Russell Wilson didn't lose the 2020 NFL MVP award with the rotten egg he laid in Buffalo on Sunday, but he certainly opened the door for Patrick Mahomes to steal the hardware out of Wilson's once-clenched fists.
Wilson played his worst game of the season against the Buffalo Bills, throwing for 390 yards and two touchdowns, but turning the ball over four times and essentially handing a win to the Bills. The loss dropped the Seahawks to 6-2, giving the 5-2 Cardinals a chance to claim a share of the division lead later on Sunday. It was a worst-case scenario for a player still in search of his first MVP vote compounded by the simultaneous great play of his biggest MVP competition.
Mahomes was the biggest difference-maker in his team's win today. He finished with 374 passing yards and four touchdowns. Equally important, he didn't commit a turnover, which has been the biggest differentiation between he and Wilson, and the Chiefs edged the Panthers 33-31. They are now 8-1 with a commanding lead in the AFC West and in position to be the top seed in the AFC.
Fair or not, that will matter when it comes to naming the MVP. If stats are created equal -- which in Mahomes and Wilson's case, they're now closer than imaginable a few weeks ago -- team record and playoff positioning become more important. Right now, Mahomes and the Chiefs have the edge there and there's no reason to think they'll trip up with only two playoff opponents (Bucs and Saints) remaining on their schedule. The Seahawks have a tougher road with two games against the Rams and one against the Cardinals remaining -- plus a game against the "playoff" Eagles.
As for the stats, Wilson had a seemingly insurmountable lead after throwing 14 touchdowns and one interception in the first three games. He padded his stats with four touchdowns and no interceptions against the 49ers last week. But after his disaster against the Bills, he's let Mahomes back into the conversation.
On the season, Wilson has thrown for 2,151 yards on 71.5% completions with 26 touchdowns and six interceptions. He's added 260 yards rushing without a rushing TD. The two lost fumbles against the Bills were his only two lost fumbles on the season. His eight turnovers are seven more than Mahomes.
After his monster game against the Panthers, Mahomes now has thrown for 2,315 yards on 66.9% completions with 21 touchdowns and only one interception. He's added 165 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He's only fumbled the ball once and hasn't lost one. The reigning MVP has played an extra game than Wilson, so the stats are slightly skewed, but his one turnover stands out as a big positive against Russ
Wilson came into this season having never earned an MVP vote in his career. He was the hot MVP choice early in the campaign and became the outright betting favorite after last week's beatdown of the banged-up 49ers. But this game against the Bills opened eyes for all the wrong reasons. It exposed Wilson's turnover issues compared to Mahomes and the Seahawks' issues beating good teams on the road. That will catch MVP voters' attention as the season progresses and give pause when they're deciding between Wilson and Mahomes.