Brady’s admiration for Mahomes continues 11 months after epic title game
Brady, who at 42 is 18 years older than the Chiefs‘ third-year quarterback, went out of his way at Arrowhead Stadium last year to seek out Mahomes in the lockers and speak at length with his young counterpart, something he couldn’t do on the field.
“He’s a great player and he had a great season,” Brady said. “I think that with the celebration and so forth that went on on the field after the game, I didn’t get a chance to tell him that. We’re all in this sport and we all watch each other play a lot of football. We study everyone and you kind of gain admiration for what they do and how they do it.”
The admiration has not worn off over the intervening months. Indeed, in the midst of his film study this week for Sunday’s rematch of that game, this time at Gillette Stadium, Brady said he couldn’t help but be impressed by Mahomes’ play.
“There’s a lot of great traits, as a player and a leader,” Brady said. “There are things that he does that are hard to teach.”
Despite missing two games with a dislocated right kneecap, Mahomes has thrown for 2,983 yards and 20 touchdowns with just two interceptions, completing 64.5% of his passes.
Brady is averaging 26 fewer passing yards per game and has thrown 18 TD passes with six interceptions, completing 61.1% of his tosses.
“He sees plays to make that a lot of other quarterbacks wouldn’t see, just because of his ability to do it,” Brady said of Mahomes. “He’s just a phenomenal player, and he picked up this year where he left off last year.”
Brady, of course, won’t be facing Mahomes directly. His concern is the Kansas City defense, which he said has changed since January, starting with the hiring of Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator and continuing with numerous personnel changes.
“They have a lot of playmakers and have added some guys that are making a lot of plays for them,” Brady said. “(Defensive end) Frank Clark, (safety) Tyrann Mathieu, and they have guys that have been there, (safety Daniel) Sorensen, (cornerback Bashaud) Breeland’s a good player, (cornerback Charvarius) Ward was there last year, so I’ve got a lot of respect for this defense. They make you earn it.”
The Patriots enter Sunday’s game at 10-2, having lost 28-22 at Houston last Sunday. The Chiefs are 8-4 and have won their last two games.
The Patriots traditionally bounce back well from losses, and Brady said it was because Bill Belichick puts the team in the proper frame of mind.
“There’s been a lot of urgency, I think, both when we win and when we lose,” Brady said. “Coach puts us right back into the mode of preparation, and gets us ready to play a game. This is a big one, it’s on our schedule next, and it’s a big challenge for us.”
Brady wanted to make one thing clear: He did not injure his toe during a tryout to become the Patriots’ new place-kicker.
“Nope, that’s not how I hurt it and I’m not the new kicker,” said Brady, who actually has kicked in the NFL. He’s punted three times in 20 seasons, with a long of 48 yards against Denver in the 2011 playoffs.
The Patriots still did not have a place-kicker at practice Friday following the release of Kai Forbath earlier in the week.