The Kansas City Chiefs put together a dominant victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday night behind impressive showings in all three phases.
Here are some quick notes from the game.
1. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was absolutely brilliant.
Mahomes completed 23-of-37 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday night, marking his 30th career outing with three or more touchdown passes. That's the most such games for any player since 2018, and considering that Mahomes has only started 67 career games, that total means that Mahomes has thrown for 3+ scores in 45 percent of his outings.
His 162 passing scores are the most for any player through their first 67 career games in NFL history, outpacing Dan Marino, who recorded 160 touchdown passes in that span. Additionally, Mahomes is now the fastest player in league history to 20,000 passing yards, breaking the mark previously held by Matthew Stafford (71 games).
2. Tight end Travis Kelce had a tremendous night.
Kelce led all pass-catchers with nine grabs for 92 yards and a touchdown in the game, hauling in four of those receptions on third down to move the chains. Specifically, his 22-yard reception on third down early in the fourth quarter helped set up a 32-yard field goal that essentially put the game out of reach. Kelce's four first-down grabs on third down matched the most by any player in a single game this year.
He also notched a major milestone on Sunday night, moving into fifth-place all-time in terms of receiving yards by a tight end (9,328). Only Tony Gonzalez (15,127), Jason Witten (13,046), Antonio Gates (11,841) and Shannon Sharpe (10,060) tallied more career receiving yards among tight ends in NFL history.
Furthermore, the aforementioned 22-yard reception marked the 130th 20-yard grab of Kelce's career, matching Tony Gonzalez for the most in franchise history.
3. Tight ends Noah Gray and Jody Fortson each found the end zone.
It was a big night for the tight ends on Sunday, as all three scored at least once. Kelce was on the receiving end of Mahomes' first touchdown pass – a 16-yard scoring strike – that followed a fumble recovery on the game's opening kickoff.
Gray then plunged ahead for a 1-yard score late in the second quarter, motioning under center before taking the snap and diving forward into the end zone. The play was reminiscent of the short-yardage gains that fellow tight end Blake Bell picked up last year from under center. The score marked Gray's second-career touchdown. He was the ninth player to score a touchdown for the Chiefs this year, matching Philadelphia for the highest tally in the NFL.
Fortson, meanwhile, caught a 10-yard strike from Mahomes late in the third quarter. Fortson now has seven career catches, four of which have been touchdowns.
4. Tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire had a strong night.
Edwards-Helaire rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, averaging 4.8 yards-per-attempt. That performance included a 20-yard burst on third down early in the game.
The three-year veteran also caught a two-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter that encapsulated the Chiefs' tendency to make the improbable seem routine. The play featured Mahomes rolling to his right and evading an incoming defender before completely spinning around to avoid another would-be tackler and flipping a quick toss to Edwards-Helaire for the score.
In a word, it was ridiculous.
Sunday was the first game of Edwards-Helaire's career in which he scored a rushing and a receiving touchdown. He now has a team-leading 325 yards from scrimmage through four games this season.
5. The running game was working early and often for the Chiefs on Sunday.
Edwards-Helaire's efforts contributed to a running game that gashed Tampa Bay's heralded defensive front. In fact, the Chiefs' 189 rushing yards were their most since Week 4 of last season, which was ironically almost exactly a year ago to the day. It was also the most rushing yards Tampa Bay had allowed since 2018.
In addition to Edwards-Helaire, rookie tailback Isiah Pacheco (63 yards on 11 carries) and Mahomes (34 yards on four carries) also picked up yardage on the ground.
6. Altogether, Kansas City scored 41 points on the league's No. 1 scoring defense.
Tampa Bay entered Sunday's game as the top scoring defense in the NFL, as they had only yielded 27 total points through their first three games of the season. Remarkably, the Chiefs surpassed that total (28 points) in less than two quarters on Sunday.
The Chiefs' 41 points marked the most Tampa Bay had surrendered since 2018 and the most they had given up at home since 2016.
7. Cornerback L'Jarius Sneed came up with a huge takeaway prior to halftime.
Perhaps one of the biggest moments of the game occurred late in the second quarter, when the Buccaneers stopped Kansas City on a short fourth-down attempt and seemed to wrestle back momentum. A touchdown on that possession would have brought the Buccaneers within four points, but Sneed quickly thwarted that possibility with a strip-sack on Tampa Bay's first snap of the series. Defensive lineman Chris Jones recovered the fumble, and only seconds after losing possession of the ball, the Chiefs actually ended up with better field position offensively.
It was Sneed's third sack of the season already, surpassing his previous career-best of two in 2020.
8. The Chiefs forced Tampa Bay to be historically one-dimensional offensively.
The Chiefs' fast start offensively – coupled with a strong early performance against the run – forced the Buccaneers to throw the ball on virtually every snap. In fact, Tampa Bay's six rushing attempts were the fewest faced by the Chiefs in franchise history. Additionally, the Buccaneers' three rushing yards matched the franchise record for the fewest rushing yards surrendered in a single game.
Tampa Bay was unable to establish any sort of balance offensively, and while the final box score numbers indicate a big performance, much of those totals were amassed while the Buccaneers were trailing by double-digits.
9. New kicker Matthew Wright was nails in his Chiefs' debut.
Wright, who joined the Chiefs this past week, was excellent in his debut. The 26-year-old kicker connected on all seven of his kicks in the game, converting both field goal attempts (kicks of 44 yards and 32 yards) and all five of his extra-point tries. Considering that the Chiefs won by 10, Wright's perfect evening – which added up to 11 points – was a major component in Kansas City's victory.
10. The Chiefs continued their dominance over the NFC.
No AFC team has been better against the NFC over the last decade, and that continued on Sunday night. The Chiefs are now 28-11 vs. the NFC since 2013, which is easily the best mark for any AFC squad against the NFC in that span. Additionally, since 2018, the Chiefs' 16 wins over the NFC are more than two NFC franchises (Detroit and Carolina) possess in that same time.
Patrick Mahomes is now 15-2 in his career vs. NFC opponents, tossing 45 touchdowns in those games.
The Chiefs will now turn their sights to a divisional bout with the Las Vegas Raiders at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Monday Night Football next week.