A quarterback led the Kansas City Chiefs to their first Super Bowl victory in 50 years.
The other led the Cleveland Browns to their first playoff victory of their lives.
But no matter what happens Sunday when Patrick Mahomes of Kansas City and Baker Mayfield of Cleveland meet in the NFL playoffs for the first time, the numbers will not overshadow their meeting in 2016.
It was then, on a lovely night in Lubbock, Texas, that Oklahoma’s Mayfield and Texas Tech’s Mahomes met in one of the wildest games in college football history.
Oklahoma won in regulation time, 66-59, and the game came down to who got the last ball. Each team racked up an identical 854 yards of offense, and Mayfield’s 545 passing yards looked modest compared to Mahomes’ staggering 734, an FBS record. The 1,708 yards of total offense was also an FBS record.
« We had to score every series in the second half to win that game, » recalled Mayfield, who began his college career as an assistant at Texas Tech before transferring to Oklahoma. “It was an incredible game and an incredible atmosphere. Just coming and going is something I won’t forget.
Some defensive players, yeah, each team technically lined up a defense, they stopped taking off their helmets on the sideline because there just wasn’t enough time.
« He probably had about a minute, maybe a minute and a half before he heard all the fans erupt, » recalled former Oklahoma outside linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, who now plays for the Rams. “Then you are going to leave immediately. It was crazy. I’ve never been part of something like this.
The game got off to a tricky start – Texas Tech’s Breiden Fehoko tackled Joe Mixon for a one-yard loss – but pretty much everything after that was at full throttle. Mixon, who now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals, had 377 yards of total offense and scored five touchdowns.
“I’m thinking, we are witnessing history, one of the great quarterback matchups of all time. It is an epic and we will remember this game forever.
Matching Radio Announcer Toby Rowland
« After that first play, it was like, wow, » said Fehoko, now a defensive lineman for the Chargers. « Who knows? »
Well, there were some clues. Mayfield was at the helm of a Sooners offense averaging 40 points per game. The Red Raiders, meanwhile, were allowing an average of 40 points, fifth in the country.
Mahomes completed 52 of 88 passes with five touchdowns and one interception. To put 88 passes in perspective, that’s 54 more than Mayfield threw in Sunday’s 48-37 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
« I didn’t know he had pitched that many times, » Mahomes said in 2018, before his first NFL game against Mayfield. « I remember one of my friends who was my roommate in my freshman year of college, he came up to me on the last trip and said, ‘You have 77 pass attempts right now.’ I was like, ‘Man, that’s a lot of passes.’
Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 52 of 88 passes with five touchdowns and one interception in a losing effort against Oklahoma on October 22, 2016.
(John Weast / .)
Texas Tech defensive end Kolin Hill recalled: “It was definitely like a marathon. Both defenses were gassed.
People expected a shooting, but not the theater of the absurd.
« We literally sucked pills during the game, not because we had a problem when the game started, but we knew we were going to have problems by the time the game was over, » said Brian Jensen, play-by-play radio host. for Texas Tech games.
His Oklahoma counterpart Toby Rowland said the Sooners and their fans are sickened by the memory of that game, even though his team won.
“As I was sitting there calling him,” Rowland said, “I’m thinking, we’re witnessing history, one of the great quarterback matchups of all time. It is an epic and we will remember this game forever.
“When I got in the car after the game, turned on the radio and looked at social media, I realized that the fan base hated it. The fan base was upset about it. And to this day they are embarrassed by that game. Even though Oklahoma won it, the way they played their defense that night, you’re not supposed to talk about that game.
Other current NFL players on Oklahoma’s 2106 roster include running back Samaje Perrine (Cincinnati), wide receiver Dede Westbrook (Jacksonville), tight end Mark Andrews (Baltimore), tackle Bobby Evans (Rams), guard Ben Powers (Baltimore), linebacker Jordan. Evans (Cincinnati), safety Steven Parker (Dallas) and kicker Austin Siebert (Cincinnati). Texas Tech’s roster included wide receivers Cameron Batson (Tennessee), Keke Coutee (Houston) and Derrick Willies (Cleveland).
Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon avoids Texas Tech’s Justis Nelson during a game on October 22, 2016.
(John Weast / Associated Press)
Thierry Nguema, a former Texas Tech defensive back who lives in Corona, said the four years have not erased his memory of that game.
« I can’t tell you how I felt going down the tunnel, and especially playing against Baker Mayfield, » Nguema said. “Man, just amazing. . . . Thinking of these guys playing with each other again. I get goose bumps because I’m so excited.
Maybe that’s what people remember most about that game: the electric atmosphere. One of the peculiar traditions at Texas Tech is that fans throw tortillas like Frisbees onto the field.
Randi Mahomes, the quarterback’s mother, told Athletic’s Bruce Feldman that the family was sitting behind the Oklahoma bench and that their 16-year-old son, Jackson, threw an omelette that hit Mayfield on the bench.
« His brother wasn’t saying it badly, » he told Feldman, who was the reporter for Fox during the game. “I was doing it to be fun. I have always said that he is the clown of my class. Baker picked it up and took a bite. Then Patrick’s brother was kicked out of the game.
In an unfamiliar area of a shooting, when all sorts of records fell, that might have been the strangest piece of information of all.
When it came to throwing, Patrick was the second most accurate Mahomes of the night.