Upon learning Dallas’ defense is practicing to combat his scrambling ability, the Chiefs’ All-World quarterback confidently countered that “I’m going to continue to do what I do” in his first career meeting with the silver and blue.
“I haven’t scrambled as much this year, but it’s always been a part of our game,” Mahomes told reporters Wednesday, November 17, via Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News.
Indeed, amid Kansas City’s uncharacteristic struggles, Mahomes has utilized his wheels less often. Entering Week 11, he’s notched 37 rushing attempts for 227 yards and one touchdown, which came in the opener. It’s a slight deviation from 2020 when the former Super Bowl MVP posted personal bests with 62 carries and 308 yards.
Nevertheless, Mahomes’ magical right arm remains his biggest asset, and it was on full display in last Sunday’s drubbing of the Las Vegas Raiders. He completed 35-of-50 passes for 406 yards and five touchdowns — both season-highs — as the Chiefs, winners of three straight, now sit atop the AFC West.
The classic Mahomesian performance caught the eye of Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, who could do nothing but gush over his interconference counterpart.
“Just his competitiveness,” Prescott lauded on Wednesday, via the official team website. “He never believes he’s out of a game, thinks he can make every throw. And I think that’s huge at this position just to have that confidence. I think it goes a long way in bleeding to your other teammates and those guys feeding off of that as well. He’s a big-time playmaker. He’s a great player. MVP obviously, Super Bowl MVP. Special talent.”
To an extent, Sunday’s late-afternoon showdown pits an unstoppable force versus an immovable object as Dallas’ defense is fresh off its most impressive outing of the 2021 campaign, forcing Falcons QB Matt Ryan into career-worst numbers: 9-of-21 for 117 scoreless yards, with two interceptions.
Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s bunch currently ranks ninth against the run, surrendering 101.2 yards per game. The unit limited Jalen Hurts — the last scrambling QB it faced — to 35 yards on nine carries in a Week 3 blowout of the Philadelphia Eagles.
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Mahomes Returns Praise to Dak
While he doesn’t quite compare to Mahomes’ star power, Prescott is turning in a better season than the two-time All-Pro passer, having totaled 2,341 air yards and 20 touchdowns to only five interceptions.
Prescott leads all NFL starters in cumulative passer rating (110.8) and holds the second-highest completion percentage (70.3%). But it’s the 28-year-old’s intangibles that jump off the tape being consumed by his opposition.
“First off, he’s a tremendous leader,” Mahomes said earlier this week, via the official Cowboys website. “I think you can see that, even when you’re just watching as a fan of him and of them. He’s a tremendous leader, he’s been a starter in the league for a long time now. He’s athletic. You can see that by the way he played in college. And he can make a lot of big-time throws. They have a great offense over there. They have a great team over there. It’ll be a great challenge for us going up against them this week.”
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CeeDee Goes to Bat for Dak
Mahomes may have the hardware to prove such, but Prescott’s teammates are confident that No. 4 is the sport’s No. 1 QB. Just ask wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, who uttered the quiet part aloud.
Not that he’s biased or anything …
“Of course I’m going to say Dak is the best quarterback in the league. Why not? … He’s putting up great numbers and he’s distributing the ball amongst a lot of us. He’s keeping us all happy. … Most importantly, he’s leading us,” Lamb told reporters on Wednesday, via Jon Machota of The Athletic.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL