3) All Patrick Mahomes does is win
Speaking of his 70th career game, Mahomes recorded his 55th win in Week 7. He tied Hall of Famer Ken Stabler for the most wins in a player’s first 70 career starts in the Super Bowl era. Mahomes had already set the records for the most pass yards and pass touchdowns over that span. His final tallies through 70 games: 55-15 record, 21,150 pass yards, 171 pass touchdowns... each are a record in the Super Bowl era.
Patrick Mahomes has 21 career games with 300+ pass yards and 3+ pass TD.— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) October 23, 2022
The only player with more in his first 6 seasons is @ProFootballHOF Dan Marino (23).
Mahomes has played 70 games in his first 6 seasons. Marino played 87.#ChiefsKingdom @Chiefs
A - Chiefs
It’s pretty wild how effortlessly they carved up the NFL’s No. 1 defense, even though they started off their “A” game. Down 10-0 early after a pick, they responded by spreading the ball around to, quite literally, everyone in their lineup. And everyone did their jobs. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling looked like lifelong Chiefs — truly trusted outlets for Patrick Mahomes. The only reason they weren’t perfect is because they permitted San Francisco to move well on the ground out of the gate, although they solved that later by ratcheting up pressure on Jimmy Garoppolo.
Mahomes is now 13-9 in his career in games where he trails by 10+.— nick wright (@getnickwright) October 23, 2022
That’s 59%, the best in NFL history by a mile. Brady is in 2nd place, at 39%.
It’s also better than Herbert, Burrow, Stafford, Carr, Watson or Hurts *career* winning percentage.
Mitch Goldich: The Chiefs’ wide receivers. My initial plan here was to single out Mecole Hardman, who scored two of his three touchdowns on rushing plays. My reasoning simply that it’s fun to imagine Andy Reid seeing the headlines the past few days about how Christian McCaffery would give the 49ers an even more versatile offense and saying let me show you something fun. But then I felt strange picking a guy who had 60 total yards when JuJu Smith-Schuster caught seven passes for 124 and Marquez Valdes-Scantling had three for 111. This was an important bounce-back win for Kansas City—after losing to the Bills last week—to remind everyone just how good they are. Patrick Mahomes threw for 423 yards, and I’ve already heard a fresh round of “This offense is better without Tyreek Hill” on TV on Sunday night!
That was the story of the game for the defense. This was the worst showing we’ve seen from them in two years. The Chiefs scored 30 points in the second half. Patrick Mahomes, at 423 yards, threw three touchdowns and had three backbreaking third-down conversions. Kansas City converted six of its eight third downs.
Mahomes was surgical all afternoon, but especially through the air. He completed all seven of his attempts through the air for 184 yards. It felt as though each of those came at the worst possible time if you’re the 49ers.
Kansas City had a whopping 9.7 yards per play, had a 59% success rate, and gained a first down on 43% of their plays before the final garbage time drive. For reference, the 49ers led the league with the fewest yards per play allowed at 4.2 and a success rate of 38.9%. Today was a butt-kicking.
Chiefs offense turns in an absolute beauty. When the Chiefs are humming on offense, there aren’t too many prettier teams out there. That was the case for them on Sunday, doing it against one of the better defenses in football in an opposing stadium. After Patrick Mahomes threw an interception (a heck of a play by Talanoa Hufanga, too) on the opening drive, here’s how the Chiefs’ next seven possessions went, turning a 3-0 deficit into a 21-point lead: Touchdown. Touchdown. Missed field goal. Touchdown. Touchdown. Touchdown. Touchdown. Sure, the 49ers were a bit banged up defensively, but this was an absolute showcase performance by Mahomes and some surprise contributors. No shock that JuJu Smith-Schuster and Travis Kelce did their thing. But getting three TDs from Mecole Hardman (two rushing), 111 receiving yards from Marquez Valdes-Scantling (after a goose egg last week) and a strong backfield showing despite a personnel shakeup there shows just how deep the Chiefs are and how difficult they are to defend when at their best. This is one of their best offensive performances in recent memory. Wait — this team lost to the Colts?!
Around the NFL
Why the Dolphins won
Miami came up with the critical plays on defense, especially on the Steelers’ final two drives. Despite playing without several key players, the Dolphins defense forced three turnovers while holding Pittsburgh to 4 of 14 efficiency on third down. Among Miami’s top defenders was linebacker Jaelan Phillips, who tallied eight tackles and 1.5 sacks.
The Dolphins offense contributed to the cause by capitalizing on its defense’s early success. They also took advantage of their final scoring opportunity in the first half, as Tagovailoa’s completions of 32 yards to Trent Sherfield 21 yards to Tyreek Hill set up Jason Sanders’ 47-yard field goal.
Josh Jacobs: The Las Vegas Raiders probably made a mistake not picking up Jacobs’ fifth-year option.
Jacobs had been solid but not great through three seasons in the NFL. The former first-round draft pick has been much better this season, and he’ll hit free agency when it’s done.
Jacobs had a monster game in the Raiders’ 38-20 win over the Houston Texans. He rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns and helped Las Vegas control the game.
Running backs have been devalued and that’s one reason Jacobs’ option for next season wasn’t picked up. But he has been a consistent force for the Raiders this season.
Green Bay didn’t convert a third down all game. It’s the first time in Aaron Rodgers’ tenure that’s happened. You might say that they had an opportunity to win the game near its end, ultimately falling by only a two-point margin, but even when the Packers held a lead, they didn’t quite feel like they were in control.
“We gotta coach better, we gotta play better, we gotta execute better,” said head coach Matt LaFleur after the game. “It’s just not good enough.”
The Bengals are still a strong threat to repeat as AFC champions
Due respect to the Chiefs, Raiders and anyone else who won convincingly Sunday, but I’m not sure any team looked as scary good as Cincinnati did in beating a previously hot Atlanta Falcons team. The Joe Burrow-Ja’Marr Chase connection was in peak form, as Chase caught 130 of Burrow’s 481 passing yards and scored two dazzling touchdowns. Tyler Boyd had even more receiving yards — 155, to be exact — while Tee Higgins fell seven yards short of giving the Bengals three 100-yard receivers on the day. If you’d been waiting for the Bengals’ offense to sizzle the way it did late last year and through the team’s run to the Super Bowl, Sunday was the day you were waiting for.
Verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION
While multiple players sat at their lockers visibly stunned and staring at the floor in silence, coach Todd Bowles was not at a loss for words.
“We’re not playing well. We’re not playing well as individuals, we’re not playing well as a team,” he said. “We’re not coaching well. All around. We’re not scoring enough on offense. We’re not stopping them enough on defense. So as a result — we have to wear this on our sleeve. We’ve got to be grown men. We’re going to see what we’re made of — how many people can handle adversity? This is as dark as it’s going to be right now.
“Those guys who are going to step up are going to show up this week in practice. Our leaders are going to lead. Our coaches are going to coach. We’re just going to dig and keep our head down. It’s a prideful football game. ... Either you can or you can’t. We’re going to see what we have going forward and see how many people crumble when it’s dark, and see how many people step up and starting playing better.
According to ESPN.com, one team offered TWO first-round picks for Burns, but the Panthers rejected the deal. After trading away Christian McCaffrey to the 49ers on Thursday, there was some speculation that the Panthers might have a fire sale heading into the Nov. 1 trade deadline, but that’s clearly not the case, because if that were going to happen, they would have jumped all over the offer for Burns.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
JuJu Smith-Schuster: In Week 6, we thought the Chiefs had a No. 1 wide receiver emerging. On Sunday afternoon, Smith-Schuster did nothing but confirm it. He once again broke free for a long touchdown catch and ended the game with well over 100 yards receiving. No longer just a reliable intermediate target who can move the chains, Smith-Schuster’s targets are creeping up — along with his production. There’s no reason to think that he won’t be the main guy from here on out.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling: The former Green Bay Packers wideout is a very different type of receiver than Smith-Schuster, but his results on Sunday were also undeniably positive. Valdes-Scantling torched the San Francisco secondary for 57 yards on a third-and-11 right after momentum seemed to have shifted. The 49ers had just scored a touchdown and came back on defense with a sack of Mahomes. With the Chiefs facing third-and-long at their own 19, the five-point lead could have shifted in a hurry — but then Valdes-Scantling broke free. The rout was on.
Mecole Harman: When an offense puts up 44 against one of the best defenses in the league, it shouldn’t be surprising to see multiple receivers on this list. But Hardman surprised everyone by putting up a hat trick. First, he got open for a big 18-yard strike early in the game. Then he scored on a jet sweep to each side of the field — and caught another touchdown pass for good measure. Finally healthy, Hardman was running hard — and looked like a dangerous weapon in this offense.
A tweet to make you think
Juju is starting to look like that guy.— Tom Childs (@tomchilds56) October 23, 2022