Mahomes keeps turning double-digit deficits into wins

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The most precarious lead in the NFL these days might be a double-digit one over Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Mahomes engineered his 12th comeback from a deficit of at least 10 points in the past four seasons on Sunday when the Chiefs rallied for a 44-23 victory over the San Francisco 49ers after falling behind 10-0 in the first quarter.

The Chiefs have won 12 of 17 games since the start of 2019 with Mahomes at quarterback after falling behind by at least 10 points, including all three games in the 2019 postseason.

Kansas City is just as likely to win by double-digits after facing the early deficit like they did against the Niners as the Chiefs are to lose the game.

It’s a far cry from the rest of the NFL. While the Chiefs have a .706 winning percentage in these scenarios, the rest of the league has a mark of just .154. No other QB who has faced at least three double-digit deficits has won even half, with Drew Brees’ 6-7 mark the second best.

In fact, the only other QB besides Mahomes to win more than 70% of his starts since 2019 is Aaron Rodgers, who has a .733 winning percentage in all starts.

Mahomes reached a few more milestones on Sunday when he won for the 55th time, tying Hall of Famer Ken Stabler for the most in a QB’s first 70 starts in the Super Bowl era. Otto Graham is the only quarterback in NFL history with more with 56.

Mahomes also had his eighth career game with at least 400 yards passing and at least three TDs. Only Brees (12), Peyton Manning (11), Dan Marino (11) and Tom Brady (8) have more. Those QBs have all started at least 242 games, while Mahomes has only 70.

STRUGGLING STARS

Two of the most accomplished quarterbacks in NFL history are off to rough starts with Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers both at 3-4 after back-to-back losses.

This marked the second time that Brady and Rodgers both lost in consecutive weeks with the only other coming in the final two weeks of the 2015 season.

Rodgers has a losing record through seven games for the first time as a starter and Brady’s only previous losing record at this juncture came in 2002 — the only healthy season that he failed to make the playoffs.

Their 19 combined TD passes are their fewest at this point in a season when both started, the 19.4 points per game average for their teams are more than six points lower than the previous low of 26 points per game through seven games in 2013, and their 93.7 passer rating is the lowest at this point since 2013 when it was 90.6.

COMEBACK KIDS

The surprising New York Giants had their fifth second-half comeback of the season so far, rallying for a 23-17 win over Jacksonville to improve to 6-1.

The Giants joined the 2015 Falcons and 2007 Titans as the only teams to win at least five of their first seven games after trailing in the second half.

New York also became the first team since the 2016 Lions to win at least four of their first seven games when trailing in the fourth quarter.

The four wins so far this season for the Giants when trailing in the fourth quarter are more than they had in the previous five seasons combined when they went 3-58 in games they trailed in the fourth quarter.

The Giants’ success has helped the NFC East post a 20-7 (.741) combined record for the best for any division through seven weeks since the merger. The previous best winning percentage was .714 for the 1984 AFC West.

ROOKIE WATCH

Pittsburgh rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett is off to a rough start to his career.

Pickett has thrown seven interceptions and only two touchdown passes in his first four career games. The only other QB since 1990 with at least seven interceptions and two or fewer TD passes in his first four games was Ryan Leaf, who had eight interceptions and one TD pass in his first four games in 1998.

FAMILY AFFAIR

The trade that sent Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers linked the McCaffrey and Shanahan families once again.

When McCaffrey took the field Sunday for coach Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers it marked the fourth instance of a father-son duo coaching a father-son duo in NFL history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Christian’s older brother, Max, already played for Kyle Shanahan in 2018 after their father, Ed, played for Mike Shanahan from 1995-03 in Denver

The other times it happened came with coaches Bum and Wade Phillips. Rob Carpenter played for Bum Phillips and Bobby Carpenter playing for Wade Phillips, while Ted Washington Sr. played for Bum Phillips and Ted Washington Jr. played for Wade Phillips.

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