Cleveland — With almost every flick of his right wrist, the legend of Patrick Mahomes grows.
And he’s just beginning.
Only 10 games into his NFL career, Kansas City’s young quarterback is doing things that have never been done before.
Mahomes passed for 375 yards, threw three touchdown passes — two to Cleveland native Travis Kelce — and continued the best start by a QB in 68 years as Kansas City’s impossible-to-handle offense kept rolling with a 37-21 win on Sunday over the Cleveland Browns, who played their first game since coach Hue Jackson’s firing.
Kareem Hunt, who also has Cleveland connections, had two scoring runs and one receiving for the Chiefs (8-1), who came in averaging 36.3 points with an offense overloaded with weapons for Mahomes.
The 23-year-old used all of them in winning his first pro matchup against Baker Mayfield and the Browns (2-6-1).
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Mahomes, who was hurt by a couple drops. “It makes my job a lot easier knowing that I can trust these guys are going to be in the right spot. They’re taking care of their business. They’re running the routes and making route adjustments on the fly just because they’ve looked at the film and know how to do those things.”
Mahomes and Mayfield didn’t match their epic college meeting in 2016, when they combined for more than 1,700 yards in offense. But the Chiefs put on another impressive offensive show with 499 total yards, averaging 8.6 per snap.
Browns defensive end Myles Garrett said preparing for Mahomes and Kansas City’s air-and-ground show is nothing like playing against it.
“Their offense has a nice tempo and he gets the ball out of his hand pretty quick, so it’s hard to stop,” he said. “He spreads the ball around really well and everybody is getting touches. You don’t know who it’s going to go to next.”
In his second season, Mahomes, who made just one start as a rookie, already has 29 TD passes and 3,185 yards, the most by any QB through 10 games since 1950. He has passed for at least 300 yards in eight straight games.
“It’s a weird deal — he just goes out there and plays,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “He works hard. He loves doing it. He just goes about his business the way that you’re supposed to do it.”
Cleveland lost its fourth straight, but it looked better under interim coach Gregg Williams than it did with Jackson, fired on Monday after going 3-36-1 in two-plus seasons.
Mayfield threw two TD passes to Duke Johnson and finished 29 of 42 for 297 yards with one interception.
The Browns came in facing a monumental task in trying to slow Mahomes and an offense with speed, depth and no noticeable weaknesses.
Things got much tougher for Cleveland when starting cornerback Damarious Randall (groin) was scratched and E.J. Gaines (concussion) and rookie Denzel Ward (hip) both got hurt in the first half.
Kansas City scored a touchdown on its first three possessions and the Chiefs only had the ball for 11:29 in the first half as the Browns were able to control the clock.
The Chiefs picked up where they left off in the third quarter with Mahomes firing a 13-yard TD pass to Kelce, giving Kansas City a 28-15 lead.
Kelce couldn’t stop smiling as he talked about his QB.
“You mean Showtime Mahomes?” he said. “He came in with the understanding this thing could be very special. We added a few pieces to the puzzle and the offensive line is playing lights out. It’s a combination of everything that’s making him feel comfortable out there.”
► (At) New England 31, Green Bay 17: Tom Brady threw for 294 yards and a touchdown, and James White ran for two scores to lead New England past Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay.
The Patriots improved to 7-2 with their sixth straight victory.
Rodgers completed 24 of 43 passes and two touchdowns in his second career matchup with Brady.
It was 17-all late in the third quarter when Aaron Jones fumbled for Green Bay (3-4-1).
New England receiver Julian Edelman hit White on a 37-yard catch-and-run to set up White’s second score, a 1-yard run. On the Patriots next possession, Brady connected with Josh Gordon for a 55-yard TD.
Gordon caught four passes for 115 yards.
► Houston 19, (at) Denver 17: Brandon McManus missed a 51-yard field goal as time expired, leaving Demaryius Thomas a winner in his homecoming and Houston escaped Denver with a win.
The Texans (6-3) won their sixth straight and the Broncos (3-6) lost for the sixth time in seven games.
Thomas finished with three receptions for 61 yards, but two of them were back-to-back for 31 and 18 yards on the Texans’ opening touchdown drive.
McManus’ second miss of the game came after Case Keenum completed an 18-yard pass between two defenders to Emmanuel Sanders on fourth-and-8 from the Denver 45-yard line.
Keenum threw a 5-yard pass to tight end Jeff Heuerman, who had a career-best 10 catches for 83 yards and then running back Phillip Lindsay lost a yard.
After Denver called a timeout with 3 seconds left, the Texans did the same, then rushed the field in relief after McManus’ kick drifted wide right.
► L.A. Chargers 25, (at) Seattle 17: Philip Rivers made his 200th consecutive start and kept Los Angeles surging at the midpoint of the season, surviving a late rally by Seattle’s Russell Wilson.
Rivers threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns, Melvin Gordon added 113 yards rushing and the Chargers won their fifth straight.
Rivers threw touchdown passes of 12 yards to Tyrell Williams and 30 yards to Mike Williams, and let the Chargers defense stymie Russell Wilson until the final minutes. Seattle had won four of five following a 0-2 start.
Desmond King provided the deciding points for Los Angeles (6-2) by stepping in front of Wilson’s pass for David Moore and returning it 42 yards for a touchdown with 6:44 remaining to give the Chargers a 25-10 lead.
Wilson managed to make the final minutes nervous for Los Angeles.
Wilson hit Nick Vannett on a 6-yard TD with 1:50 remaining to cut the Chargers’ lead to one score. Seattle got the ball back with 1:24 left at its own 22 and after two completions and a roughing the passer penalty on Melvin Ingram, the Seahawks were at the Chargers 44 with 50 seconds left. Wilson scrambled for 16 yards to the Chargers 28 and, after a spike, Seattle had 30 seconds left.
Seattle (4-4) got a break when Michael Davis was called for pass interference in the end zone on the final play of regulation against Tyler Lockett, putting the ball at the 1 for an untimed down. Seattle’s J.R. Sweezy was called for false start backing the play up to the 6, and Wilson’s final attempt for David Moore in the back of the end zone was partially tipped by Jahleel Addae and fell incomplete.
► Pittsburgh 23, (at) Baltimore 16: James Conner rushed for 107 yards and caught a TD pass for the Steelers (5-2-1), who have won four straight since falling to the Ravens at home on Sept. 30.
Roethlisberger went 28-for-47 for 270 yards. His 1-yard run put Pittsburgh up 20-6 in the third quarter, and the 36-year-old showed his grit by missing only one play after being flattened during a sprint from the pocket with just over 13 minutes left.
The Ravens (4-5) scored only one touchdown in their third straight defeat. Joe Flacco was limited to 209 yards passing and sacked twice.
Pittsburgh opened the second half with a drive that lasted nearly seven minutes and ended with a 1-yard plunge by Roethlisberger. The conversion sailed wide to the right, keeping the score at 20-6.
► (At) Miami 13, N.Y. Jets 6: Rookie linebacker Jerome Baker intercepted Sam Darnold and scored the only touchdown on a 25-yard return with 11 minutes left, and a resilient defense helped the Dolphins beat the Jets.
Darnold threw four interceptions and took four sacks, and the Jets went 2-for-13 on third down.
The hobbled Dolphins (5-4) endured another wave of injuries, but their defense was much improved after three consecutive poor games, with the quality of the opposition certainly a factor.
Darnold tried to rally his sputtering team from a 6-3 deficit, but following a punt he took a high snap and made an ill-advised throw to tight end Eric Tomlinson. Baker stepped in front for his first career interception and scored untouched.
T.J. McDonald and Walt Aikens made interceptions to end the Jets’ final two possessions.
The Jets (3-6) lost their third in a row and have scored 33 points during the skid. They’ve dropped nine of their past 10 road games dating to 2017.
► Atlanta 38, (at) Washington 14: Julio Jones ended his 12-game touchdown drought, Matt Ryan threw for 350 yards and four scores and the Atlanta Falcons flexed their offensive muscles with a blowout of Washington that extended their winning streak to three games.
Jones caught seven passes for 121 yards with the biggest coming on a 35-yard screen pass with just under four minutes left that sealed the victory. After Jones twisted away from newest Washington defender Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and into the end zone, a swarm of teammates rushed over from the sideline to celebrate Jones’ first touchdown catch since Nov. 26, 2017.
Ryan completed 26 of his 38 passes, including touchdown passes of 39 and 10 yards to running back Tevin Coleman and 40 to rookie receiver Calvin Ridley. Coleman ran for 80 yards and Ito Smith had 66 yards and a rushing touchdown to give the Falcons (4-4) the balanced attack they’ve lacked in an injury-marred season that so far has failed to live up to expectations.
NFC East-leading Washington (5-3) could blame poor tackling, ill-timed penalties and a series of injuries along the offensive line for the end of their three-game winning streak.
► (At) Carolina 42, Tampa Bay 28: Cam Newton completed 19 of 25 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns, Christian McCaffrey racked up 157 yards from scrimmage and scored twice and the Panthers built an early lead and held on to beat the Buccaneers for their 10th straight home win.
Newton threw TD passes of 19 yards to Curtis Samuel and 17 yards to Greg Olsen, the seventh straight game he has thrown for at least two touchdowns. McCaffrey had 17 carries for 79 yards and five catches for 78 yards and turned in the play of the game when he leaped over a defender after a reception in the flat and kept going, turning it into a 32-yard gain.
The Panthers (6-2) scored touchdowns on five straight possessions during the first half to build a commanding 35-7 lead before the Buccaneers battled back to within a touchdown early in the fourth quarter behind Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick, who started in place of the turnover-prone Jameis Winston for Tampa Bay (3-5), finished with 243 yards passing and four touchdowns — two each to Adam Humphries and O.J. Howard.