Even for the often unpredictable Patrick Mahomes, this was a surprising look.
On Sunday, the quarterback, who has a highlight reel full of left-handed throws, contortionist arm angles, and no-look passes, took a three-point stance in the single-wing formation to serve as a decoy for running back Jerick McKinnon’s touchdown pass.
“That was sweet,” said Mahomes, who guessed he hadn’t lined up with his hand on the turf since doing the 40-yard dash before being picked seven years ago. “That was a fantastic play. In the red zone, that’s a difficult squad to score on. “Among the best.”
Mahomes threw two touchdown passes and passed for 305 yards to help the Chiefs snap a two-game losing streak, stunning Chiefs superfan Taylor Swift and all the Swifties in New England with a 27-17 triumph.
With the pop diva in a premium suite watching current boyfriend Travis Kelce — and a slew of her followers at the stadium just to see her — the Kansas City tight end caught five catches for 28 yards, but also had a possible TD ball snagged.
Rashee Rice caught nine catches for 91 yards and one score, while McKinnon ran for another. Clyde Edwards-Helaire had a season-best 101 yards from scrimmage and vaulted in the back of the end zone to haul in a high Mahomes TD pass as the Chiefs (9-5) took a two-game lead over the Broncos, who lost to Detroit on Saturday.
“When you’re as close as the AFC is right now, wins are difficult to come by.” And they’re significant,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said, noting that New England has lost seven games by a single point. “This Patriots squad is incredibly tight. They’re doing a good job on defense. They taste salty.”
For the Patriots, Bailey Zappe completed 23 of 31 passes for 180 yards in his third consecutive start in place of benched first-round draft pick Mac Jones. New England (3-11) lost for the sixth time in seven games and fell just one game behind Carolina in the race for the No. 1 overall draft pick.
The Patriots were flexed out of “Monday Night Football” due to their inefficiency — an NFL first — and appeared to have third billing on the day, trailing Swift and her beau’s team, which has won two of the previous four NFL titles and has all of the star power New England once claimed.
The six-time Super Bowl champions took a 10-7 lead before conceding 20 straight points in what could be coach Bill Belichick’s final home game.
“Thinking about that is insane. “But I think that guy has some football left in him,” Kelce added. I have nothing but admiration for that man. Every time I face him, it’s the most difficult job in the NFL to go up against a Belichick defense.”
Fans flocked in with signs praising Swift, while others waited around the ramps and walkways for her to pass by on her way to the luxury boxes. Kelce passed a Swift poster celebrating top musicians who have performed at Gillette Stadium.
Swift, who is taking a break from her Eras Tour, was seen on the scoreboard wearing a Chiefs knit cap and hoodie early in the second quarter. The supporters screamed as she stuck out her tongue, waved, and kissed them.
Swift’s presence helped the Chiefs improve to 5-2. The Patriots’ greatest offering was Belichick’s pal Jon Bon Jovi, who rang the lighthouse bell before the game and was met with tepid applause when his image appeared on the scoreboard during the game.
On Kansas City’s first drive, Harrison Butker missed a 39-yard field goal, ending a streak of 61 straight made kicks, one short of his own franchise record. Chad Ryland of New England matched him, missing from 41 yards out on his first effort.
Mahomes then connected with Edwards-Helaire for 48 yards to the New England 15. McKinnon took a straight snap and flipped it to Rashee Rice for a 4-yard touchdown pass two plays later.
Zappe connected with Hunter Henry for a 16-yard touchdown, and New England capitalized on Mahomes’ first interception for a field goal that put the Patriots up 10-7 late in the second quarter. Mahomes connected with McKinnon from 8 yards out to give Kansas City the lead, then he converted from 29 yards out to make the score 17-10.
Willie Gay intercepted Zappe on the next play and returned it 24 yards to the New England 7. Mahomes lofted one to Edwards-Helaire in the back of the end zone two plays later, giving the Chiefs a 24-10 lead.
When Mahomes’ pass deflected off Kadarius Toney’s hands and was intercepted by Jahlani Tavai, Kansas City led 27-10. Kevin Harris scampered 18 yards for the touchdown two plays later.
Ekow Boye-Doe downed Tommy Townsend’s punt at the 1-inch line after the Chiefs were stopped.
“Wow, that was incredible. “That was close,” Reid said.
The Patriots were unable to advance, turning the ball over on downs at their 7 when Zappe’s pass fell incomplete on fourth-and-4.