Patrick Mahomes and the Race for the Most Yards and Touchdowns

After the dramatic ending to Super Bowl LIV, we face the reality of seven months without meaningful football again. That means seven months until we see Patrick Mahomes continue his assault on the NFL record books, raising the standard at the position with each game he plays. We’ll also see if Drew Brees returns for a 20th season to add to his passing records, which I’ve documented recently.

A couple of tables I like to post on Twitter from time to time are the leaders in passing yards and passing touchdowns by X number of regular-season games (no playoffs here). This is always an interesting way to look at the progression of these records and see who is really on pace to topple Brees some day.

Let’s start with the passing yardage leaders (CLICK TO ENLARGE):

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Mahomes already has the most passing yards through a player’s first 33 games (9,412), except he’s only played in 31 games so far. You can see he is on track to completely wipe Kurt Warner off this list, which used to include Andrew Luck and a first 17-game offering from Marc Bulger.

I’m not going to entertain the Matthew Stafford for Canton takes I’ve seen on Twitter recently in this post, but you can see he has the volume here to perhaps finish very high one day. Of course he could also get wiped out by Mahomes. But there’s a good chance we’ll see Stafford continue to erase some of Brees’ marks and probably take out that Matt Ryan chunk for Games 165-168.

If we turn our attention to touchdown passes, we see a higher caliber of quarterbacks (CLICK TO ENLARGE):

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Mahomes once again has been downright historic, though like Dan Marino in 1985 he did see a little decline towards the end of the season that has him neck and neck with the HOFer.

Aaron Rodgers has taken control of the leaderboard since Game 112, and he is technically currently tied with Brees at Game 187 with his 364 touchdown passes. It’s not a given that Rodgers continues to stay ahead the pace of Brees and Peyton Manning. Rodgers has had his lowest TD% of his career in each of the last two seasons. He’ll be 37 in 2020. If he maintains his average of just over 2.0 TD passes per game, he’d be at roughly 553 touchdown passes in his 275th game, or 6 TD passes above the Brees mark. That’s 94 games away, so Rodgers would have to play all but two games of his next six seasons to get there assuming we stick with 16-game seasons (hopefully) for the time being. He’d be 42 in the 2025 season at that point so it’s far from a lock.

Brees is reportedly thinking about retirement, but he finished 2019 so strong (playoff loss aside) that it would be a real shame if he didn’t return for his age-41 season. He is currently six touchdown passes ahead of Tom Brady (541 TD in 285 games), who only gets mentioned now because he’s never had the lead in any of these statistics.

Whether it’s Brees, Brady or Rodgers with the eventual lead here, it’ll be most interesting to see how dominant of a run Mahomes can have. Marino once look poised to put the record books out of reach, but he too slowed down after a torrid start.

When does Mahomes fall back to earth?

NFL Week 2 Predictions: The Matthew Stafford Playoff Predictor

Boy, after this week Roger Goodell could use an Oswald Cobblepot-type scheme to rescue a “kidnapped” baby to regain public support. Just don’t get caught with the “I played this stinking city like a harp from hell!” audio afterwards.

No matter how many times I try to run through a Ray Rice/Peterson-related monologue in my head, it just doesn’t come out right. Frankly, I’m tired of hearing about this stuff all week, so adding to it wouldn’t be very beneficial to anyone. It’s dominated the headlines, so instead of talking about how the Vikings can use Cordarrelle Patterson to drop the Patriots to 0-2 (would be huge), it’s all Peterson talk in Minnesota.

These stories aren’t the NFL I know. They’re the stories we hear every day on the local news, but now replaced with names of people we actually recognize. I just went to a local news’ website and found this familiar headline:

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Following the NFL for a living is a bit of an escape from all the constant reminders of the terrible things that happen across the world each day. Sometimes they happen in the NFL too, but this week (and month, really) has been especially bad.

This is still a human problem, far bigger than the NFL. How does it get better? That’s really not up to Goodell or the league to regulate human indecency. Unfortunately, we’ve had many years to find solutions with little progress. Someone, whether they’re a rich athlete or just living in Wilkinsburg, is going to beat their kids or spouse this weekend. If you listened to that dumbass woman with her Ray Rice jersey, some will think it’s justified.

Every time you justify, another good in you dies.
Faith and fear sears me, and love and you pull all the right strings.
“How we get older, how we forget about each other” she said.
Entwined within the sadder of days.

— Converge, The Saddest Day

Matthew Stafford: Playoff Predictor?

Before the 2013 season I had a stat on how Matthew Stafford was 1-23 against teams that finished the season with a winning record. Now obviously that’s not all his fault. He had good wins over 8-8 teams (otherwise 8-7), he played an unusually tough set of winning teams (none were-9-7) and had some good performances. Arguably the best game of his career was a comeback win over Seattle in 2012. But how did this progress last season when the Lions collapsed after a 6-3 start?

Early in the season, it was easy to joke that the Vikings and Redskins (2012 playoff teams) must be in store for a bad year after losing to Detroit. Then when the Bears were swept and the Cowboys were swept away by a last-minute drive, there were similar sentiments of these teams not finishing above .500. Of course, by season’s end none of those teams did finish above .500, but on Thanksgiving something unusual happened. The Lions mopped the floor with the Packers, who entered with a 5-5-1 record, but had their 4th starting quarterback after the big injury to Aaron Rodgers. That seemed to lock up the NFC North for Detroit, but it would never win another game and Stafford had a brutal December finish.

So he’s upped his record to 2-27 against winning teams, but that Green Bay win almost needs an asterisk. When the Packers had Rodgers earlier in the season, Detroit lost 22-9 in a game without Calvin Johnson.

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After Week 1, I feel pretty confident in saying the 2014 Giants are destined for a losing record, so Monday night’s game, which was one of Stafford’s best, tells me very little going forward. This week’s game in Carolina will be a much better test. I didn’t have the Panthers finishing above .500 this year, but they were good without Cam Newton in Tampa Bay last week. Derek Anderson really surprised me and the defense was pretty much as dominant as 2013. Cam’s back and this should be a highlight on Sunday’s schedule. Carolina had the best defensive DVOA in Week 1. Another strong performance and Stafford’s stock will deserve to  rise, but another dud and we could have a new addition to the table by December.

NFL Week 2 Predictions

Just .500 last week. I always feel Week 2 is one of the toughest of the year, because how much of last week was useful going forward? I had the Ravens on Thursday night, but the point spread would have killed me the last two weeks. I thought Ravens would win by 3 (the norm in this rivalry), but 26-6 was completely unexpected.

Winners in bold:

  • Patriots at Vikings
  • Cardinals at Giants
  • Falcons at Bengals
  • Saints at Browns
  • Jaguars at Redskins
  • Dolphins at Bills
  • Lions at Panthers
  • Cowboys at Titans
  • Rams at Buccaneers
  • Seahawks at Chargers
  • Chiefs at Broncos
  • Texans at Raiders
  • Jets at Packers
  • Bears at 49ers
  • Eagles at Colts

This is more about the schedule than actual quality of team, but a great shot for Houston to start 2-0. If all goes well for Denver, it could be 2-0 in  a division with three 0-2 teams by Sunday evening. I think Dallas gets back on track offensively and Tony Romo guides a narrow win on the road. The Colts rarely lose back-to-back regular-season games. The Eagles are a tough test, but I like a game-winning drive from Luck in a 31-28 final on Monday night.

Maybe this coming week the news will actually be on the games again.