Led by Patrick Mahomes’ calm confidence, Chiefs’ game-winning drive felt inevitable

APTOPIX Chiefs Chargers Football
Posted at 7:05 AM, Nov 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-21 08:05:47-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Only a touchdown would do Sunday night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, when Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes stepped into the huddle with 106 seconds left.

“We’ve done it with 13 seconds, so a minute felt like an eternity,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid joked, referring to last season’s AFC Divisional stunner.

Mahomes and Kansas City trailed by four points in a critical AFC West showdown with the Los Angeles Chargers, but few in the building and no one in the huddle doubted the events about to unfold.

“I thought it was cool today that, when I went in the huddle, everybody was just like, ‘Let’s just do it,’” Mahomes said. “There was no doubt that we were going to go down there and score. There was no doubt that we were going to make it happen.”

Of course, the Chiefs did just that en route to the 30-27 win.

Mahomes completed 3 of 4 passes for 48 yards — completions of 18 yards to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, 13 yards to Skyy Moore and the game-winning 17-yard touchdown to Travis Kelce — and also ran for 22 yards, including a 16-yard gallop up the gut on the offense’s penultimate play.

Kansas City, which has now won 25 consecutive games in November and December, made the six-play, 75-yard touchdown march seem easy.

“This is what we practice, day in and day out throughout the offseason,” Kelce said. “Coach Eric Bieniemy stresses a lot about situational football. Two minutes to win the game, down four — that’s a situation that we harp on a lot.”

Kansas City had moved back in front early in the fourth quarter. The AFC West heavyweights then traded fumbles before Los Angeles retook the lead with 1:46 left.

“They left too much time on the clock for Pat,” defensive end Chris Jones said. “A minute and 45, we go through that throughout the week of two-minute drills, so I think it was normal for them.”

That confidence permeated the offensive line, receivers, running backs and tight ends.

The outcome seemed as inevitable as another AFC West title now that the Chiefs own a commanding three-game lead in the standings, plus a season sweep against the second-place Chargers.

“Pat Mahomes, what are you going to say there? He calms everything down,” Reid said. “... He gives you that confidence. The more you’re around him, the more you watch him do what he does, you know you have a shot.”

Mahomes — who finished 20 of 34 for 329 yards, his fourth straight game with at least 300 yards passing, and three touchdowns — especially seems to relish such moments with Kelce, who caught all three touchdowns.

“It’s special, the chemistry those guys have," Jones said.

As much fun as it is for Chiefs fans, it’s just as thrilling for the players.

“It’s a whole lot of fun,” Kelce said. “The emotion to be able to persevere through that. It’s like a ticking time bomb. Once you get in the end zone, you just explode.”

Kansas City’s last loss in a November or December game came Nov. 10, 2019, at Tennessee — Mahomes’ first game back after missing two games with a dislocated kneecap.

Mahomes, who now owns 12 game-winning drives and 11 fourth-quarter comebacks in his regular-season career, is 31-4 all-time in games played in those months as a starting quarterback.