The Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) fought all the way until the end but they ultimately came up short against the Seattle Seahawks (9-6) at CenturyLink Stadium on Sunday night—falling by a score of 38-31.
Patrick Mahomes gave us some of his second-half magic—throwing for nearly 200 yards and a couple of touchdowns in the final 30 minutes, but the Seahawks simply made more plays as the Chiefs couldn’t overcome two turnovers, several key penalties and a few third-and-long conversions that led to touchdowns for the Seahawks.
Here are 10 observations from Sunday night:
1. The Chiefs’ goals are still within reach
Despite the loss, the Chiefs can still win their third-straight AFC West title as well as capturing the AFC’s No. 1 overall seed by winning next Sunday afternoon against the Oakland Raiders.
They don’t need any other outside help. They just need to win, and then the AFC’s road to the Super Bowl will still go through Arrowhead Stadium.
The kickoff for that game on Sunday has been moved to 3:25 pm CT.
2. Patrick Mahomes gave us some “Show Time” late in the game
Trailing by a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, Patrick Mahomes threw a perfect ball deep down the left sideline on third-and-3 in the direction of Tyreek Hill, who caught it over his shoulder in stride to put the Chiefs within striking distance inside the red zone.
Hill, who got up limping after the play, returned soon thereafter but the drive ultimately stalled and the Chiefs had to settle for a 33-yard field goal, which brought the game to 24-20 with a little more than 10 minutes left in regulation.
Then, later inside the red zone, Mahomes once again went scrambling around in the backfield and somehow found Demarcus Robinson along the side of the end zone for a huge touchdown to bring the game to within one possession.
Mahomes finished the game 27 of 40 for 273 yards and three touchdowns.
3. Charcandrick West got his first touchdown of the season
Midway through the third quarter, Mahomes fired a ridiculous 25-yard touchdown pass to running back Charcandrick West, who was streaking across the middle of the field.
West, who re-joined the team just a couple of weeks ago, showed some nice hands to make the catch across the middle of the field on the run.
But for Mahomes, these are the kinds of plays and throws that are becoming normal. He was running to his left and throwing back to the middle of the field across his body. The throw was a perfect strike that West caught in stride and then he raced to the end zone.
West became the 12th different player to catch a touchdown this season from Mahomes, and he finished Sunday’s game with two receptions for 37 yards.
4. The Seahawks took an early lead
On their first offensive possession, the Seahawks went 78 yards on 11 plays and took a little more than five minutes off the clock before running back Chris Carson ran it in for a four-yard touchdown.
The big play of the drive was a 19-yard scramble up the middle from Wilson on third-and-13.
It wasn’t the last time the Seahawks would convert on a key third-and-long that would lead to a touchdown. It happened later in the game on a third-and-15 as well.
The Seahawks had four plays of 10-plus yards on that opening scoring drive, which resulted with them taking an early 7-0 lead.
*5. Damien Williams’ spark gets the Chiefs on the board *
After the Seahawks took a quick 7-0 lead, the Chiefs’ offense responded with a scoring drive of their own behind the energy of running back Damien Williams, who had all 39 yards for the Chiefs’ offense on the drive.
The drive culminated with a 54-yard field goal from Harrison Butker.
On the first play of the drive, Williams took the handoff off the left side and then broke a couple of tackles before bouncing it to the outside and down the sideline for a gain of 25 yards.
He was the spark that got the Chiefs going in this game, and he finished with a career-high 140 total yards from scrimmage.
6. The Chiefs took advantage of a Seahawks’ mistake early in the game
After Seahawks’ kicker Sebastian Janikowski missed a 36-yard field goal as it bounced off the right upright, which was a “win” for the defense, the Chiefs’ offense then took advantage of the mistake.
Facing a third-and-14, Mahomes maneuvered around the pocket to avoid pressure, then threw a dart off his wrong foot across the middle to Chris Conley for a first down.
That play seemed to settle things down a bit.
And then just like he did on the first couple of drives, Williams showed some fight and provided some energy with the way he was running the football after that conversion. He had runs of 6, 8, and 21 yards before he caught a two-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes on first-and-goal to finish off the drive.
The drive, which began with a missed field goal by the Seahawks, gave the Chiefs a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter. It would be their only lead of the game.
7. Williams’ fumble leads to a Seahawks’ touchdown—one of two Chiefs’ first-half turnovers
Midway through the second quarter, Williams took the handoff and quickly tried to spin out of a tackle in the backfield of the Seahawks’ Dion Jordan, who was able to knock the ball out for a fumble that was recovered by the Seahawks deep in Chiefs’ territory.
A few plays later, Wilson hit tight end Nick Vannett for a 1-yard touchdown.
But it wasn’t without questions as Andy Reid had challenged the third-down play in which defensive pass interference was called on Ward after the pass fell incomplete, but the ball was tipped by Justin Houston.
The refs decided that the pass interference came before the pass was tipped, which led to the play standing.
It wasn’t the only turnover by the Chiefs in the first half either as Chris Conley lost one on a late drive that was close to getting the Chiefs to within field goal range.
8. Marcus Kemp made a fantastic play to cover a punt late in the first half
Late in the first half with the Chiefs trailing 14-10, Kemp made a phenomenal play to pin the Seahawks back deep in their own territory.
With just over two minutes left in the half, Dustin Colquitt bombed a punt down the field that went over the head of Seahawks’ returner Tyler Lockett, who didn’t make an attempt to fair-catch it.
The ball bounced and went towards the end zone before kicking up into the air as Kemp, who was racing on a full sprint, leapt into the air and got one hand on the ball and flung it back away from the end zone before hitting the ground, which would have resulted in a touchback.
It gave the Seahawks a full field to try and go down to get points late in the first half. They got close to field goal range but were forced to punt, which means Kemp saved points with his play.
9. There were a few records set on Sunday night
Before the game began, Travis Kelce needed just 38 yards to set the Chiefs’ franchise record for yards receiving in a season by a tight end, which was set by Tony Gonzalez (1,258) back in 2004, and Kelce set the record with a first-half catch.
Kelce finished the game with five catches for 54 yards.
And Mahomes needed just 49 yards passing to set the Chiefs’ franchise record for yards passing in a season, which was set by Trent Green (4,591) also back in 2004.
Mahomes also accomplished that in the first half—ultimately finishing with 273 yards passing. He’s now just 184 yards and a couple of touchdowns shy of hitting 5,000 and 50 for the season.
If he can hit those numbers on Sunday against the Raiders, Mahomes would become just the second player in NFL history to ever do that—joining Peyton Manning, who did it in 2013.
Photos from the Chiefs Week 16 matchup against the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field
10. Two big plays by Seahawks’ receivers led to a game-sealing touchdown run
Both Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin made phenomenal catches deep down the field late in the game for the Seahawks and each helped lead to a game-sealing touchdown run from running back Chris Carson with just over two minutes left in the game.
The 1-yard touchdown run gave the Seahawks a 38-28 lead.
Lockett’s grab went for 45 yards deep down the right sideline on a perfect throw from quarterback Russell Wilson, while Baldwin’s juggling one-handed catch went for 29 yards deep down the left side to the Chiefs’ 1-yard line.
Baldwin finished with seven catches for 126 yards and a touchdown, while Lockett finished with four catches for 99 yards.