The Kansas City Chiefs shook off a slow start to defeat the Washington Football Team, 31-13, behind a dominant second half on both sides of the football on Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field.
Trailing by three points midway through the third quarter, the Chiefs – who turned the ball over three times in the first half – held Washington shy of the sticks on a short third down attempt deep in Kansas City territory. It seemed like an inconsequential play at the time, but after the ensuing field goal attempt sailed wide left, seemingly everything changed.
Rather than fall behind by six points or possibly even more had Washington found the end zone on that series, the Chiefs went on to score 21 unanswered points while holding the opposition scoreless the rest of the way in what turned out to be a dominant victory.
"[We] just had to dig deep at the end of the day. Obviously, the first half didn't go the way we wanted it to," said quarterback Patrick Mahomes. "The defense did a great job of keeping us in the game, and in the second half, we just executed better [offensively]. The guys relied on each other and believed in each other, and we found a way to get a win."
Mahomes completed 32-of-47 passes for 397 yards and two touchdowns in the game, finding wide receiver Tyreek Hill for a 2-yard score on the Chiefs' immediate possession following the missed field goal. The defense then forced Washington to punt three quick plays later, and upon getting the ball back, Kansas City marched right back down the field before tailback Darrel Williams punched in a 3-yard score.
It was part of a strong game for Williams, who tallied 89 total yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in his first career start as a professional. He touched the ball seven times between the Chiefs' two touchdown drives that kicked off the second half, establishing an attitude and an intensity with his style of play that characterized Kansas City's performance.
The Chiefs forced another punt on Washington's next series, setting up what turned out to be the game-sealing drive for Kansas City. Mahomes led a 15-play, 96-yard series that chewed up more than seven minutes and ended with a 24-yard strike to wide receiver Demarcus Robinson that put the game away.
Mahomes found eight receivers for completions in the contest, including four players who each had more than 50 yards through the air. It all helped the Chiefs rack up 499 yards of total offense and convert 11-of-17 third down attempts. In fact, Kansas City moved the chains on eight straight third down chances at one point in the second half.
That success extended to the defense, too, as Kansas City yielded a grand total of 76 yards in the second half while the offense was building its lead. It was complementary football at its finest, and it helped the Chiefs bounce back from some early struggles to put together a dominant performance.
"For the defense to hold firm while we were struggling [offensively] is what it takes in this league. It takes everybody," Mahomes said. "It's not the offense or the defense, it's everybody coming together at the right time to be great. That's what we want to be."
In terms of injuries, Head Coach Andy Reid mentioned tight end Jody Fortson (torn Achilles tendon), linebacker Anthony Hitchens (elbow) and fullback Michael Burton (pectoral) following the game. It's an unfortunate break for Fortson – who was one of the stories of training camp – but Mahomes mentioned that Fortson was in good spirits following the game.
The Chiefs will now look to keep it rolling as they head to Tennessee next Sunday to take on the Titans.