Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs have had some heated contests against the Cincinnati Bengals, including two AFC Championship games.
The Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo has gotten the best of the Chiefs quarterback more than any other team. But now, Anarumo’s unit is struggling mightily, having just given up 34 points to Mason Rudolph and the Pittsburgh Steelers last week.
Somehow, Cincinnati allowed three receptions of over 40 yards to George Pickens in that game.
— Steelers Depot 7⃣ (@Steelersdepot) December 24, 2023
Meanwhile, Mahomes just had the worst game of his career, according to Pro Football Focus, in large part because he had five turnover-worthy plays against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 16.
He earned a terrible grade of 34.2, according to the football analytics site.
By far the worst game of Patrick Mahomes’ career yesterday.
– 5 turnover-worthy plays including pick-6 and two dropped INTs
– Muffed handoff that goes to Pacheco’s stat line as a fumble
-85% of his 235 passing yards came after the catch
— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) December 26, 2023
And that performance didn’t come out of nowhere. Mahomes has not been his usual elite self this year, as he’s thrown 15 interceptions, including at least one in each of the last four games.
Put those pieces together, and what do you get? Mahomes coming out with something to prove against a Cincinnati team that is giving up big yards and finds itself essentially in a must-win situation.
The phenomenon of regression to the mean almost guarantees that Mahomes will play better than he did against the Raiders.
Throw in the fact that Mahomes’ haters are already celebrating as if he’s not the same player, and the superstar will have more than enough motivation to pick apart a secondary that hasn’t been able to stop big plays.
Of course, Cam Taylor-Britt will be back, and Chidobe Awuzie has taken full responsibility for his poor performance against the Steelers, so there is a chance that the Bengals will know how to respond.
We preview the Bengals vs Chiefs game in the video below: