So, the Chiefs will improve to 3-1 and reclaim first place in the AFC West. The Bucs will fall to 2-2 but remain ahead of the Falcons in the NFC South due to the tiebreaker. KC plays the Raiders next Monday night, while the Bucs play those same Falcons on Sunday afternoon.
Chiefs vs. Buccaneers score, takeaways: Patrick Mahomes outduels Tom Brady as Kansas City rolls over Tampa Bay
Brady couldn't quite keep up with his younger counterpart
The Week 4 battle of two legendary quarterbacks did not disappoint on "Sunday Night Football," but one signal-caller left a lot happier than the other. Whereas Tom Brady produced gaudy numbers airing it out for the Buccaneers at home, Patrick Mahomes enjoyed a much easier evening for the Chiefs, riding Andy Reid's creativity and a couple of acrobatic red-zone hijinks to a 41-31 rout of Tampa Bay. The rematch of Super Bowl LV certainly showcased offensive firepower, with the two teams combining for over 700 yards, but all of the Bucs' points came from behind as the home team chased Reid's Chiefs.
Here are some instant takeaways from Kansas City's big prime-time victory:
Why the Chiefs won
Reid's offense was (almost literally) unstoppable. We've seen lots of explosive games from Mahomes and Co. over the years, but the road favorites had their way all night. No. 15 spread the ball around, hitting Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Travis Kelce early for splash plays, and once again Reid's red-zone creativity was impeccable. Whether Mahomes was scrambling and making last-second shovel passes into the back of the end zone or tight end Noah Gray was lining up under center, they could not be denied in scoring range.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Isiah Pacheco stayed busy finding space on the ground, too, combining for over 130 rushing yards. The Chiefs defense was relatively porous aside from a L'Jarius Sneed strip-sack, and Mahomes gifted the Bucs a late pick by lobbing one into double coverage. But it didn't much matter at that point, with 41 points already on the board and an opening-kickoff forced fumble setting the tone in Kansas City's favor from the start.
Why the Buccaneers lost
Todd Bowles' defense had no answers for the best play-making QB in football, surrendering the most points of any Bowles-led unit in the coach's career. Despite three sacks and a late pick by Sean Murphy-Bunting, their typically physical squad simply could not contain the Chiefs for any sustained amount of time, especially on third downs and in the red zone. They also totally lacked a ground game, with Rachaad White and Leonard Fournette non-factors, but that didn't really matter in an instant, all-night shootout.
No, the real killer, aside from their inability to stop K.C., was turnovers -- an opening-kickoff fumble from White, and a fumble from Brady on a rough strip-sack. Brady was otherwise in MVP form, willing the Bucs back within reach multiple times and threading the needle on some clutch throws to Mike Evans. In the end, their efforts were too little, too late and a little too sloppy, with five penalties also hindering their results.
You could easily point to the kickoff that started the game, which gifted the Chiefs an instant bonus possession just outside the red zone. But Sneed's zoom in off the edge to upend Brady, force a fumble and leave TB12 slow to get up certainly felt like the unofficial cap on the game. Already down 21-10 with halftime approaching, the Bucs' fumble there set up a Chiefs TD drive to extend Kansas City's lead to 18. Brady would go on to find Evans for his own score before the break, but the damage was already done.
Play of the game
Mahomes has been a magician ever since his historic breakout as a first-time full-timer, but even by his standards, his second-quarter TD pass (pitch? hurl? toss?) to Clyde Edwards-Helaire was absurd. The athleticism, concentration and sheer guts required not only to try but easily succeed at something like this is why Mahomes remains the NFL's model playmaker at the position:
The Chiefs (3-1) will return to Arrowhead Stadium for a Week 5 "Monday Night Football" matchup with the rival Raiders (1-3), who just got their first win of the year by edging the Broncos. The Buccaneers (2-2), meanwhile, will stay in Tampa to play host to the Falcons (2-2), who beat the Browns in a close one on Sunday.
CEH picks up the first again, and stays inbounds... but there's a hold so KC will have to try it again.
The Buccaneers have called 48 passes and six runs tonight.— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) October 3, 2022
3 yards on 6 run plays
321 yards on 48 pass plays
CEH picks up the first down and that will just about do it. The Bucs still have two timeouts but best-case scenario they get the ball back with about 1:10-1:15 left on the clock and no timeouts left, needing two scores just to tie the game.
Mike Evans' big night continues. He's up to 7-91-2. And then Brady finds Godwin and Fournette in succession to make it a two-score game yet again. Could get interesting! (Maybe.)
...and instead Mahomes throws a pretty inexplicable pick and the Bucs are close to scoring range to start their next drive. What in the world was what?
Chiefs should probably keep it on the ground the rest of the way here. With the Bucs punting down by 17 late in the fourth, they've basically admitted defeat. It's probably not even worth it having Mahomes on the field right now, honestly.
Godwin makes up for it with a big catch on third-and-long... but it's gonna come back because the only reason Brady was able to step up through the pocket was due to a hold by Luke Goedeke.
Godwin doesn't look happy with the OPI call here. We haven't seen a replay yet but it did get the underneath receiver wide open.
Looks like a straight drop from MVS. Hit him in the hands. But Mahomes and Kelce had an animated discussion after the play as well.
Sheesh. Mahomes hits Kelce on the back shoulder up the seam, right behind Devin White's head. That's outrageous.
Noah Gray thought he was going to have to help Orlando Brown on the inside but Mike Edwards came on the blitz, and Mahomes didn't see him in time to escape the sack.
Headed to the fourth quarter with Kansas City up 38-24.
That's the first TD of Rachaad White's career. Nice comeback in this game after the fumble on the opening kickoff. He also has four catches for 39 yards.
Oh no. Now Chris Godwin is back on the ground again. He also got hurt in his first game back, back in Week 1. Ugh.
Somebody named Cole Kieft just caught that pass. If you knew who he was before that snap, good for you.
Really like the design on that pass to White. He started lined up outside, motioned back toward the backfield, but immediately went back out for a swing pass. Nice job to get him into space.
Looked like Mike Evans might have landed out of bounds on that back-shoulder throw, but it's not going to matter either way because there was pass interference on Jaylen Watson anyway.
Cameron Brate has now been ruled out with a concussion, despite having come back into the game earlier.
This time it's Jody Fortson into the end zone. Usually the Chiefs use Kelce on the back side of a 3x1 formation, but this time it's Fortson. He's a huge dude, and he just boxed out Carlton Davis for the score.
Mahomes was able to break contain from the pocket, but somebody blew a coverage because Skyy Moore was absolutely wide open. Nobody within five yards of him.
Oh that's a nice design. Faked the RPO swing pass and then hit MVS over the top. Antoine Winfield and Carlton Davis caught peeking into the backfield.
JuJu looks huge now that he's wearing No. 9. Don't fact check that, it's science.
What's the record for most consecutive pass plays? Asking for a friend. I'm assuming Mike Tirico will let us know if the Bucs are getting close to it.
Fournette completely whiffed on a block on the corner blitz. Rashad Fenton should've had a sack but Brady spun out of it and just launched the ball downfield.
Filling in for Harrison Butker (and Matt Ammendola, who was cut earlier this week), Matthew Wright knocks in a 43-yard field goal to push the lead to 31-17.
Quick screen to JuJu on third-and-10 and it picks up a first down. Nice job getting out front by Joe Thuney and Creed Humphrey.
Skyy Moore getting in on the action here in the second half. The Chiefs have been looking to get him more involved, but he muffed two punts last week so it didn't happen. Maybe he will have more of a role these next few weeks.
Reminder: the Chiefs will get the ball first here despite scoring 46 seconds into this game. Rachaad White fumbled the opening kickoff.