Bears QB Debacle: Who can really beat Patrick Mahomes?
Jay Biggerstaff - USA Today Sports

Bears QB Debacle: Who can really beat Patrick Mahomes?

by - Staff Writer -

The Bears have been eliminated from the playoffs for nearly a month now. With the Chiefs’ 17-10 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, we know now that Patrick Mahomes will be playing in his fourth career Super Bowl, his second in a row, and is aiming for ring number 3 in his sixth full season as a starter. Coincidentally, Mahomes and his Chiefs have been to six straight AFC Championships.

Mahomes is a point-blank All-Time great already. His arm talent is unmatched, and he does things with the football only a few players in NFL history can even attempt. It also does not need to be mentioned, as it has been reported at nausea, that the Chicago Bears had every opportunity to select Mahomes but instead opted to draft Mitchell Trubisky.

Now, to be fair. Mahomes was not as highly touted in the 2017 draft as his peers, Deshaun Watson and Trubisky. In addition to that, even if the Bears did take Mahomes, it does not guarantee he has the same success in Chicago as he has had in Kansas City — not only do the Bears not have Andy Reid calling plays or Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce catching passes, but they DO have a history of franchise dysfunction and an inability to develop a young quarterback.

Look no further than Justin Fields. Fields was drafted in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft after an impressive career at Ohio State. However, since being drafted by the Bears, he has had to learn three different offensive systems, have two different head coaches, and face unprecedented pressure due to the Bears’ ever-present offensive line issues.

Fields has had some historic outings, and his immense talent is on display. He has had some record-setting performances with his legs and has proven to be a dynamic threat at the quarterback position. However, the win-loss record hasn’t been good — he makes some poor decisions with the football and has not had any true help from his play callers or his offensive line thus far. The point is that he is hard to evaluate. Even Mahomes looks below average under heavy pressure, and his receivers are dropping passes.

But the Bears have the No. 1 pick in the draft again. Last season, the Bears opted to pass on Bryce Young and CJ Stroud and stock up on draft picks by trading down and acquiring DJ Moore in the process. Moore was excellent in his first season in Chicago, Darnell Wright — the offensive lineman whom the Bears drafted one they traded down — was impressive in his rookie campaign, and the Bears also have the No. 1 pick and No. 9 pick in this year’s draft because of that trade.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to truly make up your mind on Fields because he had some dazzling efforts but also some disappointing games and battled injury — and once again, the play-calling miscues and offensive line struggles make that evaluation nearly impossible to complete. So the Bears have a decision once again to invest in Fields and stockpile more draft picks to assemble a strong unit around him — or draft one of the highly touted QBs like USC’s Caleb Williams (who is assumed to go No. 1) or North Carolina’s Drake Maye, LSU’s Jayden Daniels or Oregon’s Bo Nix.

There’s no way of knowing if you’ll get Patrick Mahomes, Mitch Trubisky, or something in between out of Williams or one of the other QBs. On the other side of that coin, there is no guarantee that Fields will perform admirably and take another step as a franchise QB — same as you can not guarantee that Fields will falter and remain average.

But the question remains: if Williams (or another QB) looks like Mahomes or even CJ Stroud did in his rookie season — can you afford to pass on the top-end talent of the draft two years in a row if the trade-off remains average, or a fringe playoff time.

Over the last half-decade, Mahomes has displayed how important it is to have an elite quarterback. Teams like the Detroit Lions or San Francisco 49ers this year with average to above average QBS can get to the big game, which was on display tonight — but Mahomes has proven that if you have the QB figured out, the rest can take care of itself.

With so many question marks and unknowns that will loom over Ryan Poles’ head until the draft in April, one thing is sure. You can not win championships in this league unless you have a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes or one who can beat Patrick Mahomes.

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