The Kansas City Chiefs survived a close one on Sunday night, beating the New York Jets 23-20 to improve their record to 3-1. Kansas City looked to be in complete control once they got out to an early 17-0 lead.
However, the momentum quickly shifted over to the Jets, who stormed back in the second quarter to make it a competitive game.
“That’s a good defense,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes told reporters after the game. “I knew it was going to be a fight going against that defense. I thought it was almost out of the norm to start that fast against them.”
The story of this one was the Chiefs’ offense which, once again, had a tough night as they went through long stretches where they struggled to find a rhythm. Turnovers and costly penalties played a part in their turbulent performance as they were outscored 20-3 in the second and third quarters.
Mahomes was a big reason for that as he finished the game, completing 18 of his 30 passes for 203 yards, one touchdown, and two momentum-shifting interceptions.
While his competitiveness to complete every throw possible makes Mahomes so special, he admits that greed also gets him in trouble at times, as it did in this one.
“It’s just being greedy,” he said when explaining what happened on his two interceptions. ”I just got to throw the ball away. They covered both plays well. But instead of just throwing the ball away, I tried to make perfect throws. The one to Noah (Gray), I saw the guy underneath, and I thought I could throw it to the sideline, him or nobody. Maybe get a catch on the sideline for a first down bit. I obviously didn’t throw it good enough. Hit the dude right in the chest.
“Same with Travis (Kelce). We’re in that situation where I’m trying to get Harrison (Butker) in field goal range, and they’re dropping for depth, and I thought Travis beat his guy, but the whole player was there. I thought I could throw it over him, and obviously I couldn’t. And so, he made a good play on it. You just got to know when you can take those chances and that time, at those points in the game, I can’t do that. I got to throw the football away and just live to play another play.”
While Mahomes was dissatisfied with his own performance, he was still proud of the way that the team pushed through it and found a way to win in the end.
“I have to be better with the football,” Mahomes admitted. ”I can’t turn it over and put that pressure on our defense. But they stepped up for me. It’s football. It’s the NFL. Not everything’s going to be easy. You have to find a way to win in different ways, and I’ve learned that over my career.”
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid never lost faith in his superstar quarterback, revealing how Mahomes’ unique personality helped rally the team at halftime.
“He said something during halftime,” Reid recalled. “He said, ‘We’ll figure it out here, and I’ll get it right.’ And he did.
“He’s just so competitive. He never gets down on himself that way. He has that ‘I’ll fix it, I got it, we’ll fix it, just keep pounding’ type of mentality.”
When the Chiefs needed him most, Mahomes delivered several clutch plays in the fourth quarter that helped ice the game. Although his passing was a bit off on Sunday night, he was very effective in extending drives by using his legs and scrambling for first downs. The highlight was a long third down conversion on third-and-22, which helped Kansas City run out the rest of the clock and effectively end the game.
Mahomes knows it wasn’t the prettiest performance but emphasizes that winning the ugly games is just as important in the big picture.
“It’s always good when you find a way to win,” Mahomes said. “I’ve learned in my six or seven years you can win pretty, but you have to win ugly too in order to win Super Bowls. For me, even though I hate it while it’s happening, I feel like it makes you better in the end if you win games like this where not everything is going perfect.
“We did that last year, and we’re going to try to do that again this year and then try to keep getting better so we’re playing our best football at the end of the season.”