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Patrick Mahomes vs. Justin Herbert: Inside the numbers when Chiefs, Chargers QBs meet head to head

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Justin Herbert

 

A pair of wild-west gunslingers meet for Round 5 of their duel on Thursday night.It seemed that Patrick Mahomes was unrivaled out in the AFC West, and he was — until a young gun showed up in 2020, somewhat proving that the division wasn’t big enough for the two of them.Entering Week 2 of the 2022 NFL season, the Chiefs and Chargers face off for the fifth time in the budding Herbert vs. Mahomes rivalry, and the series to this point is tied at two games apiece. This year, both passers have gotten off to hot starts: Herbert threw for three touchdowns against the Raiders, while Mahomes dazzled with five TDs of his own vs. the Cardinals.Here’s how two of the NFL’s best and baddest stack up against each other with their next matchup coming on Thursday night:

 

Patrick Mahomes vs. Justin Herbert: Inside the numbers when Chiefs, Chargers QBs meet head to head

Patrick Mahomes vs. Justin Herbert record
With Herbert and the Chargers facing Mahomes and the Chiefs for the fifth time on Thursday night, the passers are tied 2-2 when their squads face off.That comes with a small caveat: Mahomes didn’t play in Week 17 in 2020, a game which the Chargers won 38-21. So, in games started by both Herbert and Mahomes, the record is really 2-1, with Herbert getting an opportunity to tie up the series with a win on Thursday.While the two don’t play against one another on the field, here’s how their numbers stacked up in previous matchups:

 

 

Patrick Mahomes vs. Justin Herbert: Inside the numbers when Chiefs, Chargers QBs meet head to head

Patrick Mahomes vs. Justin Herbert stats
Justin Herbert was thrust into action following an unfortunate needle mishap with incumbent starter Tyrod Taylor prior to Week 2 in 2020. Unlike many other first-round QBs, Herbert was initially slated to sit until he was ready, which obviously didn’t come to pass. Since then, Herbert has been Los Angeles’ de facto No. 1 starter and won AFC Rookie of the Year in 2020.Mahomes is in Year 6 of his career after sitting his first season, in 2017. Since then, Mahomes has visited the Super Bowl twice, won a league MVP and has a championship ring to show for it. Both players, though, have gotten off to equally historic starts in their careers.Here’s how their numbers match up heading into Thursday night’s Round 5:

 

Patrick Mahomes vs. Justin Herbert: Inside the numbers when Chiefs, Chargers QBs meet head to head

Justin Herbert vs. Patrick Mahomes: Who’s faster?
While Mahomes isn’t necessarily known as a run-first quarterback, he’s also not exactly a slouch running the ball.While he doesn’t have the blazing speed that Lamar Jackson has, Mahomes posted a 4.8 second 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine in 2017, not exactly proving that he’s immobile.The same can be said about Herbert, though he does hold the pure speed measure over Mahomes: At the 2020 NFL Draft, Herbert ran a 4.68 40-yard dash, a number that’s doubly as impressive when you consider his pure size (6-6, 236 pounds).

 

 

Justin Herbert vs. Patrick Mahomes: Who’s better?
Whether it’s Herbert or Mahomes, AFC West fans should be happy they have passers who will lead their teams for the next decade and beyond.Entering their first meeting of the 2022 season, Mahomes and Herbert posted equally impressive and eerily similar 2021 campaigns, when looking beyond the counting stats.Where Herbert had the edge over Mahomes in 2021 was turnover-worthy play (TWP) rate. Herbert might have finished the season ahead of Mahomes in total interceptions with 15, but he paced the league in lowest TWP rate at 1.6 percent. Mahomes finished No. 8 in the league at 2.6 percent, despite throwing 13 interceptions. That’s largely because Mahomes had 108 more pass attempts than Herbert in 2021, granting more opportunities to turn the ball over. But, throwing at the volume and still turning over the ball 15 times is just fine.All of this is a pretty long way of saying something really, really simple: Both of these guys are good.

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