Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson are many things -- quarterbacks, playmakers, artists and friends. But right now, one thing they are most certainly not is rivals.
Mahomes is too good to have a rival. He proved Monday night that he is playing a different game than everybody else, with the same wonderment in his eye he had as a kid shagging flies at the World Series that his father's Mets played against the Yankees two decades ago.
A fake jump pass. Precise throws against the grain. A perfectly placed long ball into the back of the end zone. A touchdown strike while taking a shot to the ribs. A six-point softball pitch to a fullback. A six-point lob to a left tackle. It all added up to pro football's Big Two being reduced to pro football's Big One.
The quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs threw for four touchdowns and 385 yards and ran for a score, while the quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens threw for one touchdown and 97 yards and ran for no scores. The Ravens lost 34-20 in a fashion that felt a bit similar to their flameout loss to the Tennessee Titans in January, convincing nobody that they represent a good bet to ultimately unseat the Chiefs as AFC champs.
The night was rightfully advertised as a historic matchup of young megastars who have done their teams and their league proud through performance and generosity of spirit. Mahomes had a Super Bowl ring and a league MVP award at age 24. Jackson became the youngest quarterback to win a league MVP award at 23. The distance between the two of them, today, is wider than that sounds. Mahomes is 3-0 against Jackson and, of course, holds a 1-0 lead in Super Bowl titles.