Tom Brady and Peyton Manning defined one of the greatest quarterback rivalries in history throughout Manning’s career in the NFL. Since the former Colts and Broncos QB retired, everyone has been looking for the next big pairing. Tyler Boyd thinks it includes his team’s quarterback.
The Bengals wide receiver said Monday that he already views the rivalry between Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes as one of the greatest of all time, after the two showdowns between the quarterbacks in 2021.
“It’s going back to that quarterback fight. I look at it like Manning and Brady,” Boyd said, according to the team. “You can’t stop them. It comes down to whoever excels and takes advantage of their opportunities in drives and scores points. These are the types of games that we have to take care of the football and not turn it over.”
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Burrow and Mahomes have already been involved in some high-profile matchups, most recently meeting in the AFC Championship last season that sent the Bengals to the Super Bowl.
How does their current rivalry compare to Brady-Manning? Here’s a look.
How does Burrow-Mahomes compare to Brady-Manning?
Let’s get this out of the way first: It’s a bit too early to call this Brady-Manning just yet. When the Chiefs face the Bengals at Paycor Stadium on Sunday, it will mark only the third time Burrow and Mahomes have played one another. All three matchups have come within the 2022 calendar year.
Still, the previous two matchups have each delivered on high-stakes, thrilling showdowns. The first clash came in Week 17 of the 2021 campaign, with Cincinnati hosting Kansas City. The Bengals needed to win the game to clinch the division, while the Chiefs had their eyes set on being the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Kansas City took a 28-17 lead into halftime, but Burrow and the Cincinnati defense powered the Bengals to a 17-3 second half, ending with a walk-off Evan McPherson 20-yard field goal.
The second contest saw considerably higher stakes. Mahomes and the Chiefs had just eliminated the Bills in the AFC divisional round and were looking for a third straight Super Bowl appearance. The Bengals had stunned the top-seeded Titans to continue their underdog campaign as they looked for the third Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.
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Once again, the Chiefs got out to a big advantage, outscoring Cincinnati 21-10 in the first half, and once again Burrow and the defense came back in the second half to tie the game and send it to overtime. The Chiefs won the coin toss and opted to start on offense, but Mahomes was picked off by Vonn Bell and Burrow marched Cincinnati down the field as McPherson drilled his second walk-off field goal against Kansas City.
In the first game, Mahomes completed 26-of-35 passes for 259 yards with two touchdowns, while Burrow completed 30-of-39 passes for 446 yards with four touchdowns. The next time, Mahomes went 26-for-39 with 275 yards, three touchdowns and a pick, while Burrow went 23-for-38 with 250 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Two walk-off field goals in two games with major playoff implications and a Super Bowl appearance on the line is more than enough to warrant plenty of early hype. Burrow is only in his third year in the NFL, and those are the only two times the two QBs have met in the league. How does that compare to the early games in Brady vs. Manning?
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Everyone remembers Brady-Manning as one of the all-time great rivalries, but it took a bit for the hype to fully build. The first two matchups in the regular season were both blowouts, and it wasn’t until their fifth meeting, on Nov. 7, 2005, that Manning picked up a victory.
The two quarterbacks also didn’t play in the playoffs against one another until the 2004 AFC Championship, during Brady’s third year as a starter in the NFL, when Brady and the Patriots beat Manning and the Colts 24-14. By the time Manning retired after the 2015 season, Brady led the regular-season rivalry 9-3 and Manning led the postseason rivalry 3-2.
Burrow-Mahomes is still too early to anoint it the next Brady-Manning, in part because any rivalry through the first three games is too early to call the next big thing. Even Brady-Manning wasn’t much of a rivalry through the first three contests.
But if Sunday’s game between the Bengals and Chiefs is another thrilling showdown, that could go a long way toward solidifying the two QBs as one of the better rivalries in today’s NFL.