Chiefs offense picks apart Tampa’s top-ranked defense in 41-31 victory
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes threw for 249 yards and three touchdowns, including an electrifying jump pass to Clyde Edwards-Helaire, to lead the Kansas City Chiefs to a 41-31 victory over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday night.
Playing in a packed stadium only four days after Hurricane Ian ravaged portions of Florida, Mahomes had TD throws of 16 yards to Travis Kelce, 1 yard to Edwards-Helaire and 10 yards to Jody Fortson while making NFL history by reaching 20,000 yards passing faster than anyone else.
Edwards-Helaire and tight end Noah Gray rushed for TDs for the Chiefs (3-1), who won the first meeting between Mahomes and Brady since Tampa Bay’s 31-9 rout of Kansas City in the Super Bowl — also played at Raymond James Stadium — two seasons ago.
The short pass to Edwards-Helaire was Mahomes at his improvisational best: He escaped two defenders, did a 360-degree spin move and flipped the ball over a crowd to the running back in the back of the end zone.
Brady completed 39 of 52 passes for 385 yards and three TDs without an interception for Tampa Bay (2-2). The Bucs, however, played from behind the whole night after rookie Rachaad White fumbled the opening kickoff and Mahomes threw his TD pass to Kelce two plays later.
Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed sacked Brady, forcing a fumble that Mahomes turned into Gray’s TD, with the tight end taking a direct snap from center on the 1-yard plunge that put Kansas City up 28-10.
Brady threw TD passes of 13 yards and 1 yard to Mike Evans, who returned from serving a one-game suspension for his role in a on-field brawl at New Orleans two weeks ago. He had eight receptions for 103 yards.
Evans’ second TD trimmed Kansas City’s lead to 28-17 at halftime. That was as close as the Bucs got until Leonard Fournette’s 5-yard TD reception cut Tampa Bay’s deficit to 41-31 with 3:30 remaining.
Brady wouldn’t get the ball back until less than a minute was left.
Kansas City finished with 417 yards of total offense, including a 189-3 edge on the ground, against a defense that had allowed a league-low 27 points through three games.
The Bucs sacked Mahomes three times and intercepted him once, but it was not the “coming out party” linebacker Shaquil Barrett had predicted his team having against an offensive line the Chiefs have overhauled since struggling against Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl loss.
With Hurricane Ian approaching the Florida’s Gulf Coast, the Bucs evacuated for four days to the Miami area, where they practiced Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Dolphins’ training facility while the NFL made contingency plans to move the game to Minneapolis if it couldn’t be played in Tampa.
The Glazer family that owns the Bucs has announced it is donating $1 million for hurricane relief. The NFL Foundation is matching that donation, and the Bucs on Sunday night began a “Florida Strong” campaign to raise funds, as well as honor emergency personnel and first responders.
Players and fans observed a “moment of support” prior the national anthem, and the Bucs also paid tribute to those affected by the hurricane in a video presentation displayed on giant scoreboard screens before the game.
Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker (ankle) was inactive for the third straight game. ... Bucs WRs Chris Godwin (hamstring) and Julio Jones (knee ), as well as LT Donovan Smith (elbow), played for the first time since Tampa Bay’s season-opening victory at Dallas. ... Bucs CB Logan Ryan left with a foot injury in the first quarter. ... TE Cameron Brate (concussion) and CB Carlton Davis (stinger) left in the second half.
Chiefs: Return home to face the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday, Oct. 10.
Buccaneers: Host the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday.
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