KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – The Kansas City Chiefs rolled into Arrowhead Stadium to play the red-hot Baltimore Ravens without their best wide receiver, their lead running back and their stalwart left tackle.
They still had Patrick Mahomes, though.
The reigning league MVP threw for 374 yards and three touchdowns in another record-setting performance, and Kansas City’s defense corralled Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson for most of the rain-soaked afternoon, allowing the Chiefs to squeak out a 33-28 victory Sunday.
“Everyone gets reps with the starters, and guys just build that confidence that they can play,” said Mahomes, whose 13 games of at least 300 yards passing broke Kurt Warner’s mark for the most in the first 20 games of a career. “Whenever someone gets an opportunity they make plays.”
Such as wide receivers Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman, who had TD catches while Tyreek Hill recovers from a broken collarbone. Or LeSean McCoy and Darrell Williams, who combined for 116 yards rushing and a score in place of injured running back Damien Williams. Or Cam Erving, who filled in for left tackle Eric Fisher and helped limit the Ravens to a single sack.
“I trust that guys are going to step up and play,” said Chiefs coach Andy Reid, whose 210th win broke a tie with Chuck Knoll for sixth-most in NFL history. “Each one of them collectively had a pretty good day. They took advantage of their opportunity.”
Missed opportunities ultimately doomed the Ravens. They were stuffed once on fourth down, and three times they failed to convert on a 2-point conversion, leaving them chasing points all game.
The last came after Jackson scrambled for a touchdown with 2:01 to go. The conversion would have gotten the Ravens (2-1) within a field goal, but Jackson was shoved out of bounds short of the pylon.
Baltimore tried to get the ball back with a rare dropkick, but the Chiefs (3-0) calmly called for a fair catch. Then they converted on third down moments later to run out the clock.
“I don’t remember the situation or which was what, but every one of those was clear analytical decisions to go for two,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “We had a mindset that we were going to come in and try to score as many points as we could. So, that’s what we tried to do.”
Mark Ingram was the Ravens’ biggest bright spot, running for 103 yards and a trio of touchdowns while catching four passes for 32 yards. Jackson finished with 267 yards passing and 46 rushing, most of that when he was trying to rally the Ravens from a big halftime hole.
The Ravens actually scored first on Ingram’s touchdown plunge, then they took points off the board when a penalty gave them a shorter try at the conversion. Jackson was stuffed at the goal line in what would become a recurring theme for Baltimore all afternoon.
The Chiefs then proceeded to score four times in the second quarter for the second consecutive week, this time getting three touchdowns and Harrison Butker’s 42-yard field goal to take a 23-6 lead.
They scored four TDs in the second quarter last week in Oakland.
McCoy, hobbled by a sore ankle all week, gave Kansas City the lead with a TD run early in the second quarter. Then, after the Ravens’ turnover on downs, Mahomes lofted a pass to the corner of the end zone that Robinson caught with an incredible one-handed stab .
That highlight was joined by another on the Chiefs’ next possession, when the Ravens blew the coverage and Hardman was open downfield. The rookie hauled in the heave from Mahomes, then used his 4.3-second 40-yard-dash speed to sprint 83 yards to the end zone.
“I just did enough to get in the end zone,” Hardman said.
Ingram sandwiched two more touchdown runs around Mahomes’ third touchdown toss in the second half, and the second one got Baltimore within 30-19 with 12:22 to go. But the Ravens again tried for the 2-point conversion and again came up empty, leaving them in an 11-point hole.
That could have loomed large when Justin Tucker added a field goal.
Instead, Williams ripped off a 41-yard run, the Chiefs picked up a couple more first downs, and Butker hit a 36-yard field goal that made it a two-possession game and ultimately out of reach.
“We wanted to be aggressive,” Ingram said. “Coming here to a hostile environment, one of the better teams in the league, everyone says, and we went toe-to-toe with them. We got aggressive and we’ve got make sure we execute so we have our coaches’ back for believing in us. I love the aggressive mindset, coming in here aggressive offensively and defensively. Just got to make those plays.”
Saints 33, Seahawks 27
In Seattle, Teddy Bridgewater threw two touchdown passes in his first start in place of Drew Brees and New Orleans also scored TDs on defense and special teams.
With Brees out for several weeks following surgery to repair a ligament near his right thumb, the Saints (2-1) pulled off a stunner by taking advantage of the Seahawks’ sloppiness, handing Seattle its first home loss in the month of September under Pete Carroll.
The Seahawks (2-1) had been 15-0 at home in September since 2010.
49ers 24, Steelers 20
In Santa Clara, California, Jimmy Garoppolo threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dante Pettis with 1:15 remaining and the 49ers overcame five turnovers for their first 3-0 start in 21 years.
San Francisco gave the ball away four times in the first half and then lost a fumble again in the fourth quarter, but still managed to pull out the victory and spoil Mason Rudolph’s first career start in place of the injured Ben Roethlisberger for Pittsburgh (0-3).
Giants 32, Buccaneers 31
In Tampa, the Daniel Jones era is off to a rousing start for New York.
The rookie quarterback threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for two TDs, including the go-ahead score with 1:16 remaining, as the Giants rallied from an 18-point halftime deficit.
Lions 27, Eagles 24
In Philadelphia, Matthew Stafford threw a touchdown pass to Marvin Jones, Jamal Agnew returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score and the Detroit held on for the win.
The Eagles had a chance after Malcolm Jenkins blocked Matt Prater’s 46-yard field goal try with 1:53 left. Rasul Douglas returned it to the Lions 22, but an illegal block on Jenkins pushed it back to midfield.
On fourth-and-5, Darren Sproles caught a pass for a first down but got called for Philadelphia’s third offensive pass interference. Carson Wentz’s deep pass to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside on fourth down fell incomplete with 41 seconds left.
The Lions (2-0-1) remain undefeated and the Eagles (1-2) have lost two in a row.
Cowboys 31, Dolphins 6
In Arlington, Texas, Dak Prescott threw two touchdown passes to Amari Cooper before running for another score, and the Cowboys pulled out of a first-half funk as huge favorites.
One of Prescott’s TD tosses to Cooper came before halftime, but Miami had a great chance to lead at the break as 22-point underdogs. Kenyan Drake fumbled on first down from the Dallas 7-yard line in the final minute of the second quarter. DeMarcus Lawrence recovered to preserve a 10-6 lead.
Josh Rosen was 18 of 29 for 200 yards without a touchdown or interception in his first start for the Dolphins, who went with him over Ryan Fitzpatrick after getting outscored 102-10. No team since 1961 had a worse point differential through two games.
Rebuilding Miami is 0-3 for the first time since losing its first seven in 2011. The Dolphins have been outscored 133-16, the largest point differential through three games in league history since 1950.
In Other Games
Texans 27, Chargers 20
Panthers 38, Cardinals 20
Packers 27, Broncos 16
Bills 21, Bengals 17
Colts 27, Falcons 24
Patriots 30, Jets 14
Vikings 34, Raiders 14
Rams 20, Browns 13
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5