Monday's NFL: Mahomes outplays Jackson to lead Chiefs past Ravens
Baltimore — It wasn’t just that Patrick Mahomes threw for a ton of yards and four touchdowns. Most impressive was how he did it.
Mahomes juked, danced, and jumped in and out of the pocket. Sometimes he just dropped back and fired pinpoint throws downfield. He tossed shovel passes and flung it sidearmed.
The common thread was that just about everything he did worked for the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, who rolled past the Baltimore Ravens 34-20 on Monday night.
Mahomes put on a scintillating show while outperforming Lamar Jackson, who’s 0-3 against the Chiefs and 21-1 against the rest of the NFL as a regular-season starting quarterback.
With Mahomes leading the way, the Chiefs (3-0) emphatically ended the Ravens’ 14-game regular-season winning streak while extending their own run to 12 games (including playoffs). Mahomes went 31 for 42 for 385 yards and averaged 6.5 yards on his four rushing attempts.
“They don’t give that guy a half-billion dollars for no reason,” Ravens defensive tackle Calais Campbell said. “He just made play after play. You’ve got to give him respect.”
Mahomes, who signed a 10-year, $503 million extension in July, gave the Chiefs their money’s worth on Monday night, surgically shredding a Baltimore defense that had allowed only two touchdowns in its first two games.
“You got to give credit to Pat for leading the charge. He stepped up big,” Kansas City coach Andy Reid said.
Mahomes was not intercepted, and avoided being sacked. The Chiefs led 27-10 at halftime and held on to defeat Baltimore (2-1) for the third year in a row.
“The plays we ran, we got in the right situations,” Mahomes said. “I thought guys executed at a very high level on those plays.”
In a duel between Mahomes, the 2018 NFL MVP, and the player who won that honor last year, Jackson was no match for the man whose resume also includes a Super Bowl MVP trophy.
Jackson completed 15 of 28 passes for 97 yards and ran for 83 yards, 30 of them on one carry during the Ravens’ opening possession. It wasn’t nearly enough against Mahomes, whose performance Jackson described in one word: “Outstanding.”
The Chiefs scored touchdowns on their first two possessions – one on a run by Mahomes, the other on a shovel pass to Anthony Sherman – for a 13-3 lead. Following that second score, Ravens rookie Devin Duvernay fielded the kickoff and sprinted down the right sideline for a 93-yard touchdown.
Kansas City followed with a three-and-out, but Baltimore simply could not contain Mahomes for long. After he got the ball back, Mahomes completed passes of 29 and 18 yards before hitting Tyreek Hill for a 20-yard score to cap a 73-yard drive.
A 49-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes to Mecole Hardman put the Chiefs up by 17 at halftime. The only other time Jackson trailed by that much at the break in an NFL game was last year, when the Chiefs held a 23-6 lead.
In this one, Kansas City pumped the brakes in the second half before Baltimore closed to 27-20. That’s when Mahomes showed why he’s the league’s highest-paid player and arguably the NFL’s best quarterback.
During a 13-play, 75-yard drive that produced the game-clinching score, Mahomes converted a third-and-5 with an 18-yard pass and ran for 12 yards on a third-and-10. He flipped a sidearm 12-yard pass to Sammy Watkins to set up a first-and-goal at the 2, from where Mahomes tossed a touchdown pass to appreciative tackle Eric Fisher with 8:14 remaining.
There were an estimated 250 people in the seats consisting of immediate family members of Ravens players, coaches and front office personnel. They were scattered in several sections behind the Baltimore sideline.
They were far more animated than the cardboard cutouts of people behind each end zone.
Foles gets the nod
Nick Foles made a strong case for being the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears after a 30-26 comeback win Sunday over the Atlanta Falcons.
On Monday, coach Matt Nagy confirmed Foles had done enough in a relief effort of Mitchell Trubisky and selected the Super Bowl 52 MVP as the Bears new starting quarterback.
“He’s our starter moving forward,” Nagy said of Foles.
Foles had come on in relief of Trubisky following Blidi Wreh-Wilson’s interception in the third quarter, and led a rally from a 26-10 deficit.
Nagy said frustration over the way the offense was struggling in the first half and the interception led to his decision. But he was also irritated by the way the Bears failed to come up with points on their first drive of the game when Cairo Santos missed a field-goal attempt. The coach had seen this type of situation too often in the past.
In the fourth quarter, Foles threw three touchdown passes including a 28-yard TD against the blitz to Anthony Miller for the winning points with just under two minutes remaining. The play was basically ad-libbed by Foles with an adjustment made in the huddle to account for a blitz.
“That’s a strength of his that he has,” Nagy said. “He’s seen a lot of different defenses and I think that that will be something when it’s done the right way can be very effective.”
Foles was the Super Bowl 52 MVP in a Philadelphia Eagles victory over the New England Patriots. He went to Jacksonville as a free agent last year, struggled after a broken collarbone and the Bears traded a fourth-round pick to get him largely because of his experience with their style of offense.
Nagy said his team benefited on Sunday from Foles’ experience.
The Bears earlier in the game had run the same play Foles threw to Miller for the winning touchdown, but Trubisky had thrown the pass and failed to complete it. Later Trubisky admitted to Nagy it was a bad mistake.
“When you’re in those situations, and a defense presents a certain look to you, you have to capitalize,” Nagy said. “And I think we saw one that capitalized — one play that did and one play that didn’t.”
The Jaguars signed veteran Steven Hauschka, giving them a third placekicker in the past week.
Josh Lambo (hip) was placed on injured reserve last Wednesday, and the Jaguars turned to undrafted rookie Brandon Wright against Miami.
Wright missed an extra point and injured his groin in the lopsided loss.
... Broncos five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey tore a biceps tendon Sunday against Tampa Bay in just his third game since the Broncos acquired him from the Titans in the offseason, and is out for the season.