The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Atlanta Falcons 28-14, despite giving up too many big passing plays in the first half and falling behind 14-3 in the second quarter. But by the half — thanks to a shining moment from Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill, otherwise known as an electrifying 69-yard touchdown pass — the Chiefs never looked back.
Patrick Mahomes was in for 24 plays in the first half. He was 8 for 12 for 138 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. He also had a couple of scrambles that went for 16 yards, and even managed to get in a block when a running play was blown up. All just about what we would expect.
Chad Henne played the third quarter and played well, going 8 for 10 for 85 yards with a touchdown. He even had a nifty 9-yard bootleg play that caught the Falcons flat-footed.
Matt McGloin took over at the start of the fourth quarter. He threw for only 58 yards, but completed nine of 10 passes. He was sacked once and on another play, tripped in the backfield for a loss.
Just read about the fourth drive first, and come back here. We’ll wait.
Chiefs’ first drive: This was not a good start. Starting at their own 14, the Chiefs tried a couple of handoffs to Kareem Hunt, and found themselves at third and 4. Mahomes’ pass to Tyreek Hill was short of the sticks, forcing a punt.
Chiefs second drive: Starting with a 10-yard pass to Hill for a first down, things looked better. Then Hunt was dropped for a loss after a short pass. The Falcons were called with a helmet penalty and on the next play, Hunt was smothered deep in the backfield. Mahomes converted on third down with a 14-yard pass to Kelce, The teams traded penalties after a decent run from Hunt, and the Chiefs were past midfield.
Then Mahomes threw to Hunt in the right flat and he turned the corner, gaining 19 yards before being pushed out at the 17. Kelce got it to the 4 with a 13-yard catch. The Chiefs tried a running play, and then Mahomes hit Hunt for a touchdown pass — but the play was called back after an illegal formation penalty. After two incomplete passes — including a near-interception in the end zone — the Chiefs had to settle for a field goal.
Chiefs third drive: This one didn’t last long. From his own 17, Mahomes went deep for Watkins, but was intercepted at the 46.
Chiefs fourth drive: Here’s the drive for which you’ve been waiting... oh, about 30 years. Starting at his own eight with 1:12 remaining in the half, Mahomes threw incomplete to Watkins and then scrambled for nine before Atlanta called a timeout. Hunt got the first down with an impressive 9-yard run. Then Mahomes got five more yards with a short pass to Hunt. The Chiefs called timeout.
Then, from his own 31 — and :28 left in the half — Mahomes just let it fly. The ball traveled about 70 yards downfield as Tyreek Hill accelerated through three defenders, tracked the ball as it drifted right, and caught it in stride. Touchdown Kansas City.
Falcons’ first drive: It looked promising for one play, as Ukeme Eligwe stuffed a run play for a loss after the Falcons threw incomplete on first down. But that didn’t last. Ryan hit Austin Hooper for a 29-yard reception, Tevin Coleman had a pair of runs — one for 22 yards — and the Falcons were at the door. The Falcons scored on a 4-yard pass to Hooper in just 3:40.
Falcons’ second drive: It started just as badly for the Chiefs, with a 16-yard strike to Hall, and a penalty on Derrick Nnadi. After a rushing play, Ryan hit Ridley for 36 yards. But the Chiefs defense then stiffened. After three running plays, the Falcons tried a fourth-and-1 pass that went incomplete, and the Chiefs took over at their own 19.
Falcons third drive: With Matt Schaub under center, the Falcons started at their own 29. After a couple of runs and a short pass, Schaub hit Gage for 18 yards, putting the Falcons in Chiefs territory. The Falcons got another first down with six and 9-yard runs, and then started wearing down the Chiefs defense with moderate gains on successive plays, culminating with a 7-yard pass to Ridley for Atlanta’s second touchdown.
Falcons fourth drive: Starting at the Chiefs 46 after an interception, the Falcons tried a couple of rushing plays and then got a 24-yard gain on a pass to Saubert. But again... the Chiefs defense stiffened, holding on third and 8 and finally on a fourth and 1, getting the ball back on downs.
Tremon Smith had a nice 37-yard punt return in the third quarter. Otherwise, neither team made a big splash in special teams.
Steven Nelson left the game with a concussion he suffered on the Falcons’ first touchdown. Terrance Smith injured his ankle.