Turnovers, run defense cost Chiefs in loss at Ravens

Odafe Oweh, Patrick Mahomes, Week 13
Tavon Young,Travis Kelce,Week 13
Byron Pringle, Week 13
Posted at 11:05 PM, Sep 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-20 00:37:49-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes had more than 3 minutes left and only needed a field goal to deliver a Kansas City Chiefs victory on Sunday Night Football from M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

He completed three straight passes for 43 yards to start the inevitable game-winning drive before Andy Reid opted to run the ball, hoping to burn up the clock inside the final two minutes.

It backfired.

Ravens rookie outside linebacker Jayson Oweh knifed into the backfield, poked the ball away from second-year running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire then recovered the fumble.

It was an inopportune time for Edwards-Helaire to cough up his first NFL turnover.

Four plays later, Lamar Jackson converted on a fourth-and-1 gamble near midfield and ran out the clock in a 36-35 victory, which snapped the Chiefs’ 11-game road win streak.

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh surely knew the odds of picking up a first down were tilted in his favor after watching quarterback Lamar Jackson and the offense gash Kansas City’s defense for 251 yards rushing on 41 carries — a robust 6.1-yard average per carry.

“It’s a team effort,” Reid said of the run defense’s struggles. “When you have opportunities to tackle, you’ve got to tackle, and I didn’t think we did a good job of that — particularly in the first half.”

The Chiefs and Ravens waged the most entertaining contest in the rivalry’s recent history, which now includes meetings in four consecutive seasons.

Mahomes and his Baltimore counterpart, Lamar Jackson, put on a show — trading entertaining blow after unbelievable highlight, especially during a second-half track meet.

Baltimore got the best of Mahomes for the first time.

Kansas City, which led 21-17 at halftime, received the opening kickoff in the third quarter and capitalized with a 40-yard touchdown from Mahomes to Byron Pringle.

Baltimore counter-punched with a 42-yard touchdown from Jackson to Marquise Brown on a busted coverage.

“Just miscommunication,” said safety Tyrann Mathieu, who had two interceptions and a touchdown. “I’ll take the blame for that.”

The Chiefs pumped their lead to 35-24 on arguably the greatest catch and run of Travis Kelce’s career.

Kelce, who became the fastest tight end to reach 8,000 career receiving yards earlier in the game, caught a short pass as Mahomes was flushed toward the right sideline then bounced and banged his way 46 yards to the end zone.

But the Ravens refused to wilt aided by the first interception Mahomes has ever thrown in the month of September.

The Chiefs’ defense forced a rare punt, but Mahomes and company couldn’t salt away the win.

Instead, Mahomes tried to conjure some magic with a heave to Kelce as he was being tackled.

“He’d probably like to have that one back,” Reid said.

Mahomes said he should have just thrown the ball to Demarcus Robinson, but made a late decision to throw it to Kelce and called it a “dumb” interception.

“That was probably one of the worst of my career,” Mahomes said.

Tavon Young picked off the pass and Jackson scored a 2-yard touchdown five plays later, but the two-point conversion failed after a penalty.

After forcing a Chiefs punt, the Ravens marched 68 yards on 15 plays, punctuated by Jackson’s cartwheeling untouched into the end zone for the first lead of the game.

Baltimore went for two points again, but again failed to convert.

That left Mahomes with 3:14 remaining, which was plenty of time before the turnover bug bit Kansas City when it mattered most.

“Man up, it is what it is,” Kelce said. “That’s not just to Clyde. That’s to everybody in the building; that’s to everybody in the locker room. We’ll never point a finger and say this is one person’s loss. That’s just not how we roll here in Kansas City.

Mathieu, who missed the opener as he returned from a COVID-19 infection, needed three plays to make his presence felt.

Lamar Jackson tried to dart a pass to former Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who slipped as the pass sailed right into Mathieu’s chest for a 34-yard interception return touchdown.

The Ravens answered with a 75-yard touchdown — barely.

Ty’Son Williams fumbled at the goal line only to have Devin Duvernay scoop up the loose ball for a 2-yard touchdown run.

But the game didn’t remain tied for long.

Patrick Mahomes evaded the rush, stepped and slid in the pocket, then lobbed a 33-yard touchdown to Demarcus Robinson on the deep post.

Mathieu added another first-quarter interception in the end zone, but Kansas City’s offense bogged down for a few drives, allowing Baltimore to tie the game on a 5-yard Latavius Murray touchdown late in the second quarter.

Mahomes led an efficient 67-yard drive capped by Darrel Williams’ 2-yard touchdown run, but the defense’s struggles continued as Baltimore marched into range for a 43-yard field goal in the closing seconds before halftime.

Kansas City returns home next week to host the Los Angeles Chargers (1-1). Kickoff is at noon.