The unusual trappings of an unorthodox season and the erosion of the modern calendar having any meaning at all in our day-to-day lives have resulted in this NFL season funneling through a different prism. Perceptions shift and everyone is studying anyone and everything from new angles, which tends to happen when a society is taken down to its collective knees. So through that logic, the relative quietness of Kansas City's tremendous Super Bowl-defending run makes sense. And maybe some of the dulled senses are a reflection of how the exceeding sharpness of the arrowhead has become routine.
But damn. Let there be no mistake. The Chiefs are once again top of the class. A worthy champion laying waste to challengers via the same otherworldly efficiency on display for three years. A ferocious offense armed to the teeth with game-breaking weaponry bound to be deployed in exciting and lethal new ways led by a quarterback who is, once again, doing everything in his power to become the greatest to lineup under or behind center.
Patrick Mahomes was the Nintendo 64 to Tom Brady's Super Nintendo yesterday in Tampa. The new and improved GOAT out-dueled the class of the previous generation. His offense was more animated, capable of more things. Flashier. More robust. The future becoming the present and filing the past even further away in the archives.
Mahomes completed 37 of his 49 passes for 462 yards and three scores. He connected with the suspiciously-speedy Tyreek Hill 13 times for 269 yards and all three touchdowns, including seven times for over 200 yards in the freaking first quarter. Travis Kelce's eight receptions were comparatively quiet, but enough to move him into second in receiving yards this season leaguewide behind Hill — surrounding the 1,000-yard mark on both sides.
The Kansas City gunslinger leads the NFL with 3,497 passing yards to his name already and is in position to best his career-high of 5,097. He's thrown 30 touchdowns compared to two interceptions. He's rushing at a more prolific rate than he ever has. The Chiefs are scoring more than three points per game more than they did last year.
All of this to say the obvious one more time. Mahomes is barely human. He's so good that his team can win 10 of its first 11 games and people shrug, wondering what happened in the sole misstep. The rest of the NFL is trapped on a gondola with Andy Reid doing his best insane Willy Wonka, making no promises as to when this deluge will stop, if ever.
There are any number of round numbers or flowery phrases to drive home just how dominant Mahomes continues to be and will be until further notice. Perhaps the most meaningful idea in all the lot, though, is simply pointing out how underwhelming it is to be overwhelmed by his greatness.
It's no longer a race to immortality. He's there already. Mahomes hasn't simply inherited the torch from Brady. He's taken it by sheer force. Every long-range bomb and no-look pass is another salvo running up the immediate score and trying to widen the long-view ledger.