Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes went up and down the field in Foxboro, challenging the scoreboard operator to keep pace. When the dust settled, the elder statesman escaped with a 43-40 victory. The young gun left the saloon knowing next time he’ll likely be quicker on the draw and better in the red zone.
It was a Venn diagram of quarterbacking greatness. Brady, with his five Super Bowls, represented the past. Mahomes, with his infinite talent and howitzer arm, the future. They met in the middle to create a thrilling present and — hopefully — a preview of a spellbinding AFC Championship Game.
Kansas City’s emerging superstar threw for 352 yards and four touchdowns. He also showed his rawness with two interceptions. New England’s on again-off again MVP threw for 340 and one score. He also showed what elusiveness he has remaining with a crucial and bizarre 4-yard touchdown run.
They found success in different ways. Mahomes did it with freewheeling style and arm strength, Brady with scheme and guile and wit. More often than not, the end result was the same: points. The two teams combined for 50 points in the second half and 83 overall. There was only a single punt all night long. It was Big 12 football under the label of NFL.
High expectations were met and exceeded. There was no passing of the torch from Brady to Mahomes, symbolic or otherwise, but there was some illumination shed. Both are great. One is headed for Canton.
The other may get there too. Who knows?
Sunday night’s virtuoso performance is a reminder that Brady is the conductor of a philharmonic. Mahomes is still a progidy, like a 7-year-old who can play Chopin by ear. And there are few things more exciting in this world than unrealized and promised potential.
The two combined to play a beautiful duet. The more accomplished performer ended up taking the lead and hitting the winning notes. But what a joy it was to listen — and watch time meld together.