It's been three weeks and Patrick Mahomes is already running away with MVP. That's how impossibly good -- historically good, really -- Mahomes has been. With Mahomes at the helm, the Chiefs' offense is redefining what video-game good means. This is peak offensive football on steroids. Watching the Chiefs' offense is like watching football on hallucinogenic drugs. The Chiefs don't have a defense, but they still might be the best team in football because their offense is operating in its own universe while the rest of the league toils back on Earth.
On Sunday, the Chiefs hosted the 49ers in their first home game of the season. They KO'd the 49ers in the first half, leaping out to a 28-point lead and eventually settling for a comfortable 38-27 win that pushed their record to 3-0 while dropping the 49ers to 1-2.
After leading the Chiefs to road wins over the Chargers and Steelers by throwing 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions, Mahomes lit up the 49ers for 314 yards, three touchdowns, no picks, and an 115.5 passer rating. Through three games, Mahomes has now thrown for 13 touchdowns. That's an NFL record.
QB Patrick Mahomes sets NFL record with 13 TD passes in season's first three weeks. Breaks previous record of 12 which was set by Peyton Manning in 2013.— Chiefs Communications (@ChiefsPR) September 23, 2018
In the first half, the Chiefs got the ball five times. They scored touchdowns on all five drives, racking up 23 first downs in the process. They began the game with an 11-play, 57-yard drive, which they followed up with an eight-play, 84-yard drive, which preceded a five-play, 75-yard drive, which was followed by an eight-play, 72-yard drive before a nine-play, 68-yard drive just before the half.
By halftime, the Chiefs led 35-10, Kareem Hunt ran for two short-yardage touchdowns, and Mahomes scored a hat-trick.
All ⛽️, no brakes. pic.twitter.com/z0fuThyUPY— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) September 23, 2018
Watkins into the end zone 🙌 pic.twitter.com/L0BgSoazzS— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) September 23, 2018
They didn't punt until the opening series of the second half, when Demetrius Harris dropped what would've been a first down. The 49ers proceeded to make the game somewhat interesting by trimming the lead to 11 points, but the Chiefs were in autopilot throughout the second half. The 49ers never got to within a single score.
Obviously, Mahomes is getting plenty of support from those around him. Andy Reid's play-calling has been genius, creating wide-open touchdowns for Mahomes. There's a bevy of weapons for Mahomes to cycle through -- case in point, nine different players have caught a touchdown already, as Fox's Peter Schrager pointed out on the broadcast. Tyreek Hill might be the league's most explosive playmaker. Hunt is the perfect running back for this system. Spencer Ware and Anthony Sherman got involved in the passing game. Travis Kelce is still Travis Kelce.
This is a total team effort on the offensive side of the ball. It's not all Mahomes. It's part Mahomes, part scheme, and part supporting cast. But without Mahomes, this Chiefs offense wouldn't be exploding the way it is. He's in a great system, but he's not a system quarterback. What he's doing is MVP worthy.
After three weeks, Mahomes is the best quarterback in football.
Jimmy Garoppolo suffers knee injury
As the 49ers tried to mount a desperate comeback in the fourth quarter, Garoppolo exited the game with an injury. Garoppolo, scrambling near the sideline, tried to cut back inside of stepping out. As he did, his left knee appeared to buckle.
According to Kyle Shanahan,
He was carted off to the locker room as C.J. Beathard took over. A year ago, when Beathard started five games and appeared in seven total, he completed 54.9 percent of his passes, averaged 6.4 yards per attempt, threw four touchdowns and six picks, and posted a 69.2 passer rating. So, the 49ers' playoff aspirations will likely be over if Garoppolo misses the remainder of the season.
Garoppolo finished 20 of 30 for 251 yards, two touchdowns, no picks, and a 114.7 passer rating. He did most of his damage in the second half, after the 49ers fell into a huge hole.
Hopefully that isn't how his season will end. Now, we wait for the results of the MRI.
49ers offense takes a while to get going
There's no shame in losing to the Chiefs in Kansas City. But what's concerning about the 49ers is that Garoppolo and the offense didn't light up the Chiefs' bad defense the way the Chargers and Steelers did in Weeks 1 and 2 when the Chiefs allowed over 1,000 yards of offense. They finished with 27 points, but all but seven of those points came after the Chiefs built a 28-point advantage.
Give the 49ers credit for making the game competitive after a non-competitive first half, but the first half cost them dearly. As the Chiefs were going up and down the field against the 49ers' defense, the 49ers' offense couldn't sustain a drive. They ran eight plays for 36 yards on their first two drives. After they scored a touchdown on their third drive, they ran eight plays for eight yards on their next two drives.
The Chiefs won the game in the first half because they couldn't stop scoring and the 49ers couldn't keep up.
Penalties play a big role
Penalties doomed the 49ers. They racked up over 100 penalty yards in the first half alone. By the end of the game, they'd accumulated 14 penalties for 147 yards.
There was a pass interference penalty on a third down that led to the ball being placed on the 1-yard line, which resulted in a Chiefs touchdown. There was a (very questionable) offensive pass interference that took away a 49ers touchdown in the fourth quarter. There were countless other infractions.
The 49ers couldn't get out of their own dang way for the entire afternoon.
Kyle Shanahan is a great play-caller
We already heaped praise on Reid's play-calling. Now, let's give Kyle Shanahan his due.
He schemed up two wide-open touchdowns:
And then he pulled this out of his bag of tricks:
But there's only so much a play-caller can do.
Injury bug bites 49ers
Richard Sherman, however, didn't return after picking up a calf injury. It's worth noting that Sherman, , certainly looked healthy before the injury. He even kept up with Hill on a slightly underthrown deep ball.
So, the 49ers might've lost both their starting quarterback and cornerback on the same day. Keep in mind that they already lost starting running back Jerick McKinnon to
Dee Ford goes down
The Chiefs outside linebacker left the game with a groin injury. Before exiting, he brought down Garoppolo for a sack. The Chiefs are already thin on defense with Eric Berry recovering from a heel injury. In 2016, Ford racked up a career-best 10 sacks and he has two in three games this season.
It's an injury worth monitoring ahead of Week 4.
The 49ers will head to Los Angeles to face the Chargers next week. Meanwhile, the Chiefs travel to Denver for an AFC West showdown on next week's edition of "Monday Night Football." After that, the Chiefs will play the Jaguars and Patriots.
The schedule isn't letting up for the Chiefs.