Photo: David Eulitt/Getty Images

Patrick Mahomes plays the QB position unlike anyone else. Between the sidearm slings, the no-look passes and the weaving scrambles, he's made so many ridiculous throws that there is an entire glossary of them.

The intrigue: Mahomes is the poster child for the multi-sport athlete, and his rapid rise supports several studies that have shown athletes who play multiple sports in their youth require less time to become elite in the game they ultimately choose.

What they're saying: "From just the way he looks at the field, it's similar to what a basketball player would see. … Sometimes it looks like he's going to backhand a ball and he's throwing across the diamond," said his high school football coach, Adam Cook.

Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Jimmy Garoppolo has not been asked to do much this postseason (17-27, 208 yds, TD, INT), but don't be fooled into thinking he's merely a "game manager."

By the numbers: When called upon to win games through the air, Garoppolo came through time and time again this year, tying for the league lead in fourth-quarter comebacks and notching an NFL-best QBR of 84.0 in the fourth quarter of games within one score.

What to watch: Garoppolo's receivers rave about the catchability of his passes, a QB trait that often goes underappreciated. "Man, it's great," WR Deebo Samuel told The Athletic (subscription). "You really get the ball the same way every time."

Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Tyrann Mathieu has done it all for the Chiefs this season and is one of the few truly position-less defenders in the NFL (look at this activity map! He's everywhere!).

What to watch: The 49ers motion opponents to death on offense, making communication within the defense paramount, and "The Honey Badger" is Kansas City's undeniable leader and top communicator.

Nick Bosa, who grew up in nearby Fort Lauderdale and will likely be named the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year tomorrow, is already the face of the 49ers' defense.

  • By the numbers: Bosa was credited with 8o quarterback pressures (sacks, hits and hurries) in 2019, the sixth-most among all edge rushers and the most ever recorded by a rookie in the history of the stat.
  • Fun fact: Bosa's great-grandfather was Tony Accardo, aka Joe Batters, a notorious Chicago mobster who worked closely with Al Capone.

More key players:

  • Tight end battle: Travis Kelce is the sleek "Mercedes" in Kansas City's wide-open offense, while George Kittle is the off-road "truck" in San Francisco's more run-heavy scheme.
  • Hill vs. Sherman: Richard Sherman will have his hands full trying to contain Tyreek Hill. How the 49ers use him (zone vs. man) will be indicative of their overall game plan.
  • The fullback wrinkle: Kyle Juszczyk will force the Chiefs to use certain defensive personnel that they might not want to put out there.

Go deeper:

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Updated 15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: The swing states where the pandemic is raging — Pence no longer expected to attend Barrett confirmation vote after COVID exposure.
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day case records last week
  3. Business: Where stimulus is needed most.
  4. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events
  6. World: Restrictions grow across Europe.
  7. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine.

Republicans and Dems react to Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation

President Trump stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett after she took the constitutional oath to serve as a Supreme Court justice during a White House ceremony Monday night .Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

President Trump said Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court and her subsequent taking of the constitutional oath Monday was a "momentous day," as she she vowed to serve "without any fear or favour."

  • But as Republicans applauded the third conservative justice in four years, many Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) warned of consequences to the rush to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ahead of the Nov. 3 election, with progressives leading calls to expand the court.
Ina Fried, author of Login
58 mins ago - Science

CRISPR pioneer: "Science is on the ballot" in 2020

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

In her three decades in science, Jennifer Doudna said she has seen a gradual erosion of trust in the profession, but the recent Nobel Prize winner told "Axios on HBO" that the institution itself has been under assault from the current administration.

  • "I think science is on the ballot," Doudna said in the interview.

Why it matters: That has manifested itself in everything from how the federal government approaches climate change to the pandemic.