Things could not have been going better for the Kansas City Chiefs during the opening minutes of the second quarter of Sunday’s AFC Championship Game. They had held the Bengals' offense without a touchdown and led the must-win game 21-3 with five minutes left in the half. That is when it all went horribly wrong for the reigning conference champions. While the trouble started on defense after giving up a 41 yard TD to Samaje Perine with just over a minute left before halftime. Then, the Bengals came out in the third quarter and blanked the Chiefs, putting up 10 unanswered points to tie the game heading into the fourth quarter. While the defense folded under the pressure and allowed 13 unanswered points to start the second half, the blame for this loss cant fall just on them.
This is because Patrick Mahomes had a truly tragic performance in the second half. Had he even played slightly below-average football the Chiefs probably would have won. Instead, Mahomes had one of his worst halves of football in quite some time. Before halftime, Mahomes had 220 yards and three passing touchdowns. Bengals fans were pissed and sports bettors were already counting their losses. However, the Bengals’ defensive coordinator Lou Anaruma made changes at the half that totally disrupted the Chiefs' offense. As a result, Mahomes threw for just 55 yards and an interception in the second half.
Consider this. Patrick Mahomes had a strong but not amazing QBR in the first half of 98.0. For reference, Mahomes finished seventh in QBR during the regular season at 101.6. Aaron Rodgers led the league with a QBR of 110.9. However, during the second half and overtime, Mahomes QBR was 1.4. That is not a typo. Mahomes actually had a QBR of zero in overtime. The game left him with the worst overall QBR of all QBs on Sunday at 40.8 and left his team with a lot of questions heading into the offseason. Kudos to coach Anaruma to see an exploit in the Chiefs’ offensive attack and make the most of it.
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