Mahomes the old man among 4 NFL conference title game QBs

Jan 24, 2023, 1:00 PM | Updated: Jan 25, 2023, 6:35 am
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) passes against the Buffalo Bills during the third qua...

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) passes against the Buffalo Bills during the third quarter of an NFL division round football game, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

(AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Patrick Mahomes will be the old man among the starting quarterbacks in the conference title games.

The 27-year-old All-Pro for Kansas City is the oldest member of one of the youngest groups of starting quarterbacks to make it to this round.

The other three scheduled starting QBs on Sunday are 26-year-old Joe Burrow for Cincinnati, 24-year-old Jalen Hurts for Philadelphia and 23-year-old rookie Brock Purdy for San Francisco.

The only other time all four starting QBs in the conference title game hadn’t yet turned 28 came in 1996 when Brett Favre (27), Mark Brunell (26), Drew Bledsoe (24) and Kerry Collins (24) got there.

Getting to this stage isn’t new for Mahomes and Burrow. Mahomes has reached the AFC title game in all five seasons as a starter and can join Tom Brady as the only starting QBs to reach the Super Bowl three times in their first six seasons with a win on Sunday.

Burrow won his fifth playoff start last week against Buffalo, joining Russell Wilson (six) and Ben Roethlisberger (five) as the only QBs to win at least five starts in their first three seasons in the NFL.

While Burrow was the No. 1 draft pick in 2020 and Mahomes went 10th in 2017, Hurts and Purdy had more improbable journeys to this stage.

Hurts was picked in the second round in 2020 and Purdy went with the last pick in the 2022 draft. The winner on Sunday will join Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Nick Foles and Jimmy Garoppolo as the only ones of the 192 QBs taken after the first round in the draft since 2002 to get to the Super Bowl.

Purdy has already had a noteworthy run, joining Joe Flacco (2008) and Mark Sanchez (2009) as the only rookies to win two playoff starts. The only other rookies to get to the conference title game were Shaun King (1999) and Roethlisberger (2004), who did it with one win after a bye.

Purdy is looking to become the first rookie to make it to the Super Bowl, with those four others all losing. They had a combined 51.8 passer rating in the title games with nine interceptions, four TD passes and just 196.8 yards passing per game.

REMATCH

The Bengals and Chiefs will meet in the AFC title game for the second straight season, joining rare company for title game rematches.

Since the merger in 1970, the only other teams to meet in the conference title game in back-to-back seasons are the Cowboys and 49ers (1970-71, 1992-94), the Steelers and Raiders (1974-76), the Oilers and Steelers (1978-79), the Browns and Broncos (1986-87), and the Ravens and Patriots (2011-12).

In five of those six previous rematches, the team won the first meeting also won the second, with only Baltimore and New England splitting. The 1976 Raiders and 1994 49ers did win the trilogy game after losing the first two.

STREAKING

The 49ers and Bengals are headed into championship weekend on impressive streaks.

San Francisco has won 12 straight games and Cincinnati has won 10 in a row, joining 10 other teams that reached this round on a winning streak of at least 10 games.

The last team to do it was the 2007 Patriots, who won 17 straight before beating San Diego to make the Super Bowl. Their bid for perfection ended with a loss to the Giants.

Of the 10 previous teams to take winning streaks of at least 10 games into the championship game only two failed to make the Super Bowl: the 1976 and 2004 Steelers.

Five of the 10 won it all, with the 2003 Patriots, 1986 Giants, 1984 49ers, 1976 Raiders and 1972 Dolphins streaking to championships.

Washington in 1983 and Atlanta in 1998 joined the 2007 Patriots as Super Bowl losers.

BIG RED

Kansas City coach Andy Reid reached some more milestones with his latest playoff win, which gave him 10 with the Chiefs and 10 with Philadelphia.

Reid’s 20 total wins in the postseason are tied with Hall of Famer Tom Landry for the second most in NFL history, trailing only Bill Belichick with 31.

Reid has coached a team to the conference title game 10 times in the past 22 seasons, going from 2001-04 and in 2008 with Philadelphia and the last five seasons with Kansas City.

The only coaches with more conference title appearances in the Super Bowl era are Belichick (13) and Landry (12).

Reid and the Chiefs also joined Belichick’s Patriots (2011-18) and John Madden’s Raiders (1973-77) as the only teams to get there five straight seasons.

JUST FOR KICKS

San Francisco kicker Robbie Gould extended his postseason run of perfection.

Gould made all four field goal tries against Dallas on Sunday, as well as his one extra-point attempt. That made Gould perfect on all 67 kicks he has tried in 15 postseason games for the 49ers, Giants and Chicago. He has made all 29 field goals and all 38 extra points.

The only other kicker in NFL history who is perfect in the postseason with at least 10 field goals is Brandon McManus, who is 10 for 10 on field goals and 3 for 3 on extra points.

___

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ancer keeps his distance over Young in Saudi Arabia

KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Abraham Ancer had a 6-under 64 to bump his lead to two shots over Cameron Young on Saturday going into the final round of the Saudi International. Ancer and Young, the PGA Tour rookie of the year who had a 65, have separated themselves from the field […]
1 day ago
Philadelphia Eagles' Jalen Hurts runs a drill during practice at the NFL football team's training f...
Associated Press

Super Bowl-bound Eagles are built around QB Jalen Hurts

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles’ decision to draft Jalen Hurts in 2020 came with as much hand-wringing as intrigue regarding how to use the talented Heisman Trophy finalist. The Eagles already had quarterback Carson Wentz locked into a $128 million contract. They certainly had more pressing needs at the time on all sides of […]
1 day ago
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives as Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) defends during the f...
Associated Press

Young scores 27 to lead Hawks past Jazz, 115-108

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Trae Young had 27 points and six assists to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 115-108 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night. De’Andre Hunter scored 26 points for the Hawks. Onyeka Okongwu had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Dejounte Murray added 13 points and eight assists. Atlanta […]
1 day ago
Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) shoots a three point basket as Houston Rockets forward Jae...
Associated Press

VanVleet has 32 as Raptors get 117-111 win over Rockets

HOUSTON (AP) — Fred VanVleet scored 32 points, Gary Trent Jr. added 29 and the Toronto Raptors snapped a two-game skid with a 117-111 win over the Houston Rockets on Friday night. The Raptors took a commanding lead in the third quarter and were up by double-digits for most of the fourth. But five straight […]
1 day ago
Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons (1) shoots against Washington Wizards guard Monte Morr...
Associated Press

Blazers rally from 20 down to end Wizards’ win streak

WASHINGTON (AP) — Anfernee Simons scored 20 of his 33 points in the third quarter and the Portland Trail Blazers erased a 20-point deficit, snapping Washington’s six-game winning streak Friday night with a 124-116 victory over the Wizards. Simons made six of Portland’s nine 3-pointers in the third, and the Trail Blazers finally caught and […]
1 day ago
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) is fouled as he drives to the basket against San Antonio...
Associated Press

Embiid’s double-double keys 76ers as Spurs drop 8th straight

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Joel Embiid had 33 points and 10 rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers beat San Antonio 137-125 on Friday night, sending the scuffling Spurs to their eighth straight loss. Tyrese Maxey had 25 points and James Harden added 16 for Philadelphia, which has the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. “Tonight was […]
1 day ago
Mahomes the old man among 4 NFL conference title game QBs