This was a game pegged by many as a heavyweight bout between Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady and it was, all things considered between the two in respect to their NFL careers, but it was anything but that in the first quarter — Tyreek Hill gutting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers en route to helping the Kansas City Chiefs land a decisive 27-24 victory at Raymond James Stadium. Mahomes used Hill as a filet knife all afternoon, gutting the Buccaneers secondary at every turn and propelling Hill to a career-best 269 receiving yards with three touchdowns on the day.
Brady and the Buccaneers attempted to fight back in the second quarter with the Chiefs threatening to make it a 24-point lead ahead of halftime from the Buccaneers’ 8-yard line, when defensive end Shaq Barrett took down Mahomes for a sack fumble recovered by William Gholston. That gave Brady all the momentum he needed to mount an answer after struggling for much of the half — hitting running back Ronald Jones for a toss that became a 37-yard touchdown to shrink the Chiefs’ lead to only 10 points before Kansas City eeked out a field goal to stretch it to 13 points ahead of halftime.
Mahomes took those jabs and countered with more haymakers in the second half though, pushing the reigning Super Bowl champs to a 10-1 record and the Buccaneers further behind the New Orleans Saints — who gained distance atop the NFC South on Sunday. There’s plenty for Tampa Bay to take away from this game, including how to not let one receiver take over a game.
Why the Chiefs won
Start strong, finish the same way.
Those two things might not often look the same, as the Chiefs displayed on Sunday afternoon — blasting off to a monster first quarter in passing/receiving yardage before being forced to show they can hold a lead in the fourth quarter without their early game explosiveness. The latter was as impressive as the former, albeit not nearly as entertaining, but then again not much is comparable to the entertainment value of seeing a receiver haul in 205 receiving yards and two touchdowns in a quarter (unless you’re the team trying to defend him). Mahomes used Hill like a machine gun in the first and third quarters, but when the clip ran empty in the fourth and the defense began to wear down a bit, allowing Brady to make it a three-point game in the waning minutes, it was the reigning Super Bowl MVP who made sure there would be no come from behind win orchestrated by the future first ballot Hall of Famer.
Whereas Mahomes tortured the Buccaneers secondary all night with his arm, it was his legs that gave the Chiefs a key first down on the final drive of the game, forcing Tampa Bay to honor them on what would be the game-sealing scramble turned first-down toss on third-and-12 — sealing the victory and taking his series record against Brady