They did it again.
On a Sunday afternoon reverberating with energy as fans took their seats to watch the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs play at Arrowhead Stadium for the first time this season, quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the offense didn’t let the moment get the best of them.
Instead, Kansas City scored touchdowns on five consecutive drives to open the game.
“I felt like everybody was getting involved,” said Head Coach Andy Reid. “[Tight end Demetrius Harris] had the touchdown early, [wide receiver] Sammy Watkins finally got in there – he had all these yards but everybody else was scoring touchdowns, so he finally got in, which was great. I think [Mahomes] did a pretty good job of spreading it around.”
Mahomes was responsible for three of the Chiefs’ five touchdowns in the first half, completing 17-of-25 passes for 252 yards and a 140.3 quarterback rating. His scores to Harris and Watkins helped amass Kansas City’s most productive first-half output in five years, but it was the 23-year-old quarterback’s initial scoring strike that stood out amongst the rest.
Facing a third down inside San Francisco’s 5-yard line and only up a touchdown, Mahomes retreated to his left before changing course and nearly losing his balance. He then proceeded to make his way to the other side of the field – leaving two 49ers’ defenders in his wake – before firing a dart while on the run to wide receiver Chris Conley in the corner of the end zone.
It was a thing of beauty – the kind of play that takes place in backyards and on playgrounds – as Mahomes’ ability to keep the play alive led to his first touchdown on the Arrowhead grass.
“You can’t teach that,” Reid added. “He’s seeing it down there, guys are getting open and they’re working to get open – which is important. When you’re in the red zone, those are small windows in there. He’s able to see it and throw it.”
Mahomes went on to connect with Harris and Watkins before the end of the half, breaking Peyton Manning’s mark for the most touchdown passes (13) through the first three weeks of a season in NFL history.
And, once again, everybody got involved along the way. Nine different players caught a pass on Sunday, presenting a truly varied attack.
“I’ve seen these guys in practice – they can really get open – and it’s hard for teams to play every single one of them, so I know that if I get through my reads, there’ll be somebody open,” Mahomes explained. “The offensive line is blocking so well that I can sit in the pocket and get through my entire read and find the open guy.”
Tight end Travis Kelce was often the open man on Sunday, as the six-year veteran led all receivers with eight catches for 114 yards. It was Kelce’s second-straight game with triple-digit production through the air.
“I don’t think anybody in this locker room has been on a team that’s this much fun,” Kelce said. “It’s exciting. Everybody’s happy for each other making plays, and it’s just a good time out there.”
That includes guys like Watkins, who recorded 75 yards of total offense on Sunday, and tailback Kareem Hunt, who found the end zone twice on the ground. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill chipped in two catches for 51 yards and fullback Anthony Sherman made the most of his one reception, breaking tackles and pushing the pile for a 16-yard gain early in the game.
It all added up to yet another strong offensive performance as the Chiefs became the first team to score at least 38 points in three consecutive games to begin a season since the 2007 New England Patriots, but – once again – this group of playmakers isn’t getting wrapped up in the hype.
“I know that we can keep getting better,” Mahomes said. “We’re still leaving a lot out there, and I know if I play within my game, we’ll have a lot of success with how the offensive line is playing, how the running backs are running the ball and how the receivers are [catching it].”
That process continued on Sunday in front of the Arrowhead faithful for the first time this season, making for an experience that Mahomes won’t soon forget.
“My heart was pounding pretty fast. It really was an awesome experience. These fans – and the passion that they have – is unmatched anywhere else in this league,” Mahomes explained. “I’ve been dreaming about running out of the tunnel all of last year, so I’m glad that I finally got to do that.”
It was well worth the wait.