WASHINGTON: Patrick Mahomes threw four touchdown passes to Travis Kelce and Kansas City rallied from a 17-point deficit Monday to edge the Las Vegas Raiders 30-29 in an NFL game. Mahomes completed 29 of 43 passes for 292 yards without an interception, while Kelce caught seven passes for 25 yards as the host Chiefs improved to 4-1 while the Raiders fell to 1-4. Mahomes delivered the greatest regular-season comeback of his career.
“They brought the fight to us early,” Mahomes said. “I’m just proud of these guys and how they responded. To come back like that and win a big game, I’m proud of these guys.” Mahomes challenged his blockers after Las Vegas jumped ahead 17-0. “The O-line stepped up to the challenge,” he said. “We talked about it. I went right up to them and said we’re going to win or lose this game on y’all. “They stepped up to it. They had a heck of a pass rush and (our blockers) gave me enough time to get some throws off and we were able to move the ball.”
Mahomes threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Kelce on the first drive of the third quarter to pull Kansas City within 20-17. On the next Chiefs possession, they marched 57 yards in eight plays, with Mahomes capping the drive on an 8-yard touchdown throw to Kelce to take their first lead at 24-20. “That man battles. He competes,” Mahomes said of Kelce. “He’s just someone who is obviously talented but he loves this game.”
Daniel Carlson kicked a 47-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to lift the Raiders within 24-23. But Mahomes directed a 13-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Kelce, although an incomplete pass on a 2-point conversion attempt left the lead at 30-23. That fourth touchdown catch set a record for any NFL Monday night game. “I just worked my tail off for these guys in red. It’s a lot of fun being out here,” Kelce said. “We started off a little slow but got fired up in the second half for sure. We’ve got a lot of heart in this Chiefs locker room and keep bringing it every single day.”
His last TD catch set the stage for Derek Carr’s 48-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams, but the Raiders opted for a 2-point run attempt and failed to remain behind Kansas City 30-29. The Chiefs stopped Las Vegas on downs in the final minute to seal the triumph. Carlson kicked a 50-yard field goal with 17 seconds remaining in the second quarter but Matthew Wright answered with a 59-yard field goal as the first half ended to lift the Chiefs within 20-10 at half-time. Kansas City first scored on an 11-play, 75-yard drive that ended when Mahomes flipped a 1-yard touchdown toss to Kelce. Carr threw a 58-yard touchdown pass to Adams, Josh Jacobs scored on a 1-yard run and Carlson hit a 53-yard field goal to put the Raiders ahead 17-0.
Coach Rhule sacked
In another development, Matt Rhule was fired as head coach of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers on Monday after a 1-4 start to the season and an 11-27 record over three seasons. The team announced the move a day after the Panthers were routed 37-15 at home by San Francisco. Rhule will be replaced on an interim basis by defensive pass game coordinator and secondary coach Steve Wilks, a member of the Panthers’ staff from 2012-17 who went 3-13 in 2018 as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. He returned to Carolina’s staff in February.
Rhule, 47, had revamped college teams at Temple and Baylor but was unable to work the same magic at the professional level. He was signed to a seven-year deal worth $62 million in 2020 but struggled to five-win campaigns in his first two seasons with the Panthers. Carolina went 1-27 in games where the club surrendered 17 or more points, including 25 consecutive losses, as the team struggled offensively during Rhule’s tenure, among the NFL’s worst and points and yardage per game. Rhule began with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback and switched to Sam Darnold last year, but he struggled with injuries. The team hoped to improve this season behind Baker Mayfield but has continued to misfire offensively. – AFP