Buffalo Bills practice squad QB started ahead of Patrick Mahomes

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Barry Werner
·4 min read
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Talk about trading places.

The year was 2014 and Patrick Mahomes was on campus in Lubbock, Tx, with Texas Tech.

However, the quarterback who was to become an NFL and Super Bowl MVP was not deemed worthy of the starting position by coach Kliff Kingsbury.

The Red Raiders went 4-8 that season and it took a while for Kingsbury to replace Davis Webb as his starter with Mahomes. The battled for the position spilled into 2015, too.

When Mahomes took over, he did throw for 1,547 of his 11,252 yards in three college seasons.

Fast forward to 2021 and Mahomes and Davis Webb are on teams that will vie for the AFC Championship on Sunday. Kind of.

While the sports world — okay, the whole wagering world — awaits news on whether Mahomes will clear concussion protocol and face the Bills, Webb is in a different space and place.

Webb is on the Bills’ practice squad. He has made his tour of “New York” teams, drafted in the third round by the Giants in 2017, with the Jets in 2018 and with the Bills’ practice squad since last season.

Mahomes has thrown for 14,152 yards and 114 yards as a pro. Webb? He is still looking for his first NFL stat.

ESPN compared the two before the 2015 season:

With the help of ESPN Stats and Information, here’s a closer look at the 2014 season for Webb and Mahomes:

    • Against the blitz, Webb was 37-of-61 (60.6 percent) for 296 yards with three touchdowns, three interceptions. Mahomes was 13-of-35 (37.1 percent) for 191 yards, three touchdowns, one interception. Takeaway: It should be no surprise Webb was better on third down considering he had more experience heading into 2014. But Mahomes needs to improve against the blitz or teams will attack that weakness even though he is the more mobile of the two.

    • Webb was 14-of-21 (66.7 percent) for 137 yards and one touchdown when blitzed on third down plays. Mahomes was 2-of-9 (22.2 percent) for 9 yards when blitzed on third down plays. Takeaway: Much like the rest of the plays, Webb handled the blitz in critical situations better than Mahomes.

    • Webb was more accurate on passes between 6-14 yards (71-of-115, 61.7 percent) than Mahomes (24-of-46, 52.2 percent) but also threw more interceptions. Webb threw 10 touchdowns and six interceptions on throws of that distance while Mahomes had two touchdowns and two interceptions. Takeaway: This is an important piece of the puzzle as this intermediate pass difference is a key part of the Red Raider offense with the duo combining for 161 passes of this distance. Webb needs to shave down the interceptions while Mahomes needs to increase his accuracy.

    • Both quarterbacks’ accuracy dropped significantly on deep throws (passes of 15 yards or more). But Mahomes threw as many touchdowns as Webb (7) but five fewer interceptions (6 for Webb, 1 for Mahomes). Webb was 22-of-68 for 676 yards on throws of 15 yards or more. Mahomes was 18-of-48 for 590 yards on those throws. Takeaway: Mahomes’ numbers as a deep passer are much better than Webb and he takes better care of the ball on those throws as well. His combination of running ability combines with his ability to make big plays in the passing game to make him a serious run-pass threat.

    • Webb and Mahomes had similar numbers against a regular pass rush (four defenders). Webb was 121-of-201 for 1,455 yards, 7.2 yards per attempt, 13 touchdowns, six interceptions. Mahomes finished 64-for-108 for 906 yards, 8.4 yards per attempt, nine touchdowns and one interception. Takeaway: Neither guy really separates himself against a normal pass rush although Webb’s interception struggles continue to be a issue in those scenarios.