KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Andy Reid made it clear Sunday night that he wouldn't simply forget about the uncharacteristic three interceptions that Patrick Mahomes had thrown against the Denver Broncos.
Those turnovers allowed a 27-point lead to nearly evaporate and almost doomed the Kansas City Chiefs to defeat.
Reid just wanted to make sure folks remembered Mahomes' brilliance, too.
There was the no-look, side-arm fling over two closing Broncos defenders that landed softly in the hands of Jerick McKinnon, who took it 56 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter.
And much later, when things became tense, the throw from the pocket as Mahomes was getting dragged down that found JuJu Smith-Schuster in the end zone.
That touchdown ultimately proved to be the difference in the 34-28 victory.
“Every quarterback that has played in this league for a while has a game like that,” Reid said. "The one great thing about him is he kept firing and had a lot of big plays, and so you can’t take away the three interceptions, but there sure were some good ones in between those. And it’s a great learning experience. But every great one’s had that as well. It’s one of those days and we were able to work through and everyone kept battling and finished the game.”
Mahomes has lamented for weeks the “one dumb play” he seems to make each game.
They're a big reason the Chiefs have had at least one turnover in eight straight games, something Reid has never experienced in his Kansas City tenure.
The turnovers Sunday? Ill-advised throws, to be sure, but also spectacular plays by the Denver defense.
“I promise you,” Mahomes said, “I know I'm messing up. When I go to the sidelines, I'm hot. Those coaches come to me and they know I understand, but they still let me know what I can get better at. I just cannot put our team in that situation.”
Maybe the Chiefs (10-3) can survive them against the Broncos, who fell to 3-10 with the loss.
Maybe they could against the Texans, whom they visit this Sunday. But probably not against the Seahawks the following week.
Almost certainly not against anyone in the postseason.
The Chiefs remain tied with the Bills for the AFC's best record, but Buffalo has the head-to-head tiebreaker with four games to go.
So the pressure is on Kansas City to clean up those mistakes if it wants to earn that lone first-round playoff bye.
“You are not going to play your best football every week,” Mahomes said, "but how can you build on your past week for the rest of the season to make sure you are playing your best football when the playoffs come around?”
The Chiefs running back group of McKinnon and Isiah Pacheco was too much for Denver to handle Sunday. McKinnon had seven catches for 122 yards and two scores, along with 22 yards on the ground, and Pacheco carried 13 times for 70 yards — including a bulldozing run over two woebegone safeties to finish the game.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The pass defense continually broke down in the second half, allowing the Broncos' Jerry Jeudy to haul in eight catches for 73 yards and three scores. One of those came from backup Brett Rypien, who was pressed into action when Russell Wilson was knocked from the game with a concussion.
It's hard for Chris Jones' stock to get any higher, but one of the league's dominant defensive tackles had another monster game Sunday.
Jones had his 11th sack of the season, another quarterback hit, deflected a pass and his pressure led to a pick that helped Kansas City survive the Denver comeback.
Wide receiver Skyy Moore's disappointing rookie season continued Sunday. The second-round pick had just one catch on two targets for 7 yards after being held without a catch in last week's loss in Cincinnati.
The Chiefs did not have any new injuries Sunday. Wide receiver Kadarius Toney (hamstring) practiced all of last week but was downgraded to out on Saturday, raising expectations that he will finally return in Houston.
14 — The Chiefs extended their record for consecutive wins over one opponent to 14 against the Broncos. The teams meet again on New Year's Day at Arrowhead Stadium, when another would tie the third-longest streak by any team against any other since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. The Dolphins hold the record with 20 over the Bills from 1970-79, while the 49ers beat the Rams 17 consecutive times from 1990-98. The Patriots had 15 straight wins over the Bills from 2003-10, as did the Redskins over the Lions from 1970-97.
The Chiefs head to Houston on Sunday.
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