Gridiron Greats PRO FOO TBA L L’ S BES T PL AY ERS
by Greg Bach
Gridiron Greats PRO FOO TBA L L’ S BES T PL AY ERS Aaron Rodgers Christian McCaffrey Lamar Jackson Patrick Mahomes
Aaron Donald Alvin Kamara Antonio Brown DrewBrees
Odell Beckham Jr Rob Gronkowski RussellWilson
J.J. Watt Julio Jones
Todd Gurley Von Miller
Gridiron Greats PRO FOO TBA L L’ S BES T PL AY ERS
by Greg Bach
MASON CREST MIAMI
Mason Crest PO Box 221876 Hollywood, FL 33022 (866) MCP-BOOK (toll-free) www.masoncrest.com
Copyright © 2023 by Mason Crest, an imprint of National Highlights, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission from the publisher. First printing 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 ISBN (hardback) 978-1-4222-4606-1
ISBN (series) 978-1-4222-4603-0 ISBN (ebook) 978-1-4222-7206-0 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Bach, Greg, author. Title: Patrick Mahomes / Greg Bach.
Description: Hollywood, FL : Mason Crest,  | Series: Gridiron greats: pro football’s best players | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2020014410 | ISBN 9781422246061 (hardback) | ISBN 9781422272060 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Mahomes, Patrick, 1995–Juvenile literature. | Football players–United States–Biography–Juvenile literature. | Quarterbacks (Football)–United States–Biography–Juvenile literature. | Kansas City Chiefs (Football team)–Juvenile literature. Classification: LCC GV939.M284 B33 2021 | DDC 796.332092 [B]–dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2020014410
Developed and Produced by National Highlights, Inc. Editor: Andrew Luke Production: Crafted Content, LLC
Chapter 1: Greatest Moments . . . . . . 7 Chapter 2: The Road to the Top . . . . 21 Chapter 3: On the Field . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Chapter 4: Words Count . . . . . . . . . . 47 Chapter 5: Off the Field . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Series Glossary of Key Terms . . . . . 72
Further Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Internet Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 Photo Credits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Educational Video Links & Author Biography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
KEY ICONS TO LOOK FOR
Words to Understand: These words with their easy-to-understand definitions will increase the readers’ understanding of the text while building vocabulary skills.
Sidebars: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. Educational Videos: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, providing them with additional educational content to supplement the text. Examples include news coverage, moments in history, speeches, iconic sports moments and much more! Text-Dependent Questions: These questions send the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there.
Research Projects: Readers are pointed toward areas of further inquiry connected to each chapter. Suggestions are provided for projects that encourage deeper research and analysis.
Series Glossary of Key Terms: This back-of-the book glossary contains terminology used throughout this series. Words found here increase the reader’s ability to read and comprehend higher-level books and articles in this field.
WORDS TO UNDERSTAND extricate – free someone or something from a constraint or difficulty partisan – a strong supporter of a cause or person resonate – evoke or suggest images, memories, and emotions revered – feel deep respect or admiration for something
CHAPTER 1 GREATEST MOMENTS
THE MAGNIFICENCE OF MAHOMES Patrick Mahomes put his personal stamp of greatness on the 2020 NFL playoffs with a flurry of spectacular playmaking that will resonate in the history books and the hearts of Kansas City fans forever. At the age of twenty-four, and in just his second season as a starting quarterback in the NFL, he rescued the Chiefs from three double digit postseason deficits to deliver a Super Bowl title to a franchise that had been starving for success and hadn’t won the big game in half a century. Mahomes’ heroic performance in the Chiefs’ 31–20 win over San Francisco—he threw for 286 yards and two game-changing fourth-quarter touchdowns—earned him Super Bowl MVP honors, the youngest quarterback to ever claim the award. Mahomes’ march into the record books began several weeks earlier when he somehow extricated the Chiefs from a gigantic 24–0 hole against Houston in the divisional round with a hard-to-believe five touchdown passes in the game’s final
40 minutes for a 51–31 come-from-way-behind win in which he also threw for 321 yards. Seven days later in the AFC Championship game against Tennessee, he salvaged the Chiefs’ season that was teetering on the brink of extinction early—they were staring at a 10-point deficit—by throwing for three touchdowns and running for another score to prevail 35–24. SPLENDID SELECTION Selected 10th overall by the Chiefs in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Texas Tech, Mahomes was handed the reins to the offense at the start of the 2018 season—and the staggering production commenced immediately. He threw four touchdown passes in the season opener, tossed half a dozen more a week later at Pittsburgh, and was magnificent the rest of the season. He racked up 5,097 passing yards and 50 touchdown passes that season, joining Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks to ever hit those marks together in a single season, and he walked away with the NFL MVP award. Ruthlessly efficient whether throwing from the pocket or on the run, Mahomes gives defensive coordinators migraines and teams fits. With his remarkable ability to contort his body and deliver throws from all sorts of awkward positions and strange angles, Mahomes extends drives and tilts games in the Chiefs’ favor. The son of a former professional athlete—his father played 11 seasons of Major League Baseball—Mahomes is an exceptional athlete who savors hard work, cherishes learning, and relentlessly chases improvement. Already the owner of multiple records and one of only three quarterbacks to raise the Lombardi Trophy before turning twenty-five (along with Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger), Mahomes is poised to shred the NFL’s most revered passing records.
HERE IS A LOOK AT SOME OF MAHOMES’ CAREER FIRSTS AND MOST IMPRESSIVE NFL ACCOMPLISHMENTS Patrick MAHOMES’ Greatest Career Moments
YOUNGEST SUPER BOWL MVP WINNER Mahomes deliveredanepic performance in thebiggest gameof his career so far, rallying the Chiefs froma 10-point fourth-quarter deficit against San Francisco inSuper Bowl LIV. During agloriousspanof6:09inthefinalquarter,withKansasCity’stitlehopesonlifesupport,Mahomes produced two touchdowndriveswhilecompleting8-of-12passes for 114yards in theprocess. His late-gameheroics inKansasCity’s31–20victoryearnedhimMVPhonors.He is theyoungest player to ever receive the award, and he is the second youngest quarterback towin a Super Bowl (Pittsburgh’s Roethlisberger is the youngest at twenty-three). For the game, Mahomes
threwfor286yards,and along with those two touchdown passes he alsoscoredona1-yard run in the first quarter. As the 2018 league MVP, hemoved ahead of Dallas great Emmitt Smithas the youngest player inhistory towin bothaSuperBowl title andanNFLMVPaward. Mahomes was named Super Bowl LIV MVP
as he led the Chiefs to a comeback win over San Francisco by throwing for 286 yards and two touchdowns, and also rushing for a score.
TIES NFL PLAYOFF MARK WITH FOUR TOUCHDOWN PASSES IN A QUARTER
The Kansas City Chiefs found themselves in a heap of trouble in their first game of the 2020 NFL playoffs as visitingHouston stuck 24 unansweredpoints on the scoreboard toquiet the 73,503 fanswhohad jammed intoArrowheadStadium. Mahomes refused toallowhis team’s SuperBowl dreams tofizzle, however, ashepiecedtogetheroneof thegreatestquarters inNFL playoffhistory. Duringamarvelous second-quarter stretch, he threwfour touchdownpasses, joiningDougWilliams (inSuper Bowl XXII) as the only quarterbacks inpostseasonhistory to accomplish that feat. Thecomebackchargestartedwitha17-yard touchdown toss to running
backDamienWilliams, and then Mahomes connected with tight end Travis Kelce for three touchdowns—a pair of 5-yard scores sandwiched around a 6-yarder—to seize a 28–24 halftime lead in a game they would win 51–31. Mahomes threw for 321 yards on the day, and finished with five touchdown passes.
Mahomes throws for a playoff record tying four touchdowns in one quarter to lead the Chiefs to a comeback victory over Houston in the divisional round of the 2020 NFL playoffs.
TIES KANSAS CITY FRANCHISE RECORD WITH SIX TOUCHDOWN PASSES IN A GAME
In just the thirdstart of hisNFL career,Mahomes carvedapart thePittsburghSteelers atHeinz Fieldwithasix-touchdownafternoon, equalingtheKansasCity franchiserecordfor touchdown passes ina game that has beenheldby LenDawson since 1964whenhe threw for 435 yards in awin over Denver. Mahomes displayed no early-season jitters, as he connected on 23 of 28 passes for 326 yards in the Chiefs’ 42–37win. He threw two touchdown passes to Travis Kelce, as well as scoring tosses to Chris Conley, Kareem Hunt, Demarcus Robinson, and Tyreek Hill. About two months later, Mahomes duplicated the feat in throwing six touch
downpasses ina54–51 shoot-out loss to the Los Angeles Rams on MondayNight Football . TheNFLrecordformost touchdown passes in a game is seven, held by eight quarterbacks. The most recent to match that was Drew Brees in 2015 against the New York Giants.
Mahomes threw for six touchdown passes to lead Kansas City to a 42–37 win over host Pittsburgh in Week 2 of the 2018 NFL season and tie Hall of Famer Len Dawson’s franchise record for touchdown throws in a game.
LEADS GAME-WINNING DRIVE IN NFL DEBUT Mahomesmade his NFL debut amemorable one by leading the Chiefs on a game-winning drive at Denver during the last week of the 2017 regular season. Knotted at 24 apiece, with less than threeminutes remaining in thegameand theball at theKansasCity21-yard line, the drivebeganwithMahomes being sacked for a 7-yard loss. The rookiequickly regroupedand directed theChiefs down the fieldwith the calmdemeanor of awily veteranas the partisan 75,928 fansonhanddid their best to rattlehim.Mahomeswas 4-of-5on thedrive for 52yards; scrambledonce for a4-yardgain; andhanded theball off toAnthonySherman three times for 13 yards topush the ball downfield to theDenver 16-yard line, where Chiefs’ kicker Harrison
Butker bootedagame- winning 30-yard field goal. Mahomes was 22-of-35passingfor the day for 284 yards. He threwone interception andwas sacked twice.
Mahomes leads a game-winning drive in his NFL debut at Denver in Week 17 of the 2017 NFL season.
WINS NFL MVP AWARD Mahomes usedhis big armtoproduce a coupleof titanic touchdown throws during thefinal weekof the2018 regular seasonagainstOakland. Those touchdownsput himin thecompany of the great Peyton Manning in the NFL record books as the only quarterbacks in league history to throw 50 touchdown passes and reach 5,000 yards in a single season. Manning had 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards during hismonster 2013 season, whileMahomes had 5,097 yards to go with an even 50 scoring tosses to win the NFL MVP award. Mahomes became just the thirdquarterback to throw50 touchdownpasses ina season (TomBrady of NewEnglandwas the other to hit themarkwith 50 in 2007). He joinedDanMarino of Miami,
Matthew Stafford of Detroit, DrewBrees of New Orleans, Jameis Winstonof TampaBay, Ben Roethlisberger of Pittsburgh, Manning, and Brady as the only quarterbacks to crack the5,000-yardpassing mark in a season.
Mahomes connects with Demarcus Robinson on an 89-yard touchdown for his 50th touchdown pass during the 2018 season.
THROWS FIRST NFL TOUCHDOWN PASS The first touchdown pass of Mahomes’ career featured several of the attributes that make himso incredibly difficult to defend: the vision, fabulous footwork, pinpoint accuracy, and ability to stand in and take a hit were on full display against the Los Angeles Chargers at the StubHubCenter duringWeek1of the2018NFL season. Taking the snap inshotgun formation ona 2nd-and-4playmidway through thefirst quarter, he zippedapass toTyreekHill cutting into themiddleof thefield just ashewasbeing takendownbyaChargers’ defensive lineman. The speedy Hill did the rest, blazing to the end zone untouched for a 58-yard score. It was Mahomes’ thirdpassof thedayandoneof four touchdownpasseshethrewontheafternoonin
the 38–28 Kansas City win. It was the first of two touchdowntosses toHill (theotherwas a 1-yarder in the fourth quarter).
Mahomes connects with Tyreek Hill on a 58-yard score against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1 of the 2018 season for his first NFL touchdown pass.
SPECTACULAR SCRAMBLING TOUCHDOWN IN AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Ever sincehisarrival intheNFL,Mahomeshasbeenwreckingdefensesanddominatinggames withhis goldenarm, but itwas his feet that delivered the game-changingdamage in theAFC Championship game against Tennessee on January 19, 2020. With his Chiefs trailing 17–14 with 23 seconds remaining before halftime, and facing a 2nd-and-10 at the Titans’ 27-yard line,Mahomesdroppedback topass. Unable tofindanopen receiver, hedodged thegraspof two linebackersdivingat hisankles, scooteddownthesideline, andmanagedtobust through the armtackles of twomoredefenders before tumbling into the end zone for an improbable
momentum-shifting touchdownthatcaused Arrowhead Stadium to shakewithathunderous celebration. The Chiefs never surrendered the lead after that play, going on to win the game 35–24 and securing a trip back to the Super Bowl, which the franchise had last participated in during Super Bowl IV in 1970.
Mahomes scrambles for a 27-yard touchdown run against Tennessee in the 2020 AFC Championship game.
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