Is Patrick Mahomes to blame for Kansas City's Super Bowl loss?
The Chiefs' slogan of "Run It Back" had a new meaning on Super Bowl Sunday.
Patrick Mahomes spent most of the day running for his life.
Mahomes is known for his ability to defy the odds, as the Chiefs mounted comebacks from deficits of at least nine points in four of their five postseason games heading into Sunday.
However, against Tampa Bay, Mahomes' heroics were of no use, as the Bucs squashed any comeback efforts from the defending Super Bowl MVP.
Twice, Mahomes escaped Tampa Bay's unrelenting pass rush and used his improvisation skills to deliver somewhat accurate throws to his receivers, but both resulted in incompletions.
Regardless of horizontal throws and memorable backfield scampers, Mahomes came up short.
On Monday, the discussion revolved around this: Just as quarterbacks get a lion's share of the credit for a victory, does the quarterback – Mahomes in this case – deserve a majority of the blame for a loss?
Shannon Sharpe – admittedly a "Mahome-boy" fan – thinks so, as Mahomes completed just 53.1% of his throws, threw two interceptions and never found a rhythm on the day. Sharpe gave him the lowest grade possible for the Super Bowl.
"He was off early ... He missed a few throws. Then the pressure – it just started coming. And he never put Tampa in a situation where they had to do anything other than do what they were doing."
With Mahomes starting under center, the Chiefs had never lost a game by more than eight points in the regular season or the postseason.
In fact, the last time Mahomes started a game and lost by more than the 22 points his team lost by on Sunday was back in 2016, his junior year of college at Texas Tech.
After that 22-point loss, Stephen A. Smith said Monday morning that any conversation about Mahomes being the future GOAT must cease, considering that he was thoroughly outplayed by the current GOAT.
"When you get beat down, that doesn't get glossed over. ... We still recognize Patrick Mahomes being the great quarterback that he is ... [but] no matter what you do in your career, you lost to the man considered the GOAT who beat you at age 43. We will consistently remember that encounter."
For the first time in Mahomes' college and NFL career, he found himself shut out of the end zone as the Chiefs' dreams of becoming the first franchise in 15 years to repeat as Super Bowl champions were crushed.
Tom Brady, on the other hand, found the end zone three times through the air and finished with a 125.8 passer rating.
Mahomes registered a 52.3 passer rating.
But some, including Nick Wright, believe the loss doesn't solely fall on Mahomes' shoulders. Wright posited that the circumstances surrounding Sunday's game were not in the QB's favor.
"I think it is incredibly difficult to come away with any take other than there is not a quarterback in the league that would have fared any better yesterday. ... If I'm laying blame, Patrick Mahomes is very, very far down that list of folks who have accountability for what happened to the Chiefs last night."
Wright is undoubtedly pointing at Kansas City's battered offensive line.
As a result, Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles exploited the line expertly, pressuring Mahomes on 29 of his 56 dropbacks, the most of any quarterback in Super Bowl history.
ESPN's Dan Orlovsky called it "the most one-sided line of scrimmage Super Bowl I've ever seen."
"This was about the quarterback having to play faster than he wanted to. This was about the offense having to play faster than the play was set up to be. And that's because this defensive line was absolutely dominant, and the coverage matched it. ... Patrick Mahomes looked human, and it was the first time I'd ever seen it."
Despite it all, Mahomes was sacked only three times, as he tried to elude the rush with his feet. Mahomes ran for 497 yards prior to releasing the ball throughout the course of the game, the most pre-throw and pre-sack yards run by any QB in any game this season, according to Next Gen Stats.
And for Brandon Marshall, similar to Wright and Orlovsky, it was less about Mahomes more about other factors, in Marshall's estimation, the Tampa Bay defense.
"They shut out Patrick Mahomes, the baby GOAT. That's how awesome of a job Todd Bowles did [on Sunday]."
Regardless of the loss and who's to blame, Mahomes & Co. are favored to win the Super Bowl next season, according to FOX Bet (+550).
And Mahomes, for one, is already looking ahead to next February.