By Nick Shook
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We’ve done it. Pat yourselves on the backs. We’ve reached the end of another regular season.
Week 17 brought a stark contrast in games. Some — Dallas 6, Philadelphia 0, for example — meant little, while others came down to the wire and determined postseason fates of multiple teams. Road squads closed the regular season slate by going 6-10 in Week 17.
Let’s get right to it. These are your greatest on the road from Week 17.
Greatest on the Road
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Mahomes drew all of the attention in the offseason, pre-draft process and preseason, then went into the darkness of the QB2 role for the regular season. On Sunday, he again saw the light — and Kansas City got a peek at the future.
Mahomes shook off an early interception to complete 22 of 35 passes for 284 yards and led a final drive that put Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker in position for the game winner, which he drilled to give the Chiefs a win and Mahomes a 1-0 record as a starter. The record is nice, but what was nicer was Mahomes’ coveted arm. The quarterback completed passes off his back foot and while fading away with stunning force, displaying the arm strength that made him one of the draft’s fastest-rising prospects.
Though he did make the rookie mistakes of trying to force passes into coverage at times, Mahomes was just about as effective with his legs as well. He largely looked as good as Kansas City hoped he’d be when the Chiefs traded up to take him in the 2017 draft. If he keeps it up whenever he ends up on the field next, Mahomes will be a mainstay in Kansas City.
Also considered …
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
Sure, Garoppolo wasn’t playing against all of the Rams‘ starting defenders. And yes, Los Angeles didn’t have all that much to play for. But Garoppolo continued to look very encouraging for San Francisco’s future.
Jimmy G completed 20 of 33 passes for 292 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in San Francisco’s complete win over Los Angeles’ backups. Garoppolo really gets the nod here because of the body of work he’s assembled since starting for the Niners late in the season, which was capped by this contest. San Francisco capped an excellent finish to the regular season with a lot of credit due to Garoppolo.
Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals
Boyd entered the NFL last season with a decent amount of expectations, but hasn’t found equal success in his first two seasons. The wideout appeared in just 10 games in his second professional season and caught a mere 22 passes for 225 yards and two scores. But one of those scores sent Cincinnati into the offseason a winner, Marvin Lewis potentially into whatever awaits him with a victory, and the Baltimore Ravens out of the playoffs.
An up and mostly down season from the Bengals didn’t inspire much fear heading into Week 17, but the Bengals put on a surprise performance, only to appear to give it away late on Sunday. Then Andy Daltonfound Boyd over the middle on a 49-yard touchdown completion, and the season was suddenly over for the Ravens.
Bills fans rejoiced as Boyd crossed the goal line and have since donated thousands of dollars to Dalton’s foundation. Perhaps Boyd should start one of his own to spread the charity.