Patrick Mahomes’ first NFL start featured heroics.
The rookie gun-slinger from Texas Tech used every bit of the 2:53 left of the game to set up an 11-play, game-winning drive, capped off by a 30-yard field goal by Harrison Butker, giving the Chiefs a 27-24 victory over the Denver Broncos. Mahomes became the first quarterback drafted by Kansas City to win a game for KC since Todd Blackledge in 1987.
Kansas City’s first drive was a quick march, lasting just five plays and resulting in a 35-yard TD run by rookie tailback Kareem Hunt. With that run, Hunt locked up the NFL rushing crown for 2017.
Denver answered with back-to-back scoring drives. Kicker Brandon McManus drilled a 36-yard field goal, following an interception by Mahomes. The Broncos grabbed the upperhand after a 29-yard pass by quarterback Paxton Lynch to tailback De’Angelo Henderson with 4:56 to play in the half. The Chiefs responded with a one-yard TD plunge by fullback Anthony Sherman, giving KC a 14-10 halftime advantage.
Kansas City briefly took control of the contest in the third frame. The Chiefs scored 10 points in 54 seconds. The stirke started with a 20-yard field goal by Butker, followed by a Ramik Wilson fumble return for a touchdown.
Denver bounced back with a pair of touchdowns in four minutes in the fourth. KC backup quarterback Tyler Bray mishandled a handoff, leading to a scoop and score by Zaire Anderson. Following a punt, Lynch marched down the field and hook up with Demaryius Thomas on a six-yard pass to knot up the score at 24-all.
Lynch was far from perfect, though, throwing two interceptions to go with the fumble. Lynch was 21-of-31 for 254 yards and two touchdowns for the Broncos, who ended the season with a 5-11 posting.
Meanwhile, Mahomes didn’t record a touchdown in his first start, but he did have 284 yards and a pick on 22 completions. Wide out Albert Wilson was Mahomes’ favorite target, making 10 grabs for 147 yards.
Kansas City (10-6) opens the NFL playoffs with a home matchup against the Tennessee Titans next weekend. Kickoff from Arrowhead is on Saturday at 3:35 pm.