October 01, 2018
The Patrick Mahomes train lost just a bit of steam Monday night, but not enough to derail the Kansas City Chiefs' perfect season as they outlasted the Denver Broncos, 27-23, to remain the AFC's only unbeaten team.
Patrick Mahomes leads game-winning drive as Kansas City Chiefs survive vs. Denver Broncos
No player in the league was hotter than Mahomes in the first three weeks, when he set a record with 13 TD passes over that span. He had more modest numbers against K.C.'s AFC West rival (304 passing yards, one TD apiece throwing and running) — Denver was the first team Mahomes faced twice in his career — but perhaps did something more important to his development by leading his first fourth-quarter comeback, which culminated with a 4-yard touchdown run by Kareem Hunt with 99 seconds to go.
"It was a great test," Mahomes said on SportsCenter after the game. "This Denver defense is the real deal."
Mahomes extended the eight-play, 60-yard game-winning march by completing a 6-yard throw left-handed to Tyreek Hill on third-and-5 from his own 45 with 3:07 to go. Yes, Mahomes transferred the ball to his off hand while rolling left to outrun pressure and successfully heaved it in Hill's direction.
"I did it a couple times in college," Mahomes said of the southpaw toss. "I just put it out there, and he made a great play."
The legend continues to grow.
Here are three things we learned from Monday’s game:
Broncos backs: Denver nearly pulled off the upset by continuing to ride its stellar rookie running back combo of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. The duo teamed for 136 rushing yards and both scored a touchdown in staking the Broncos to a 23-13 fourth-quarter lead.
Cooler barbecue: The Chiefs and their fans will only care about their 4-0 start. But this was the first time Kansas City failed to score at least 38 points this season. Playing in front of a raucous Denver crowd, the Chiefs committed 10 penalties, including two false starts by left tackle Eric Fisher. Wideout Sammy Watkins was forced from the action early by a hamstring injury. Hunt did have his best game of the season with 175 total yards.
Keenum's struggles: Denver quarterback Case Keenum continued an up-and-down transition to his new club. He completed 21 of 33 passes for 245 yards and threw his sixth interception of the season (against three TDs). Worse, Keenum missed a wide-open Demaryius Thomas down the right sideline with 16 seconds to go for what should have been a game-winning 28-yard touchdown.
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