CLEVELAND — Kansas City Patrick Mahomes continued his record-setting run in the Chiefs' 37-21 win against the Browns Sunday, eclipsing the 300-yard passing barrier once again and closing in on a franchise record set more than a half century ago.
“You appreciate it when you're around him every day, just the spirit that he brings and the attitude that he has,” head coach Andy Reid said. “You don't even worry about him having a big head or getting complacent. It's a weird deal. He just goes out there and plays.”
Mahomes completed 23-of-32 passing for 375 yards, a new career high for passing yardage. That makes eight-straight games with more than 300 yards passing, tying Andrew Luck for the second-longest streak in league history. Drew Brees holds the longest streak at nine games, which he accomplished twice.
Mahomes also tossed three touchdown passes, giving him 29 on the season. One more touchdown pass ties the franchise record of 30 touchdown throws in a season. Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson set that mark during the 1964 season.
His final touchdown of the day came on a perfectly threaded ball to tight end Travis Kelce, a 13-yard toss just over the outstretched hands of a defender to the back of the end zone. One play before that, Mahomes completed a pass while falling down to Kelce for a 16-yard gain.
“Showtime Mahomes being Showtime Mahomes,” Kelce said. “Just when you think the play is over he finds a way to make it work.”
The 23-year-old quarterback now has 3,185 yards passing through the first nine games of the season. Only Peyton Manning with 3,249 yards passing though the first nine games of 2013 posted more. His 29 touchdowns rank tied for fourth-most in the first nine games of a season. Only Manning (33 in 2013 and 31 in 2004) and Tom Brady (33 in 2007) had more touchdowns through their first nine games.
Mahomes also became the first player in league history with more than 3,000 yards passing in his first 10 career games.
Browns Go for It … A Lot
The Browns scored three touchdowns against the Chiefs and went for a two-point conversion each time. And all three times they walked away empty handed.
Browns interim head coach Gregg Williams said he pursued the two-point tries and three fourth-down attempts for two key reasons.
“Partially because of who we are playing, from understanding the opponent and also understanding our team,” Williams said.
While the Browns didn't hit on the two-point attempts, they did succeed on two of three fourth-down attempts. That pleased quarterback Baker Mayfield.
“I loved going for it on fourth down, especially when we are getting it,” Mayfield said. “That definitely helps. I do not think I would answer that way if we did not get those.”
Reid said he wasn't surprised at the aggressive play calls from Williams and new offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens.
“We knew they were going to do everything they could to win the football game,” Reid said. “If it meant going for it on fourth down, they would go for it on fourth down, If it was doing a few razzle dazzle things, they were going to do it.”
Intentional Grounding Call Confuses
Reid seems to always take the high road regarding officiating, but he took issue with a bizarre ruling at the end of the first half that cost the Chiefs at perhaps more points.
“Listen, I take pride in know the rules, and this one must have been in the archives,” Reid said. “Whoever created it, I need to talk to him. I'm not sure I understand the logic behind it.”
Mahomes completed a pass for 23 yards to Chris Conley, setting the Chiefs up at the Browns 42-yard yard line. Officials flagged Browns defensive end Myles Garrett for offsides, but Reid declined the penalty in favor of the big gain.
Officials put the ball in play with 9 seconds remaining and center Austin Reiter quickly snapped the ball. Mahomes spiked the ball, leaving 8 seconds remaining in the half.
But line judge Mark Steinkerchner called Mahomes for intentional grounding. Referee Ron Torbert explained the Chiefs could not legally spike the ball because the clock had already topped for a penalty inside of 2 minutes remaining in the half.
“It would be Mark that knows, he's been around, he did our Super Bowl game a long time ago,” Reid said. “He's a pretty sharp guy, but he pulled that one out of left field on me.”
Mahomes said right tackle Mitchell Schwartz told him he couldn't spike the ball but thought he could get away with it.
“The refs said they hadn't seen that happen in 40 years,” Mahomes said.
Mayfield Returns After Big Hit
Mayfield briefly exited the game in the fourth quarter after the medical spotter noted a hit to the helmet and called for a concussion evaluation. He returned to the game after getting an all-clear from the unaffiliated neurological consultant on the sideline.
“I saw the play, and that is their call,” Williams said. “I saw the play, and if I felt there was something wrong, I would have been on top of it, but I did not see it. That is what their job is.”
The hit occurred when defensive end Chris Jones came through the line untouched and wrapped up Mayfield for a sack. Chiefs safety Ron Parker also reached Mayfield, and their helmets collided as the defenders pushed the quarterback backwards. The officials did not flag Parker for a hit to the helmet.
Mayfield said he though the spotter flagged the play because he adjusted his helmet following the play.
“When you get hit in the head, your helmet moves around so I am going to shift it so it fits correctly,” Mayfield said. “They are going to take the precaution. It's just interesting how it works. I had to come out of the game and take the exam. It takes a couple of plays.”
Williams said he needs to see a replay regarding whether officials should have flagged Parker for the hit.
“I don't know for sure on that one, to tell you the truth,” Williams said. “I did not see it that way completely, but we will see.”