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Patrick Mahomes of Kansas City Chiefs sets mark with 22 touchdown passes in first 8 career games


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The career of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes through eight games has been like no other — at least when it comes to touchdown passes.

Mahomes threw four scoring passes in Sunday night’s 45-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium. That gives him 22 touchdown passes in the first eight games of his career, breaking the NFL record of 21 set by Kurt Warner.

“You think you’re going to have success, but I didn’t expect this much,” Mahomes said. “But at the same time, I knew the weapons we had, and I knew if I just ran [the offense] and did what Coach [Andy] Reid wanted me to do that there was a chance we could be really, really good.”



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Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs take first loss in Mahomes’ 7 starts


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Patrick Mahomes played his worst half of the season in the first 30 minutes on Sunday night against the New England Patriots by throwing two interceptions that put the Kansas City Chiefs far behind.

He didn’t get rattled. He instead turned the game into a classic duel in his first showdown with New England’s Tom Brady.

“When you have the guys I have on this team with the weapons that I have,” Mahomes said, “I have to keep slinging it.”

That’s what Mahomes did. He threw four second-half touchdown passes, three to Tyreek Hill, in leading the Chiefs back from their 15-point halftime deficit.

Brady beat Mahomes in the end. The Patriots kicked a walk-off field goal to win 43-40.

Finally, Mahomes came across an opponent he couldn’t outscore. Brady and the Patriots got it done, though Mahomes made them work for it.

“He made a lot of big (throws),” Brady said. “Tough to slow those guys down. They’re going to be pretty tough to stop. So glad we had our last shot and glad we took advantage of it.

Mahomes and the Chiefs are 5-1 this season.They are 6-1 when Mahomes is their starting quarterback, counting the final regular season game against the Denver Broncos last year. In that game, Mahomes led the Chiefs to a walkoff field goal and a 27-24 victory.

The game didn’t start off well for Mahomes. He put the Chiefs in bad spots in the first half for the first time with his two interceptions. One put the Patriots on the Kansas City 4 and they took advantage of the favorable field position for a touchdown.

The other, in the red zone near the end of the second quarter, cost the Chiefs at least three points.

I missed some throws,” Mahomes said. “That happens in this league. But whenever you’re playing good football teams you can’t miss those throws. We left some points out there.”

But he kept firing and was rewarded with the four touchdown passes, including one of 67 yards to Kareem Hunt and another of 75 yards to Hill.

“We just starting hitting on throws that I was missing earlier,” Hunt said. “I feel like we moved the ball well the entire night. We just have to find ways to score in the red zone. The last two weeks it just seems like we can’t punch it in there and I feel like in the second half we finally started getting it in the end zone.”

Brady and Mahomes wished each other well at midfield after Stephen Gostkowski‘s 28-yard field goal decided the game. The game might have only been the opening chapter of their rivalry.

“He gave me congrats on playing a good game and of course I did the same to him,” Mahomes said. “I just kind of told him good luck for the rest of this season. We’re going to go out there and hopefully we can keep playing and hopefully we might be able to see him again.”



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Patriots have had number of young QBs like Patrick Mahomes at home – New England Patriots Blog


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots have had many notable accomplishments in the 19 years of the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era, and Sunday night’s showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs brings one to the forefront.

The Patriots are 23-0 at home in the regular season against quarterbacks younger than 25 years old, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information. It started with a win over Tim Couch and the Cleveland Browns in 2001, while the most recent game to fall into this category was the 2018 opener against Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans.

Next up: Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who became the first player to throw for 10 touchdowns in a team’s first two games. He turned 23 on Sept. 17.

As one would expect from a Belichick-coached team, the Patriots aren’t relying on history to win them a game Sunday night.

“He’s looking like he’s been playing in the league for a few years,” linebacker Dont’a Hightower said. “You’re either a good pocket passer or a scramble quarterback, and obviously he does both well. One thing he does really well, that you don’t see a lot of young quarterbacks do, he tries to protect himself. A lot of runs, it’s him getting out of bounds or getting down a little sooner than expected. He’s a really good quarterback.”

At the same time, Mahomes has only six career starts, so Hightower acknowledged that part of the Patriots’ success Sunday night will be “maybe giving him some things he hasn’t seen before.”

That has helped against other under-25 quarterbacks who have come to Gillette Stadium over the past 19 years, a group including the Rams’ Jared Goff (2016), the Raiders’ Derek Carr (2014), the Colts’ Andrew Luck (2012) and the Falcons’ Matt Ryan (2009), among others.

On Sunday night, the quarterback matchup of Brady vs. Mahomes has an age gap of 18 years and 45 days between them. According to Elias, that is the largest age difference between opposing quarterbacks since 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck faced 21-year-old Jameis Winston in 2015 (the gap was 18 years, 103 days).

In practice, the Patriots had 24-year-old practice squad quarterback Danny Etling heave the ball as far as he could down the field — with safeties playing deep — to simulate Mahomes’ uncommon arm strength.

In studying the Chiefs, veteran safety Devin McCourty said Mahomes’ poise has stood out to him, as well as his control over the offense.

“He never really rushes to try to make a play or do the wrong thing,” he said.

While Mahomes hopes to become the first under-25 quarterback to win at Gillette Stadium against Belichick/Brady in the regular season, Joe Flacco (2009 wild-card round) and Mark Sanchez (2010 divisional round) did it in the playoffs.

And the youngest quarterback to win in the regular season at Gillette Stadium since 2001 was Colin Kaepernick (25 years, 43 days). He led the 49ers to a 41-34 win in 2012.



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Chiefs coached the recklessness out of Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs Blog


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One of the third-quarter throws that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes made recently against the Denver Broncos broke a lot of the NFL’s unwritten rules for a successful pass.

The right-handed Mahomes was drifting to his left. He threw the ball late to the middle of the field. The pass was made across his body.

But Mahomes still made it work. Tight end Travis Kelce was open and the Chiefs got a 29-yard gain on the play and, eventually, a field goal on the drive.

This was a case, and there have been others this season with Mahomes, when the Chiefs have benefited from letting their quarterback use his uncommonly strong arm.

“They never encourage that,” Mahomes said of coach Andy Reid and the other offensive assistants. “As long as you complete it and you get the first down, they’re fine with it. At the same time, you have to know when not to do that.

“You never want to throw across your body as a quarterback, especially in this league … but it kind of [happened] naturally.”

Mahomes has yet to get himself or the 5-0 Chiefs into trouble with any of his daring passes. The Chiefs have tamed Mahomes, who arrived with a reputation for making some reckless passes, without taking away the qualities that attracted coach Andy Reid to him in the first place.

That’s a big reason why Mahomes, in his first season as a starter, has 14 touchdown passes with only two interceptions heading into Sunday night’s game against the Patriots in New England.

“Most guys are told not to do that,” said fullback Anthony Sherman, who was referring to the Kelce pass but could have been talking about other unconventional Mahomes passes. “He goes out there and executes it and it’s like, ‘OK, I guess you can do that.’ … Coach Reid gives him the ability that if he thinks he can get it there, throw it and get it there. He knows he’s going to have to get the ball into some tight windows, but he trusts his arm enough.

“I think at this point we should trust him and know he won’t put us in a bad situation. He’ll just find a way to get the ball to an open receiver.”

Mahomes didn’t throw a ton of interceptions in college at Texas Tech: 29 in 857 pass attempts, or on about 3.4 percent of his throws.

But he was prone to try to make a play down the field when one wasn’t necessarily available rather than always operate within the offensive system and be content with a shorter gain.

The Chiefs set about changing that part of Mahomes’ game from the time he arrived last year as a first-round draft pick. The first thing they did was have him observe last year’s starting quarterback Alex Smith, who protects the ball as well as any quarterback.

Smith has thrown an interception on 2.1 percent of his passes in his 13-year NFL career and on 1.4 percent of his throws in his five seasons with the Chiefs.

“What he learned from Alex was having respect for the football,” former Chiefs assistant coach Brad Childress said. “I’ve been around quarterbacks who have no regard for the football. If it became between you and the football, you can have the football. So Pat gets that part, how turnovers can kill you.”

The Chiefs hired assistant coach Mike Kafka to work with Mahomes last year. Kafka, who once played for Reid with the Philadelphia Eagles, was promoted to quarterbacks coach this year.

“Mike Kafka has lived with this kid now for two years,” Reid said. “Mike played in the offense, so he knows the rules and regulations you kind of have to go by but also the freedom you get to be yourself, to put your own mark on it. Then, the kid is wired that way. He wants to do well and be the best. So you can coach him and he will take his coaching and he’ll work with you on it. It’s a tribute to him. He’s a special kid that way.”

Reid routinely uses a trust test with his quarterbacks, asking them after certain plays during practice or games what he saw from the defensive coverage. Reid said Mahomes almost always breaks down the coverage exactly the way it unfolded.

“Not every quarterback can spit that out to you,” Reid said. “The thing about Pat is he’s blessed with this great vision. He sees everything out there.”

Because he’s so confident Mahomes is aware of everything the defense is doing from the start of a play to the finish, Reid is comfortable in not placing many restrictions on him in terms of the types of throws he can make. As Reid put it, “You let him put his personality on it.”

Childress said Mahomes last season in practice made several no-look passes, gazing out into the flat while throwing a slant toward the middle of the field.

“I coached [Brett] Favre for two years and he’s the only other guy I’ve seen that was confident enough to be able to do that, to look one way and throw the other,” Childress said. “He would do that in practice and Andy of course would keep a straight face. He didn’t encourage it at all, but you’ve got to let him be himself.

“He’s got supreme confidence in his ability. You don’t want somebody who doesn’t. You wouldn’t want somebody who doubts himself or questions himself.”

Mahomes had some interception-filled practice sessions early in training camp. Reid described a lot of the interceptions as the result of Mahomes testing the limits of what he can get away with on certain plays and against certain coverages.

Mahomes’ two interceptions this season, both last week against the Jaguars, weren’t reckless throws. One appeared to sail on him and went over Tyreek Hill‘s reach. On the other, Demarcus Robinson went up the field rather than coming back to the ball.

Regardless, Mahomes will keep chucking, and the Chiefs will keep reaping the benefits.

“It’s all situational,” Mahomes said. “Sometimes you can extend plays and give your receivers chances to make plays, and sometimes you need to stay in the pocket and just take what’s there.

“I’m not fast. I know my strength is not running the ball. I know I have a lot of playmakers whose strength is catching the ball and making people miss. I know if I keep my eyes downfield I can get it to them.”



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Patrick Mahomes sparks Chiefs comeback in win over Broncos


DENVER — The one thing missing from Patrick Mahomes‘ résumé entering Monday night’s game was a comeback victory.

He checked that box against the Denver Broncos. Mahomes guided the Chiefs to two fourth-quarter touchdowns, bringing Kansas City back from what had been a 10-point deficit.

Mahomes threw a 2-yard scoring pass to Travis Kelce midway through the final period, and Kareem Hunt then ran for a 4-yard TD with 1 minute, 39 seconds left to give the Chiefs a 27-23 victory.

Mahomes was 13-of-16 for 151 yards in the fourth quarter.

Mahomes led the Chiefs on a game-winning field goal drive in his only start last season, also against the Broncos in Denver. But that wasn’t a do-or-die situation. The game had been tied at the time.

The Broncos had harassed Mahomes and the Chiefs into their worst half of the season in the first 30 minutes. Mahomes, under almost constant pressure, was just 7-of-15 for 65 yards.

The 4-0 Chiefs have a two-game lead in the AFC West race over the Broncos and the Chargers.

The Chiefs extended their winning streak to six games against the Broncos. They have won 18 of their past 19 games against divisional opponents.



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The Patrick Mahomes show started last season in Denver – Kansas City Chiefs Blog


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In a sense, everything got started for Patrick Mahomes last season in the subfreezing twilight against the Denver Broncos.

With the AFC West and their playoff seed clinched, the Kansas City Chiefs had the luxury of sitting starting quarterback Alex Smith and playing Mahomes in Week 17. With the score tied at 24 and 2:45 remaining on the clock, Mahomes got his first chance to shine.

Mahomes, completing four passes for 52 yards and converting twice on third down, led the Chiefs to a walk-off field goal and a 27-24 win.

The Chiefs were leaning toward trading Smith and installing Mahomes by this season even before they got to Denver that day. But the way Mahomes took care of business, both during the game and the practice week leading up to it, confirmed it.

“I like the way he went about business,” Reid said. “We were able to take him and lead him into that game throughout the whole week. … What that did was it allowed you to get a feel for him for down the road, whenever that time was, and I liked what I saw and felt there. I think he handled things very well. Prepared to the ‘T’ on that, handled himself very well.

“I came out of that going ‘You know what? This kid is ready to go. He’s ready to go ahead and lead.'”

The Chiefs pulled a rare double that week, working on two games at once. Smith studied playoff game plans with then-offensive coordinator Matt Nagy and assistant coach Brad Childress, while Mahomes prepared for the Broncos with coach Andy Reid and assistant Mike Kafka.

That’s right, Reid spent his time with Mahomes on a game that was meaningless to the Chiefs in the standings, but not to their future. It was important for Reid to get his first-round pick off to a good start in the first start of his career.

The Chiefs couldn’t have hoped for a better situation, a chance for their prized rookie to prove himself in crunch time. And in that moment, Mahomes’ demeanor gave them confidence things would turn out all right.

“He just had this calmness about him and that seems to be natural for him,” tackle Mitchell Schwartz said. “He didn’t get intimidated by the moment, and that’s something you want to see on the road in Denver.

“In practice, when he’s on the scout team, he can run around and chuck it and not really have to worry about things. The game is really when you get to know how someone can handle pressure situations. It was good to see. It was a fun game, and it turned out well.”

Now in Week 4 of 2018, Mahomes and the Chiefs return to Denver for the first time since that start, this time on Monday Night Football. He’s no longer a rookie trying out his talents for the first time. Mahomes has been the sensation of the early season, throwing for 13 touchdowns without an interception, and the Chiefs are one of the NFL’s three remaining unbeaten teams.

But nothing was certain last season heading into Denver. Reid and Kafka tailored the game plan to Mahomes’ strengths. They operated from the shotgun, as Mahomes had done almost exclusively in college, on about half of their plays.

“I was able to … talk to him and see what he liked and felt most comfortable with,” Reid said. “For that game, we molded that game plan around him. Mike Kafka spent a lot of time with him when everybody else was kind of working on the playoff game. We were able to get in there and kind of mold it with what we had in the package at that time, mold it around him.”

They made little effort to provide him with extra protection, using more than five blockers on seven of his 35 pass attempts.

Mahomes didn’t get off to a great start. He threw incompletions on three of his first four passes, but the Chiefs took the lead anyway on their first drive on Kareem Hunt‘s 35-yard touchdown run. Mahomes threw his only interception on the next possession, firing too high for De’Anthony Thomas. Mahomes later acknowledged the overthrow was a result of being too excited.

He settled down after that and finished 22-of-35 for 284 yards.

“He helped call [plays] to my strengths, and we had success and came out of there with the win,” Mahomes said.

He showed his talent for making difficult passes a couple of times. First he thew off his back foot because of pressure and connected with Albert Wilson between two defenders for 19 years. Later, while retreating because of pressure, he hit Demarcus Robinson for 12 yards between three Broncos.

“I was really impressed with the way he moved out of the pocket,” center Mitch Morse said. “I didn’t know he had those legs on him. He was able to throw the ball in those contorted, weird ways, [and that] was amazing. He’s a playmaker. That was apparent. It was pretty special to watch him go out there and put drives together.”

If those throws were Mahomes’ signature plays of the game, the ending was the most important sequence. Mahomes, after being removed from the game in the fourth quarter with the Chiefs ahead 24-10, re-entered for the final drive.

“His ability after something didn’t go right — he threw an interception early — he bounced right back and led us to a field goal,” said Kafka, who replaced Nagy as quarterbacks coach this year. “Then he also came back in the two-minute drill and then won the game. Throughout the entire game, he kept his poise. He was very demonstrative about what he wanted to do. He made a ton of checks at the line. He operated and performed and played to win the game.

“It goes to his competitive nature. Honestly, when he came back in we all knew we were going to go back down and win, either score a touchdown or kick the game-winning field goal.”

Mahomes won over Reid and the assistants that day. Maybe more important was that he won over the locker room. He was about to replace a popular veteran in Smith.

A positive first impression went a long way.

“That kind of solidified his status and his ability to lead a team in the future,” Schwartz said. “Things were smooth the whole week in practice and you appreciate that. That tells you he was doing stuff Monday and Tuesday to prepare for the game.

“It just felt natural. It didn’t feel weird without Alex in there. It just felt like there was a really good quarterback with you in the huddle, and things were going to turn out well.”



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Chiefs having ‘a blast’ with ‘Showtime Mahomes’ at QB – Kansas City Chiefs Blog


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Inside the Kansas City Chiefs‘ locker room, they’ve been looking for a nickname for their record-breaking young quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. Tight end Travis Kelce may have settled the issue in the moments after the Chiefs’ 38-27 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

“Showtime Mahomes.”

The nickname may or may not stick, but it seems appropriate for the way Mahomes and the Chiefs are scoring points. They rolled to a 35-10 halftime lead by scoring a touchdown on each of their five first-half possessions.

Mahomes threw three touchdown passes, giving him 13 this season for the 3-0 Chiefs. He set the NFL record for touchdown throws in the first three games of a season. Peyton Manning previously held the record with 12 in 2013 while playing with the Denver Broncos.

The Chiefs enjoyed some high-scoring games under former quarterback Alex Smith but not with the consistency they’ve shown the past three weeks. They’re loving every minute of their new life.

“He keeps surprising everybody every single week, even his teammates, and it gets us going, playing with confidence, and that stuff is contagious, and we just keep it rolling from there,” Kelce said.

“Man, it’s a blast, I’m not gonna lie. Every single time we come off to the sidelines, everybody’s excited about what just happened on the field. We’ve all never been a part of something like this. … It’s a fun ride right now.”

Just about every eligible Chiefs receiver is getting in on the party. Nine players have at least one touchdown catch through three games and, according to Elias, only the 1997 New England Patriots have been that equitable this early in the season. The Chiefs had seven different players catch a touchdown all of last season.

Chris Conley, Demetrius Harris and Sammy Watkins had the receiving touchdowns against the 49ers.

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Patrick Mahomes notes that the team plans on scoring a touchdown or a field goal every time they step on the field.

“These guys I have at the receiver position can really get open,” Mahomes said. “It’s hard for teams to have to play every single one of them. I know if I get through my reads there will be someone open. The offensive line is blocking so well I can kind of sit in the pocket, get through my whole entire read and find the open guy.”

Mahomes rarely has to squeeze the ball into a tight window. He frequently has receivers plenty open. On some plays, he has more than one open receiver to choose from.

As a result, the Chiefs scored a touchdown on each of their first five trips inside the San Francisco 20. That made them 11-for-11 in the red zone this season. They finally settled for a field goal on their final trip inside the 20, one on which they advanced no deeper than the Niners’ 19-yard line.

The Chiefs scored a touchdown on 42 percent of their red zone trips last season, which was the fourth-lowest percentage in the league. Many of the touchdowns they’re scoring this season were field goal tries in 2017.

“He’s seeing it down there,” coach Andy Reid said of Mahomes. “Those are small windows in there and he’s able to see it and throw it.”

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Patrick Mahomes creates space with his legs behind the line before firing a touchdown to Chris Conley.

The Chiefs afterward were buzzing about one Mahomes touchdown pass in particular, a 4-yard throw to Conley in the second quarter. It was a busted play, with Mahomes initially being flushed to his left before being chased back the other way.

While sprinting to his right with defenders in pursuit, Mahomes still threw a dart to Conley in the back right corner of the end zone.

“You can’t teach that,” Reid said.

The Chiefs have seen that kind of play from Mahomes before. Conley called it “The magic of Pat.”

“He’s not necessarily looking to run,” Conley said. “He can throw those fastballs.”



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A tale of two hot starts: Patrick Mahomes and Ryan Fitzpatrick – NFL Nation


They have combined for 18 touchdown passes through the season’s first two weeks. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick have had record-breaking and surprising starts to the season and are a combined 4-0.

Here’s a look at what they’ve done and what’s next:

Where’d this come from?

Mahomes: He played in just one game last season when he was a rookie, but he made the most of it. He started the final regular-season game in Denver. His stats weren’t eye-popping (22-of-35, 284 yards, no TDs, one interception), but the Chiefs played that day without Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. Kansas City removed Mahomes from the game in the second half but put him back in the lineup for the final drive in what was then a tie game. He led the Chiefs to a walk-off field goal and the win.

Fitzpatrick: He won two of his three starts for the Bucs last season, but the numbers look dramatically different. With Jameis Winston out due to injury, Fitzpatrick was much more of a game manager last season, going for shorter, higher-percentage throws. Fitzpatrick, playing for his seventh team, averaged 11.49 yards per completion in 2017 compared to 17.06 yards per completion this season.

How they’re doing it

Mahomes: What has been so impressive is that the Chiefs had much different plans in each of their games. In the opener against the Chargers, Mahomes used a combination of deep throws and quick pop passes off jet-sweep action. Last week against the Steelers, the Chiefs frequently went empty in the backfield and Mahomes made quick decisions and quick throws.

Fitzpatrick: Fitzpatrick is averaging 19.17 yards per pass attempt on first down (83.3 percent completion), whereas last season the Bucs’ offense averaged just 8.23 yards per pass attempt on first down. Protection has been a huge factor. He has been pressured on just 17.4 percent of his dropbacks this year — second best in the league. Last season, Bucs quarterbacks were pressured on 28.4 percent of dropbacks — 18th in the league. Fitzpatrick is also manipulating defenses with his eyes and taking advantage of one-on-one, single-high-safety looks.

Fashion watch

Pausing from the gaudy stats, Fitzpatrick wins the fashion battle through two games.

Mahomes demurred in his sartorial choices.

How these starts compare

Mahomes: In a sense he is in uncharted waters here. A fast start like his is usually the domain of a veteran quarterback, not a player in his first season as a starter. It’s interesting to note that when Peyton Manning set the single-season record for touchdown passes with 55 in 2013, he had at least one scoring throw in each of the 16 games. He had at least two in 15 games. It’s hard to see Mahomes, or any other quarterback, keeping that pace.

Fitzpatrick: He is the first quarterback since Joe Namath in 1972 to throw four touchdown passes of 50-plus yards through the first two games of the season. He is the third player since the 1970 NFL/AFL merger to record consecutive games with 400 yards passing and four touchdowns, joining Dan Marino (1984) and Billy Volek (2004). He is the first player since the merger to do so in the first two games of the season.

What’s next?

Mahomes: It looks like Mahomes will need to continue to pile up a lot of TD passes and other big stats because Kansas City’s defense has not been good. The Chiefs have allowed more than 500 yards — and more than 400 passing yards — per game. Astoundingly, they’re still 2-0. Mahomes has some interesting matchups upcoming, including in Week 5 against the Jaguars and Week 6 against the Patriots. Let’s see what Bill Belichick will have waiting for Mahomes.

Fitzpatrick: Before Winston is eligible to return from a three-game suspension, Fitzpatrick is guaranteed to start one more week, against the Pittsburgh Steelers at home on Monday Night Football. Neither head coach Dirk Koetter nor general manager Jason Licht have committed to who will start in Week 4, but a shortened week, combined with Winston being away from the team for nearly a month, could make that decision easier.



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Patrick Mahomes sets 3-game NFL touchdown record with 10th score


PITTSBURGH — The Kansas City Chiefs expected a lot from Patrick Mahomes after installing him as their starting quarterback this season. But they didn’t quite expect all that he’s delivered thus far, including Sunday’s 42-37 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I don’t think that you could expect more from anyone,” said wide receiver Chris Conley, who caught one of Mahomes’ team-record-tying six touchdown passes on Sunday. “Pat’s come here and handled himself extremely well. The level of confidence and poise that this kid has … I haven’t seen it anywhere. He’s continued to go in, learn and get better every day and then come out on the field and execute.

“You can’t ask him to do anything else. He’s handled the times where he’s made the plays really well. He’s handled the times where he hasn’t. That speaks volumes.”

Mahomes was close to flawless on Sunday, when he threw more touchdown passes than incompletions (five). He was 23-of-28 for 326 yards and a passer rating of 154.8, or less than four points from the highest possible number.

Mahomes, who threw four touchdown passes last week in Kansas City’s season-opening win over the Los Angeles Chargers, set an NFL mark for scoring throws in the first three games of a career. He started the final regular-season game as a rookie last season but didn’t throw for a touchdown. The old record was eight, shared by Marcus Mariota and Mark Rypien.

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Patrick Mahomes talks up all the options the Chiefs have on offense.

He’s also only the second quarterback to throw at least four TD passes in each of the first two games of a season. Drew Bledsoe of the New England Patriots in 1997 is the other.

“You never expect to have 10 touchdowns at this point in the season,” Mahomes said. “But I knew what this offense with the weapons we had and the scheme coach [Andy] Reid is drawing up that we had a chance to be really, really good. The possibilities are endless.

“We’re not done. This is just a start. It’s just the beginning of the season.”

Mahomes moved the ball around well. Tight end Travis Kelce and wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill each had at least five catches. Kelce and Watkins each had at least 100 receiving yards, while Hill finished with 90.

Five players had at least one touchdown catch, with Kelce leading the way with two.

“I see Pat doing this all season long,” Kelce said. “He’s got the confidence, and as long as we give him time and get open as wideouts, tight ends and running backs, he’s going to get the best of everyone.”



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NFL preseason Week 2 takeaways: Mahomes’ arm; McCarron’s collarbone – NFL Nation


It’s Week 2 of the NFL’s preseason as we inch ever closer to the games that count. But there’s plenty to glean: How did the rookies look? Who’s making a push to be a starter? Who’s carving out a spot on the final 53? Here’s the biggest takeaway for each team.

Jump to a matchup: PHI-NE | PIT-GB | NYJ-WAS | KC-ATL | NYG-DET | BUF-CLE | MIA-CAR | ARI-NO


Late in the first half, Patrick Mahomes showed why the Chiefs are so excited about his potential. He uncorked a throw not many NFL quarterbacks could make with an over-the-top pass to Tyreek Hill that traveled about 70 yards in the air. The 69-yard TD was Mahomes’ first of the preseason. But Mahomes also showed some growing pains. He threw an interception into double coverage on the previous possession. — Adam Teicher

Matt Ryan has more than enough weapons to help the Falcons overcome last year’s shaky offensive output if his line holds up. In Friday’s second preseason game vs. the Chiefs, Ryan found maturing TE Austin Hooper for a 4-yard TD and hooked up with electrifying rookie Calvin Ridley on a 36-yard deep ball, all with Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman sitting out. Ridley also caught a TD pass from backup Matt Schaub. Once Ryan has his full arsenal, it could be a 30-point explosion any given game day. — Vaughn McClure


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AJ McCarron suffers a fractured right collarbone on a sack and later exits the game.

The Bills’ three-way competition at quarterback could quickly become a two-man race after AJ McCarron suffered a hairline fracture to his right collarbone on Friday. McCarron started and failed to gain a first down in four offensive possessions, taking one first-quarter sack behind a problematic offensive line. Coach Sean McDermott could have a looming decision to make between Josh Allen (18-of-32 for 176 yards and two touchdowns this preseason) and Nathan Peterman (17-of-20 for 231 yards, two touchdowns and one interception). — Mike Rodak

The Browns’ early success in the running game, gaining 73 yards in the first quarter, overshadowed what was an unspectacular night from quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield. Taylor played four possessions, completing 4 of 7 passes for 22 yards, while Mayfield played from late in the second quarter until early in the fourth quarter, completing 7 of 13 passes for 75 yards. — Mike Rodak


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Christian McCaffrey breaks loose and runs along the right sideline for a 71-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Dolphins coaches will be upset for the second straight week. The biggest concern? A defense that gave up 226 rushing yards, including a 71-yard Christian McCaffrey TD run against the starters. It’s worth wondering if they need to add talent at linebacker and along the defensive line. On offense, Miami continues to look undisciplined with penalties halting drives and forcing field goals instead of touchdowns. — Cameron Wolfe

The first-team offense still has some work to do, particularly in pass protection after giving up two sacks against Miami. But Cam Newton, with a 58.5 career completion percentage, is showing he can be more efficient in Norv Turner’s offense, and Christian McCaffrey is showing he can run between the tackles (see 71-yard touchdown run). Newton completed 75 percent of his attempts (9-of-12 for 89 yards and a touchdown) in five series on Friday night, and has completed 71.4 percent in two preseason games. That’s a win. Now if he can be efficient without making mistakes, as he did with his one pick. — David Newton


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Wayne Gallman fills in for Saquon Barkley nicely by catching a touchdown pass from Davis Webb, then scoring another on the ground.

It was an evening of redemption for Davis Webb. After a shaky outing last week, he bounced back in a big way. Webb completed 14 of 20 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown and played the entire first half. He showed a strong command of the offense and an ability to fit throws into tight windows. He had a QB rating of 106.3 after a 49.4 last week. This was much needed. Webb didn’t play last year and likely won’t play much in preseason game No. 3 next week, when Eli Manning will get his opportunity to get ready for the season. Manning didn’t play against the Lions. Webb gave the Giants hope that they have a trustworthy backup this year and potential for more in the future. — Jordan Raanan

More of the same issues that plagued the Lions last season. Detroit, for the second straight game, got no real pass rush despite the Giants sitting top playmakers Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. The offensive line (minus right guard T.J. Lang) was also 2017-level bad. Matthew Stafford was sacked twice in three series and almost every starting lineman appeared to struggle with the Giants’ front. Yes, it is only preseason, but considering the Lions knew these were problem areas and they still look like problems should be concerning. The third preseason game against Tampa Bay will be very telling. — Michael Rothstein


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Josh Rosen fires a touchdown pass to Christian Kirk, then the two rookies connect again on a nice sliding catch by Kirk.

It won’t ignite a bona fide starting quarterback competition, but Josh Rosen looked much more polished than he did in the preseason opener. Rosen entered the game early in the second quarter with the No. 1 offensive line still in the game, and the better protection enabled the rookie to engineer a seven-play, 87-yard drive that ended in his first NFL touchdown pass. Along the way, Rosen got help from a roughing-the-passer call and also benefited from a 40-yard pass-interference penalty. In the red zone, flags for a false start and delay of game didn’t faze Rosen, who on third-and-goal from the Saints’ 13 zipped a pass to fellow rookie Christian Kirk for the score. Then Rosen, this time with the No. 2 offensive line, went on to lead a drive for a field goal, and he might have run a successful two-minute drill if not for a missed 46-yard field goal try as time ran out in the first half. In his only quarter of action, Rosen completed 10 of 16 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown, along with a nifty 102.9 rating. It was a big improvement over his performance last week, when the No. 2 line struggled to protect him and had issues snapping him the ball. — Jose Romero

Veteran Tom Savage surged ahead of second-year pro Taysom Hill in the Saints’ backup QB battle — but mostly by default after Hill had an extremely rough night. Hill threw two interceptions and fumbled three times (losing two of them) while playing the entire first half. The dual-threat QB did show off his legs with a 43-yard scramble — and the Saints likely will keep him on the roster because of his potential and his special-teams ability. But it’s hard to imagine the Saints can trust Hill enough to be Drew Brees‘ backup just yet. Meanwhile, Savage also fumbled (and recovered) on his opening drive in the second half. And he has been more solid than spectacular this summer. But he had the much better night, completing 6 of 7 passes for 53 yards with no TDs and no interceptions. Undrafted rookie QB J.T. Barrett scored the Saints’ only TD of the night on a 12-yard run with 20 seconds left. But he’s campaigning more for a developmental role than the primary backup job this year. — Mike Triplett


Thursday’s games

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Tom Brady’s first drive of the preseason ends with a touchdown to Chris Hogan. His last pass of the day is a TD to James White.

The health of quarterback Nick Foles is the No. 1 issue for the Eagles coming off their preseason game against the Patriots. He left in the second quarter with what the team described as a shoulder strain. He grabbed his throwing arm after defensive end Adrian Clayborn hit him midthrow from his blindside. With Carson Wentz‘s status still up in the air for Week 1, the Eagles need Foles to be available. — Tim McMananus

Tom Brady, at 41, looks like he picked up where he left off. Playing six drives in the first half, he led an opening touchdown drive and finished 19-of-26 for 172 yards, with two TDs and no interceptions. Meanwhile, perhaps more promising for the Patriots was the way they won one-on-one matchups in the pass rush, specifically with Adrian Clayborn (free-agent signing) and Derek Rivers (2017 third-round pick) picking up sacks. Rookie linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley (fifth round, Purdue) continues to make a charge for more playing time. — Mike Reiss

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Ja’Whaun Bentley picks up Nick Foles’ fumble and returns it for a touchdown. Foles strains his shoulder on the play and does not return.


James Conner and James Washington look like the playmakers the Steelers need. Conner, who entered his second training camp in much better shape, showed off his conditioning with runs of 24 and 26 yards on back-to-back carries through the teeth of the Packers’ defense and into the end zone. He has solidified his role as Le’Veon Bell‘s backup. Washington has a knack for the contested catches, winning twice over the top of Packers defenders for scores and finishing with 114 yards. He’ll get game passes from Ben Roethlisberger soon enough. — Jeremy Fowler

On a night when a couple of veterans made big plays — Tramon Williams‘ pick-six and Jimmy Graham‘s touchdown catch — just as encouraging was the emergence of a couple of young playmakers. Outside linebacker Reggie Gilbert, who spent most of his first two NFL seasons on the Packers’ practice squad, recorded 2.5 sacks — an indication that his late-season promotion to the roster was the start of something big. Rookie second-round pick Josh Jackson flashed his athleticism on a 22-yard interception return for a touchdown. For a defense in need of playmakers, Thursday’s win was a move in that direction. — Rob Demovsky


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Jason Witten breaks down Sam Darnold’s nice start, until his first NFL interception puts a damper on his night.

Their quarterback situation is as unsettled as ever. Did someone say controversy? It was a mixed bag from Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater, setting up a fascinating decision for coach Todd Bowles at the end of the preseason. Frankly, Bridgewater looks like the best QB on the roster, but you can bet Darnold will get another chance to win the starting job. The rookie threw a red zone interception in an otherwise solid performance, but his inexperience jumped out on a few plays. Could the Jets trade Bridgewater? Anything is possible. — Rich Cimini

The Redskins have focused hard on the defensive line the past two years and it should pay off this season. Rookie nose tackle Daron Payne, who has drawn rave reviews in training camp, showed his power in taking on double-teams and an ability to win a one-on-one matchup for a sack. Second-year lineman Jonathan Allen also made his presence felt with inside rushes. If these two stay healthy, they will make a big difference with the Redskins’ defense. — John Keim

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Daron Payne breaks through the Jets offensive line and brings down Sam Darnold to halt New York’s opening drive.



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