KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The riddle of Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense appeared solved by the Baltimore Ravens defense Sunday, but more last-minute magic from the record-setting young passer lifted Kansas City to an improbable 27-24 overtime win at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs trailed Baltimore by a touchdown when Mahomes completed a 48-yard pass to Tyreek Hill on a fourth-and-9 play with less than 2 minutes remaining. Mahomes finished the comeback with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Damien Williams on another fourth down, then led the drive for a game-winning field goal in overtime for head coach Andy Reid's squad.
“He had the one interception, but other than I thought this was his best game, just for a lot of reasons,” Reid said. “This defense was a huge, huge challenge. These son of a guns were really good and had a really good package and they unloaded it at him, and he kept bringing it. I'm proud of him for doing that.”
The Ravens trailed 17-10 at the half, but rallied from behind thanks to rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson. He led the team with 71 yards rushing on 13 carries, but his 13-of-24 passing for 147 yards and two scores proved timely.
“I thought he did a great job, very poised, made plays in the passing game and running game,” Harbaugh said. “He is just such a competitor, very impressive.”
Jackson connected with tight end Maxx Williams on a 10-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to even the game at 17-17. A 9-yard pass to receiver John Brown with 4 minutes, 4 seconds remaining in the game put the Ravens on top 24-17.
A stout defense helped Baltimore build the lead. The Ravens held the Chiefs offense in check much of the day, collecting three sacks and delivering 15 hits on Mahomes throughout the afternoon.
“I am proud of our guys,” Harbaugh said. “I thought our guys brought it and played super hard. It is a very physical game. Both teams are going to be sore. What can you say? That is how they play.”
Mahomes finished 35-of-53 for 377 yards and two touchdowns along with an interception. That included delivering 14-of-20 passing for 153 yards in fourth quarter and the overtime period. He now has 4,300 passing yards on the season, making him the second-youngest quarterback in league history behind Dan Marino with at least 4,000 passing yards and 40 touchdown passes in the same season.
But none of his 53 throws Sunday loomed larger than the bomb to Hill with the game on the line. Mahomes escaped the pocket under pressure to his right, throwing across his body to Hill deep down the middle.
“Yeah, you want to get him down before he can get if off,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said. “I thought he made a great play.”
Hill, who left the game twice with injuries, including a heel injury that left him limping between snaps late in the contest, said he looked for an open space when he saw Mahomes escape the pocket.
“He kind of went this way, then turned around, and he had seen me screeching down the middle,” Hill said. “He just lobbed it up for me and I was able to make a play.”
Both teams had a chance to claim victory at the end of regulation. The Ravens had the first shot, but Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston picked up a strip-sack and the fumble recovery against Jackson, setting the Chiefs in business at the Baltimore 23-yard line.
Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker, however, missed his second field goal of the day, pushing a 43-yard kick wide right as time expired. Butker got a second chance in overtime, connecting on a 35-yard field goal putting the Chiefs up 27-24.
On the Ravens' overtime possession, Houston combined with Dee Ford on a second of Jackson, which knocked the quarterback out of he game. Jackson said he felt good after the game.
“They got my arm and my ankle, but I'm good,” Jackson said.
Third-string quarterback Robert Griffin III entered the game for the final two plays. A heave to Willie Snead on fourth-and-22 fell harmless to the ground, giving the Chiefs their 11th win in 13 tries this season.
The Ravens fell to 7-6 with the loss, dropping them into a four-way tie for the final wild card spot in the AFC along with Miami, Indianapolis and Tennessee.
“I just cannot say enough about our players and coaches along those lines,” Harbaugh said “We're disappointed by the fact that we did not win the game, but that does not change any of the other stuff.”
The Chiefs became the first AFC team to clinch a playoff spot with the victory, and can clinch the AFC West with a victory Thursday night against at home against the Los Angeles Chargers. They also own a two-game lead for the top-seed in the AFC thanks to losses by New England and Houston Sunday.
“We have to be on our A-game,” Reid said about Thursday night's showdown with the Chargers. “This is a good football team coming in here. When you are in the month of December, you are still in contention and every week becomes important.”