“It was the best Sunday of the entire year,” Davis said.
Mahomes was unstoppable in his return, passing for 446 yards and three touchdowns, yet the Kansas City defense was unable to stop a sneeze. Derrick Henry rushed for 188 yards to push the Titans to a 35-32 comeback victory over the Chiefs, who were 6-point favorites.
Baltimore Ravens 51, Kansas City Chiefs 50: Quickly labeled the greatest playoff game of the 21st century, Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes combine for 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns in a contest that ends cruelly for Kansas City, as the Ravens, trailing 50-43 with 5:45 remaining, unspool a punishing, clock-chewing march capped by Mark Ingram bursting in for the score. Trailing 50-49, coach John Harbaugh greenlights an ultra-gutsy two-point conversion call -- Ingram again (!) -- leaving Mahomes and the Chiefs without a final shot ... for the second year in a row.
Perhaps this week’s biggest winner in the AFC was the New England Patriots, who saw the division rival Bills lose to the Browns, extending their AFC East lead to two games; and the Chiefs lose to the Titans, all but ensuring the Pats will not have to travel to Arrowhead Stadium to play Patrick Mahomes at any point during the playoffs. New England still has to maintain its one-game lead over the Ravens in order to secure home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, but the Pats are in a good spot right now.
1. Patrick Mahomes (LW: NA)
Mahomes is back in the top spot for a bevy of reasons. In his comeback from a dislocated kneecap, Mahomes threw for 446 yards and three touchdowns in a masterful performance. Despite missing two full games and most of a third, he ranks fifth in passing yardage (2,626) while averaging 9.0 YPA. He’s also thrown 18 touchdowns and a single interception. He’s the best player in football.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes could get back in the MVP race if he stays healthy the rest of the way and plays like he did against the Titans on Sunday. Raiders safety duo Erik Harris and Karl Joseph were sensational in the team’s win over the Chargers on Thursday Night Football, though Joseph unfortunately landed on injured reserve this weekend.
What it means: That was a HUGE loss for the Chiefs.
The Chiefs want a bye in the first round. They now have four losses. The Patriots have just one, the Ravens have two, and the Texans have three.
Around the NFL
“After thoughtful consideration over the past few weeks, coach [Bruce] Arians and I came to the conclusion that we needed to make this change,” said Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said in a statement. “Decisions such as this are always difficult, but I felt it was in the best interest of our team to part ways with Vernon at this time and allow him to explore other opportunities. We are disappointed that it did not work out here for Vernon and we wish him continued success moving forward.”
The sixth-year player out of Louisville tallied 54 tackles and had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery this season.
On Monday, Bengals coach Zac Taylor said the team needed to see significant improvement from its linebackers.
”Someone needs to step up and be a leader there,” Taylor said. “We’ve been waiting on that and shuffling the lineup around, waiting on someone to step up and be consistent and be a leader in that room. We’re still waiting on that.”
“You got to play the game the way you go into the game trying to play it,” Edelman told Rapoport. “With a team like Baltimore, you can’t get behind because they’re so dynamic at keeping the ball away from you. So, starting fast, getting back on that program, being able to come out and start fast and get a rhythm established. A lot of this week was more of self-scout and we’re just kind of working on us, on all the things that we have to do better.”
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
No matter which way you slice it, kicking this field goal left points on the field. And it turns out that the numbers work out similarly for all three of the Chiefs’ field goals before the fourth quarter.
A lot of crazy things happened on Sunday: a Patrick Mahomes jump-pass that will likely end up in his Hall of Fame highlight reel, a botched long snap that gave the Titans a chance at victory, a wide-open dropped pass by a star receiver... you name it!
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