Contextualizing Mahomes; Charting Josh Allen's Divisional Round vs Kansas City
Looking at the other side of an all-time quarterback duel
When the dust settled from the Divisional Round battle between the Chiefs and the Bills, one of the first things I thought was, “that might be the best-quarterbacked game I’ve ever seen.”
This wasn’t a one-sided statement. This applied to both Patrick Mahomes, who ultimately emerged victorious, and the one who had to watch helplessly on the sideline as his defense crumbled at the end of regulation and overtime.
From all appearances, Allen did pretty much everything possible for his part to win in Kansas City. He played an exceptional game and made some incredibly clutch plays. He just fell victim to the greatest game I’ve ever seen from a quarterback whose snaps I’ve charted.
That’s not hyperbole. Mahomes essentially played the perfect game against an excellent Bills defense while creating yards and making tough throws throughout. If you’re new here, you should take some time to read about it.
Shortly after that article was written, readers asked me if I would look at the other side of the coin of that game and chart Allen’s snaps utilizing the same methodology I use for Mahomes.
Part of rationale was to answer the lingering question of “who did it better.” After all, while Mahomes collected the W, we all know that there’s a lot outside the control of a quarterback and counting winz is a foolish way to gauge who the superior player was. And for as brilliant as Mahomes was… and yes, he was absolutely brilliant…
… yet there will always be those who will say that Mahomes just got lucky or had superior help, etc. And so it makes sense to go to the film and see whether that holds up under scrutiny.
Reviewing Allen’s snaps also serves the purpose of providing some context for Mahomes’ brilliance that day when compared to another fantastic performance. Further, it gives us the opportunity to compare two of the best players in the game at their position and how they win (and what they are asked to do) within their offenses, at least in a single game. In all, it’s just the sort of information-diving that we can do in July before training camp starts.
If you haven’t read a QB review here, this is the general idea/methodology:
… when I watch all-22 film I chart plays/yards created when the play breaks down, franchise QB throws (you know them when you see them), multiple-read plays, accurate/inaccurate throws from both in and out of the pocket, flushes (plays the quarterback is forced to bail out due to pressure before anyone is open), drops by receivers and yards cost, potential interceptions (because a bad throw is still a bad throw if the defender drops it), missed shots (a receiver who was open and should have likely been seen, but wasn’t), and “happy feet” (when a quarterback bails on clean pocket or creates pressure with his movement. By looking at these things, we can separate Mahomes’ (or any quarterback’s) play from the team around him and get a feel for how he himself performed in areas that actually measure quarterback performance.
Let’s look at the numbers and talk Mahomes vs Allen