In 2020, the football world can't help but play catch-up with Patrick Mahomes, the 24-year-old face of the league and reigning Super Bowl MVP. That's doubly so for AFC West pass rushers.
One rival defensive end, in particular, is setting his sights on taking down the Kansas City QB, and hopefully in doing so, the reigning champs, as well.
Raiders pass rusher Maxx Crosby, entering his second season, said on The Lefkoe Show this week that, following a stellar rookie campaign in which he recorded 10 sacks, he can only think of the QB he didn't sack: Mahomes.
"I was close a few times," Crosby said, per The Kansas City Star. "It pissed me off pretty much. Pretty much every second after that game was over, both times, I was just mad and blah blah blah, whatever.
"He's a different type of player too. He's one of those guys. He just backpedals, he'll throw the ball from weird angles, it's not like sacking a regular quarterback. Yeah, I'm definitely looking forward to sacking him. It needs to happen. It's definitely going to happen."
Count Crosby among a slew of frustrated defenders to miss out on taking down the magical Mahomes. Among QBs with at least six starts in 2019, Mahomes ranked second in sacks taken (17) and sack percentage (3.4) behind Saints signal-caller Drew Brees. That, coupled with Mahomes' crazy-low 1.0-percent interception rate, makes the Chiefs star an equally elusive and careful quarterback and therefore one of the most dangerous. Not that that conclusion needed further examination.
In response to Mahomes' rise and Kansas City's supremacy, the AFC West teams have undergone extreme makeovers this offseason, mostly on offense. The Broncos added two receivers, Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler, in the first two rounds to pair with Drew Lock; Los Angeles selected its QB of the future in Justin Herbert; and the Raiders picked up speed and versatility as well, drafting Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards and Lynn Bowden.
With Las Vegas' additions, Crosby feels the Raiders are closer to competing with K.C. than last year, when Jon Gruden's club lost twice to the Chiefs by a combined score of 68-19.
"Last year it was kind of back and forth," Crosby said. "We were 6-4, we were (nearly) tied with the Chiefs and we were like, 'All right, we're going to make a serious run at this.' We obviously didn't finish the way we wanted to.
"Now, everyone's in the mix. Obviously every team is going to look a lot different. It's gonna be awesome. It's super exciting. It's going to be great competition. I'm looking forward to it."
Crosby will get his chance to sack Mahomes on at least two occasions next season and twice every year as long as he's in Silver and Black.
While he took down the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers and Sam Darnold in 2019, the Raiders DE wants to make it known that his sophomore effort will be dedicated to face-planting the current face of the NFL.
His message to Mahomes? "You can do whatever you want," Crosby said. "Just know I'm coming, no doubt."