Patrick Mahomes has now been the Chiefs starting quarterback for five full seasons and during that time, he's somehow managed to make the job look relatively easy. Not only does he already have two Super Bowl wins under his belt, but he's also won two MVP awards.
Although Mahomes has had plenty of success, he's also experienced some failure and of those struggles, there seems to be two games that really stick with him the most. During a recent interview with Complex, Mahomes revealed the one game that has been the most mentally challenging for him so far, and in news that probably won't surprise you, that game came against a defense coached by Bill Belichick.
"I would say, the one game that was the most mentally challenging for me was the first time I played the Patriots in New England," Mahomes said.
Mahomes' first trip to Foxborough as a starter came in Week 6 of the 2018 season in a showdown that featured his 5-0 Chiefs against the 3-2 Patriots. Through the first five weeks of the season, Mahomes had been dicing up his competition. Not only did he average 302.4 passing yards per game, but he also threw 14 touchdown passes compared to just two interceptions through the first five weeks.
Of course, that success didn't carry over against the Patriots. Belichick has baffled many quarterbacks in his career and Mahomes was definitely confused by what New England did during the first half.
"I remember they came out with a defense; they hadn't played the entire season and I couldn't figure out the adjustments," Mahomes said. "It was my first year starting."
Mahomes didn't throw a single touchdown pass during a first half where the Chiefs trailed 24-9, but he did throw four TD passes in the second half of the 43-40 loss. The fact that he was able to eventually adjust to Belichick's defense gave him confidence going forward.
"I ended up having a pretty good second half and making stuff happen, but that kind of helped me become a better quarterback because I had to know that I have to expect the unexpected," Mahomes said.
Although playing the Patriots for the first time was his most mentally challenging game, that's not the loss that sticks with Mahomes the most. The Chiefs QB lost a Super Bowl and it's not that loss, either.
The loss that sticks with Mahomes is one where Kansas City blew a 21-3 lead to the Bengals in the 2022 AFC Championship Game.
"The one that sits with me the worst is the AFC Championship Game against the Bengals, just because I felt like I let the team down because I didn't play up to par in that second half after playing a great first half," Mahomes said.
The Chiefs QB was nearly perfect in the first half, going 18 of 21 for 220 yards and three touchdowns, but the second half was a different story. Over the final two quarters, Mahomes completed just eight of 18 passes for 55 yards and zero touchdowns while also throwing two interceptions.
"I always feel like I need to put our team in the best position to win and I feel like I didn't do that in the second half," Mahomes said.
After losing that game, Mahomes bounced back in a big way in 2022. Not only did he lead the NFL in passing yards during a regular season where he was named MVP, but he got revenge on the Bengals in the AFC title game before picking up his second Super Bowl win with a 38-35 victory over the Eagles.