Ma­homes, Chiefs face tall task

CHIEFS AT PA­TRI­OTS, SUN­DAY, 8:20 P.M. (NBC)

The Norwalk Hour - - SPORTS -

FOXBOR­OUGH, Mass. — Watch­ing Pa­trick Ma­homes this sea­son has made Tom Brady feel like an old man.

At least old enough to re­mem­ber a much dif­fer­ent era for young NFL quar­ter­backs.

As a rookie in 2000, Brady re­mem­bers be­ing nowhere near see­ing the field as a starter.

“I was sit­ting in the stands, eat­ing na­chos be­fore games. I wasn’t play­ing,” he joked this week.

Now he looks around at a league in which Ma­homes is one of sev­eral young quar­ter­backs in their first or sec­ond year start­ing for teams. Brady also started his sec­ond sea­son, but it was hardly the plan as he re­placed an in­jured first stringer, Drew Bled­soe.

“Foot­ball was dif­fer­ent then,” Brady said. “I think now in some ways pro foot­ball is more glo­ri­fied col­lege foot­ball… the tran­si­tion is a more sim­i­lar game than it used to be when I first started.”

It’s an at­mos­phere that has al­lowed Ma­homes, who will be start­ing for Kan­sas City when the Chiefs (5-0) visit New Eng­land (3-2) on Sun­day night, to emerge as the most elec­tri­fy­ing quar­ter­back in the NFL this sea­son.

Ma­homes leads the NFL with 14 touch­down passes through Week 5 and has won each of his first six NFL starts, dat­ing back to his lone start last sea­son. With a win against the Pa­tri­ots, Ma­homes would be­come the sixth quar­ter­back since 1970 to win his first seven ca­reer starts.

It’s put the sec­ond-year Texas Tech prod­uct un­der the mi­cro­scope in his first year Kan­sas City’s full-time starter, fol­low­ing the off­sea­son trade of Alex Smith to Wash­ing­ton.

While Ma­homes said run­ning the jet sweeps and run-pass op­tion plays he did in col­lege has helped with his tran­si­tion, he also spent a fair amount of time study­ing Brady’s ap­proach in New Eng­land.

“My coach in col­lege was Kliff Kings­bury, and he ac­tu­ally was a backup for Brady at one point, and so he showed me things that he liked with Tom and his pocket move­ments and stuff he did within the pocket that I’ve tried to put in my game a lit­tle bit,” he said.

While Chiefs coach Andy Reid won’t dis­par­age Smith, he ac­knowl­edges Ma­homes brings a lot of in­tan­gi­ble qual­i­ties to their of­fense. Reid also is cog­nizant that the sea­son is still young.

The 23-year-old is not a rookie, but he ba­si­cally is, Reid said.

“He’s go­ing through an NFL sea­son — his first one — and there are all kind of chal­lenges that come with that, and no big­ger one than this week,” Reid said.

NOT AN UN­DER­DOG

De­spite Kan­sas City’s un­blem­ished record, the Pa­tri­ots en­ter Sun­day’s game as a three-point fa­vorite. It’s for good rea­son. Since 2001, 41 times a team has vis­ited Foxbor­ough with a bet­ter record than the Pa­tri­ots. In those games New Eng­land is 30-11.

Char­lie Riedel / As­so­ci­ated Press

Chiefs quar­ter­back Pa­trick Ma­homes throws a pass against the Jaguars ear­lier this sea­son.

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