It’s the 43-year-old GOAT versus the 25-year-old Magician. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs will meet for the fourth time in three years on Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS). They also meet for the first time since Mahomes was anointed a Super Bowl champion last year and since Brady found himself a new home in Tampa Bay.
They aren’t just two of the league’s best with a penchant for big moments and big games — they are generational icons who have achieved universal recognition that transcends their sport.
With Brady, it’s always been a chess match. His success has come from methodically carving up defenses and fitting the ball into the tightest of spaces — although he’s taking many more chances in Bruce Arians’ offense as he tries to defy Father Time.
Mahomes, on the other hand, seems to defy the laws of physics and human anatomy on a weekly basis, contorting his arm into impossible angles to make equally impossible throws. While Brady brings will and determination — what propelled him from a seventh-string quarterback at Michigan and the 199th overall draft pick to a six-time Super Bowl winner — Mahomes brings the “wow.”
They’ve already had three riveting matchups, all decided by one score or less. With Brady now in the NFC South and seeing the AFC West only every four years, this could mark their last time facing off, unless both teams reach the Super Bowl before Brady retires.
Here’s a look back at those matchups, and what fans can expect when the two face off Sunday.
What it meant: The Chiefs were 5-0, and Mahomes, in his first year as the starter, was already setting the NFL on fire with 1,513 yards and 14 touchdown passes. The Patriots were 3-2 but on a two-game winning streak.
The game, appropriate for a Mahomes-Brady matchup, was high scoring. It featured nearly 700 passing yards, split almost equally between the two, and five touchdown passes, four from Mahomes. Mahomes threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill with three minutes left to tie the score at 40, but Brady then led a drive that ended with the winning field goal and a 43-40 Patriots victory. The Chiefs went on to a 12-4 record and the AFC’s No. 1 playoff seed, with the 11-5 Patriots immediately behind.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 15, 2018
Best moment/pivotal play for each QB: Brady’s three longest passes of the game came in the fourth quarter. None was bigger than a 39-yard throw to Rob Gronkowski that put the Patriots in position for the winning field goal. Mahomes had two long touchdown passes, the 75-yarder to Hill and one of 67 yards to Kareem Hunt.
What they said: “[Mahomes] made a lot of big ones — the one at the end to Tyreek was a great throw, and he had some other great throws. So tough to slow those guys down. They’ve been scoring a lot of points all year. They’re going to be pretty tough to stop, so glad we had our last shot and glad we took advantage of it.” — Brady
“I have the ultimate respect for Tom and everything that he did this game and his whole entire career. He’s had success in this league because he’s won games with last-minute drives like that. For us, you just have to find a way to win games like this. If you want to get to where you want to get to, you have to win games that are going to be tight and they’re going to be against really good opponents.” — Mahomes
Who won this round: Mahomes and the Chiefs sounded their presence, but Brady established early supremacy in the rivalry.
What it meant: The stakes were bigger this time as Mahomes and Brady met for the AFC championship. The first half had a much different look than the first…