards (20,618), and having the highest passer rating (105.8) through a player’s first five seasons in the league. Mahomes had a strong 2021 season as well, completing 66.3% of his passes for 4,839 yards with 37 touchdowns to 13 interceptions (98.5 rating).
Though last season was a good one for Mahomes, it wasn’t the typical one expected from him. It was the first season Mahomes didn’t finish with a passer rating over 100, and he finished with the lowest pass yards per game (284.6) and most interceptions (13) in a season.
Mahomes got off to a slow start in the 2021 season, throwing 10 interceptions in his first eight weeks and having a 94.5 passer rating as the Kansas City Chiefs stumbled to a 4-4 beginning. The Chiefs quarterback was coming off an offseason rehabbing from surgery on his toe, something he didn’t have to worry about this year.
“Just being in better shape is the best thing about it. Whenever you come off injury, you try to stay in shape, you try to ride the bike or do whatever you can, especially with a foot injury. But it’s hard to get that running in and to get that sprinting in,” Mahomes said last week. “And I feel like now I’m at a better point than I was last year as far as explosiveness and conditioning wise, so definitely that’s helped a lot. And hopefully I can keep that momentum going towards the season.”
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Mahomes did finish the 2021 season strong with just three interceptions in his final nine games and having 18 touchdowns during the stretch. The Chiefs went 8-1 in those final nine and won their sixth consecutive AFC West title in the process, as Mahomes finally had enough time to get back to peak form after rehab slowed down his preparation for the year.
There are still things Mahomes has to work on heading into 2021, as his 7.6 average depth of yards thrown was a career-low (30th of 36 qualified passers). He also had just 9.7% of his passes that traveled 20-plus yards downfield, which was also a career low. Mahomes is working on improving those numbers by refining his game with his trainer, Bobby Stroupe, who moved into the Kansas City area last year and has been working with his client on his strength training — maximizing his potential.
“He tries to put me in those positions that I was in during the last season. So, if I get put in those positions again, I can make those throw,” Mahomes said. “I think that’s the biggest thing we do is we get myself in these awkward positions where I throw from and he kind of strengthens those things so that when my body does get put in those positions, I can make the plays happen.”
A full offseason where Mahomes can work on his game should do wonders for him come September.