Game Day Notebook: Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce Deliver Again in Win Over Chargers

Trailing the Los Angeles Chargers 27-23, Chiefs head coach Andy looked toward the game clock showing 1:46 remaining in the game.

“We’ve been down with 13 seconds before, so a minute seemed like an eternity,” Reid said after watching quarterback Patrick Mahomes engineer a 6-play, 75-yard game-winning drive in 75 seconds that allowed the Chiefs to escape with a 30-27 victory.

“He gives you that confidence,” Reid explained. “The more you’re around him, the more you watch him do what he does, you know that you have a shot.”

Mahomes delivered another MVP-worthy performance Sunday night, completing 20-of-34 passing for 329 yards and three touchdowns while adding four scrambles for 23 yards. The game-winning drive was merely business as usual for Mahomes.

“We do this a lot,” Mahomes said. “Coach Reid prepares us for these moments. We knew we had a lot of time on the clock. We knew we had some time outs, so we didn’t rush. We just kind of went through what we do every single day at practice and everything like that, and we executed.”

Mahomes pulled off the comeback win with help from his running mate, tight end Travis Kelce, who led the Chiefs with six catches for 115 yards and three touchdowns. Twice in the fourth quarter, Kelce took short passes from Mahomes and weaved his way through the Chargers’ defense into the end zone, scoring from 32 and 17 yards out.

Kelce scored his first touchdown on the second play of the second quarter, but the Chargers then shut him for nearly 30 minutes of game time before he caught his next pass, the 32-yard touchdown opening the fourth quarter. Reid said Kelce battled through an effective game plan by the Chargers.

“They were going to bang him around, and then they put an All-Pro safety on him with (Derwin James),” Reid said. “He had to fight like crazy the whole game and come up with things on the fly to get himself open. It’s a tribute to the Chargers, but it’s also a great tribute to Kelce for battling through.”

Mahomes said what makes Kelce special isn’t his size, speed or route running: it’s his competitive fire and desire to win.

“He’s going to go down fighting,” Mahomes said. “I respect that. I think that I am the same way is that I am going to do whatever I can to win no matter what the score is.”

Reid fully understands what it means to have Mahomes and Kelce on the same team at this point in their careers.

“We’re a part of it, and that’s the fun part,” Reid said. “You’d like it to last forever but these grow old, and it’s not. What I do is I try to enjoy every minute of it, every play, and their chemistry is ridiculous.”

By the numbers

33: Kelce picked up the 33rd 100-yard receiving game of his career Sunday night, moving him past Rob Gronkowski for the most 100-yard receiving games by a tight end in NFL history. Gronkowski moves into second place with 32 followed by Chiefs Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez with 31.

58: Mahomes continues racking up records for wins, touchdowns and yardage, and Sunday night he moved into a tie with Ken Stabler for most wins by a quarterback in their first 75 starts. Mahomes is now 58-15 in 73 regular-season starts. He can move into first place by himself with a win next week against the Los Angeles Rams. Mahomes also now has 179 touchdown passes in 73 games. Dan Marino ranks second on the list with 173 touchdown passes in his first 75 games.

107: Rookie running back Isiah Pacheco posted the first 100-yard rushing game of his career against the Chargers, averaging 7.1 yards per attempt. Pacheco now has 386 yards rushing on the season to lead the Chiefs, followed by Clyde Edwards-Helaire with 302 yards.

130: Receivers Justin Watson and Skyy Moore combined for 130 yards receiving Sunday. Watson entered the game with seven catches for 113 yards through the first nine games of the season while Moore caught seven passes for 106 yards. But their performances on Sunday night — Watson with three catches for 67 yards and Moore with five receptions for 63 — helped the offensive thrive despite the losses of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman and Kadarius Toney.

5,551: The number of passing yards Mahomes’ is on pace for over 17 games this season. Peyton Manning holds the NFL record with 5,477 yards passing in a single season. Mahomes is also on pace for 48 touchdown passes.

What’s next?

The Thanksgiving holiday creates a slightly different schedule for the Chiefs this week. Reid will hold his weekly Monday press conference reporters via Zoom on Monday but coordinators Eric Bieniemy, Steve Spagnuolo and Dave Toub will hold their weekly press conferences on Tuesday instead of Thursday.

The Chiefs will practice as normal on Wednesday and Friday. Reid expects to give his players Thursday afternoon off following practice to allow them to spend time with their families.

The defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams (3-7) visit Kansas City next Sunday for a 3:25 p.m. central time kick off. The game will air on FOX. The Chiefs are early 14-point favorites over the Rams, who may be without starting quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford left the team’s loss to New Orleans on Sunday for a concussion evaluation.