Sunday’s NFL: Chiefs offense blows past Broncos
Kansas City, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes had another 300-yard passing day with four touchdowns. Kareem Hunt had another hurdling, tackle-breaking touchdown that gave the Chiefs a lead they’d never surrender.
Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins produced huge games, too, as the high-powered Kansas City offense once again made the incredible look downright casual in a 30-23 victory over Denver on Sunday that finished off a season sweep of the Broncos.
“When we’re clicking and spreading the ball around,” Mahomes said, “we’re really tough to stop.”
You could make a case for nearly impossible. The only team to beat the Chiefs (7-1) so far has been New England, and it took the Patriots scoring 43 points at home to win by a field goal.
The Broncos (3-5) never came that close Sunday.
Mahomes finished with 303 yards passing for his franchise-record seventh consecutive 300-yard performance.
He joined Andrew Luck (eight games in 2014) and Drew Brees (seven games in 2011) as the only quarterbacks in league history with seven consecutive games with at least 300 passing yards in a season.
Mahomes also became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw at least four touchdown passes in three consecutive games, joining Brees (three games in 2011), Peyton Manning (five games in 2004) and Hall of Famer Dan Marino (four games in 1984).
Watkins had 107 yards and two of the TD catches, and Kelce and Hunt had the other two, as the Chiefs won for the 19th time in their past 21 games against the AFC West rivals.
“There were some good individual efforts there,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said, rattling off most of those same names before adding, almost as an afterthought: “Obviously our young quarterback was involved, too.”
Case Keenum had 262 yards passing and two scores for the Broncos (3-5), while Phillip Lindsay had a big day in his first career start. The undrafted rookie had 95 yards rushing and a TD while catching three passes and providing a spark out of the backfield.
Still, that production couldn’t help the Broncos overcome their own sloppiness. They were flagged 10 times for 83 yards, several of the penalties wiping out big gains — and that doesn’t include a few that were declined or offsetting, including a personal foul on defensive tackle Derek Wolfe.
“We can’t beat ourselves against this team. We know that,” said Broncos cornerback Chris Harris, whose team has lost seven straight to the Chiefs. “We got to be smart and we didn’t play smart enough here. We got to figure it out, why we keep having these same things happen every week.”
Kansas City failed to score on its initial drive for the first time all season, and instead it was the Broncos jumping in front when Lindsay scored from a yard out midway through the first quarter.
The Chiefs quickly found their stride, though.
Harrison Butker hit a chip-shot field goal, Kelce made a tough touchdown catch in traffic and Watkins found the soft spot in the middle of the Denver defense to haul in his first TD grab. Denver had no answer until the closing seconds, when Tim Patrick had his first career touchdown catch.
Still, the Chiefs took a 16-14 lead into the locker room. And they weren’t done.
Watkins, signed in the offseason to take some pressure off Tyreek Hill, showed his own game-breaking ability early in the third quarter. He had a 24-yard reception to move Kansas City downfield, and his 10-yard strike from Mahomes added to the Chiefs’ cushion .
The Broncos, meanwhile, kept stumbling through costly miscues. Two more penalties on their first possession of the half resulted in a shanked punt that gave Kansas City prime field position, and it took just four plays for Hunt to reach the end zone for the 10th time this season.
The reigning NFL rushing champion took an inside pitch from Mahomes — a pass, technically — and ran through two tackles, hurdled Will Parks and dragged fellow safety Justin Simmons into the end zone.
The highlight-reel catch-and-run came after another hurdling run by Hunt a week ago.
Denver tried to come back in the fourth quarter, when Jeff Heuerman caught a fourth-down touchdown catch. But the Broncos failed to convert the 2-point conversion, then Keenum threw a pick after they’d managed to get the ball back, foiling their best chance to make it a game.
“It is disappointing, but you got to go back to work on Sundays,” Lindsay said. “It’s time to get us a win. What better way than to go back home and get a win against the Texans?”
(At) L.A. Rams 29, Green Bay 27: Greg Zuerlein hit a 34-yard field goal with 2:05 left and Ramik Wilson forced and recovered Ty Montgomery’s fumble on the ensuing kickoff return, allowing the Rams to remain unbeaten without a late defensive stand in a victory over Packers.
Jared Goff passed for 295 yards and three touchdowns while the Rams (8-0) were sternly tested by the Packers (3-3-1) and Aaron Rodgers, who threw for 286 yards.
Philadelphia 24, Jacksonville 18: In London, Carson Wentz threw three touchdown passes to different players as Philadelphia won at Wembley Stadium. Tight end Dallas Goedert caught one of the touchdown passes in the first half, and running back Wendell Smallwood and tight end Zach Ertz scored theirs in the second half for the Eagles (4-4), making their first appearance in England.
Blake Bortles, restored as the starter despite being pulled in a loss to the Houston Texans a week earlier, completed 24 of 41 passes for 286 yards for the slumping Jaguars (3-5), who lost their fourth consecutive game.
(At) Chicago 24, N.Y. Jets 10: Mitchell Trubisky threw for two touchdowns, and the short-handed Bears got the win they needed after dropping two in a row to fall out of the NFC North lead. Chicago, playing without receiver Allen Robinson and linebacker Khalil Mack, also lost guard Kyle Long to a right foot injury. Trubisky was 16 of 29 for 220 yards. He also ran for 51 on six attempts.
Washington 20, (at) N.Y. Giants 13: Safety D.J. Swearinger intercepted two passes, Matt Ioannidis had 2.5 sacks, and Washington rode its defense to a third straight win. Washington sacked a battered Eli Manning seven times, forced the two turnovers, limited Saquon Barkley to 38 yards rushing and made big play after big play in sending New York (1-7) to its fifth straight loss.
(At) Carolina 36, Baltimore 21: Cam Newton completed 21 of 29 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 52 yards and another score as the Panthers soundly defeated the Ravens’ No. 1-ranked defense for their ninth straight win at home. Christian McCaffrey had two touchdowns and the Panthers continued to get electrifying performances from different players. This time, it was rookie wide receiver D.J. Moore, who turned in his best game as a pro with 129 yards from scrimmage. Trailing 7-0 early, the Panthers (5-2) scored on four straight possessions in the final 16 minutes of the first half to break the game open and take a 24-7 halftime lead.
(At) Cincinnati 37, Tampa Bay 34: Jessie Bates returned Jameis Winston’s fourth interception for a touchdown, and Randy Bullock kicked a 44-yard field goal on the final play to beat the Buccaneers, who now have a question at quarterback.
Cincinnati had a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver while surging ahead in the first half, then managed only 95 total yards in the second half— 50 of them on the final drive. Winston was benched after matching his career high with four interceptions. Ryan Fitzpatrick rallied the Bucs to a 34-34 tie with a pair of touchdown passes, including the tying TD with 1:05 to go.
Indianapolis 42, (at) Oakland 28: Andrew Luck threw touchdown passes to all three of his tight ends and the Colts won in consecutive weeks for the first time in three years. Indy kicker Adam Vinatieri set the record as the NFL’s top all-time scorer in the first half. He kicked a 26-yard field goal in the first quarter to tie Morten Andersen (Michigan State) with 2,544 points and then added a 25-yarder late in the second to set the record. Viantieri scored three more points, giving him 2,550 for his career.
(At) Arizona 18, San Francisco 15: Josh Rosen threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to fellow rookie Christian Kirk with 34 seconds to play in a matchup of teams with two of the worst records in the NFL. The Cardinals beat San Francisco for the eighth straight time and second time in three weeks. Arizona got two fourth-quarter touchdown passes from Rosen after the 49ers had built a 15-3 lead.