Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have been money on Week One. We’re going to break them down.
Since Patrick Mahomes made his first start on September 9, 2018, the Chiefs have started each season off with a win in Week One. They have won in a variety of ways, but Mahomes has played terrifically in each of them. Let’s take a ride in the way-back machine to see how each matchup went down.
A History Of Chiefs Week One Victories With Mahomes At QB
Week 1, 2018 – Chiefs vs. Chargers
This would be the first start of a regular season game of consequence and Mahomes did not disappoint. Tyreek Hill started the show with an electrifying 91-yard punt return to the house followed by a 58-yard touchdown reception the very next drive. Mahomes hit Hill 20 yards downfield between the one and the zero with a defender breathing down his neck and The Cheetah did the rest. The infamous 2018 Chiefs defense, however, was more than willing to let the Chargers come back into the game, allowing Philip Rivers to throw for 424 yards and three touchdowns.
They did pick Rivers off at his own 14-yard line which gave the offense an easy score, but this unit pretty much let the Chargers do whatever they wanted. Mahomes was embarking on what would be an MVP season and topped Rivers with four touchdowns and no picks while only throwing 27 passes, good for a rating of 127.5. This was a great true first start to Mahomes’ career and would herald much bigger things to come in his career.
Week 1, 2019 – Chiefs vs. Jaguars
Depending on your viewpoint, this is either known as the Gardner Minshew game or the Sammy Watkins game. Tyreek Hill was taken out early due to a shoulder injury that would plague him most of this season, so Sammy Watkins stepped into his place and balled out against a much-depleted Jacksonville team. One of the reasons for that depletion was due to Myles Jack getting into a fight with Watkins and Demarcus Robinson after a fumble where Jack felt it necessary to take a swing at Robinson’s helmet while it was still on his head.
Gardner Minshew, on the other side, started off his own legend by going 22 of 25 for two scores and a pick in relief of Nick Foles who left the game with a shoulder injury after throwing a beauty of a touchdown pass to DJ Chark. Chris Jones landed on top of Foles on the QB hit which broke Foles’s collarbone and sent him to injured reserve. Despite all of this drama, the Chiefs ended up winning 40-26 in a game that was over before it reached the fourth quarter.
Mahomes still started his campaign off right with a sublime 25 of 33 for 378 yards, three TDs, and no picks. All three touchdown tosses were hauled in by Sammy Watkins who went bonkers for nine catches and 198 yards to go along with the three visits to the house. The beginning of their Super Bowl-winning campaign in 2019 showed just how dangerous the Chiefs would become even without star receiver Tyreek Hill and everyone would just how great this team would become.
Week 1, 2020 – Chiefs vs. Texans
This game was billed as a rematch of the 2019 AFC Divisional Game. The Houston Texans coughed up a 28-3 lead and went on to lose 51-31 in one of the most hilariously lopsided turnarounds in NFL Playoff history and this game was sold as payback. It turned out that the Chiefs were still miles better than the Texans because this game was over by the third quarter.
Houston, following their script, started off by scoring on the third drive, going 80 yards in nine plays capped off by newly acquired running back David Johnson. That was about all the hope the Chiefs starters were going to give the Texans. After the Texans scored, Kansas City went on another ridiculous run, scoring 31 straight to have a 31-7 lead in the fourth quarter. Mahomes was his usually stellar self, going 24 of 32 for 211 yards, three touchdowns, and no picks, handing those touchdowns out to Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Sammy Watkins.
The player that really stood out, however, was Clyde Edwards-Helaire. CEH carried the ball 25 times for 138 yards and a touchdown in his first start after being drafted with the Chiefs’ first-round pick that year. Despite all of the changes that were put in place due to the pandemic raging throughout the world, the Chiefs still appeared like the Super Bowl contenders that they were.
Week 1, 2021 – Chiefs vs. Browns
This one is easily the most competitive Week One game the Chiefs have played during the Patrick Mahomes era. The Browns were a darling dark horse for a playoff run and the Chiefs were coming off of an embarrassing Super Bowl loss so it was fairly common to see this game viewed beforehand as a Browns coming out party. This was also a rematch of a hard-fought playoff game, known around these parts as the Chad Henne game, where the Chiefs stole victory from the Browns by way of a legendary Chad Henne scramble and one of the ballsy-est fourth-down calls you will ever see.
Andy Reid really went for it on 4th down with Chad freaking Henne. UNREAL.pic.twitter.com/EmWs7GpGB0 — Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) January 17, 2021
The Browns had to be thinking all off-season about what might have been and seemed to use that as fuel to start the game. Cleveland was physically beating Kansas City on both sides of the ball, even converting twice on fourth downs on the Chiefs’ side of the field to take a 22-10 lead into the half. I don’t know what was said at halftime, or who sacrificed what to Jobu, but the Chiefs came out like a completely different team in the second half whereas Cleveland looked as if a curse had been placed on them.
Kansas City scored on their first drive which took 14 plays and 7:33 to go 75 yards to bring them to a 22-17 score. After a Nick Chubb fumble at mid-field, The Chiefs had another time-consuming drive, going ten plays for 5:24. That drive ended up in a field goal to bring the score to 22-20. The Browns ended up finally answering with a touchdown on a long drive of their own to push the lead to two possessions, but then, Patrick Mahomes happened. The very first play in the ensuing drive with a 75-yard touchdown to Tyreek Hill in a ball that seemed to stay in the air forever until Hill found himself under it for the score.
The very next possession after going three and out, the Browns punter Jamie Gillan simply lost the ability to handle a snap and gave the Chiefs incredible field position at their own 15. The Chiefs took that gift and turned it into a 3-play touchdown drive to take the lead. The two teams traded punts which gave Baker Mayfield a chance to take the lead or win the game with a little under three minutes left.
Mayfield went 31 yards in a minute and a half before Mike Hughes picked him off at the Chiefs’ 42 to end their own comeback bid. Although this was the toughest of Mahomes’ season openers to date, he still had a great game, going 27 of 36 for 337 yards, three scores, and still no picks. This game, along with the Super Bowl loss, would serve as a sort of blueprint for how to handle the Chiefs which would plague them through most of this season.
To recap, the Chiefs are undefeated in Week One throughout Patrick Mahomes’ tenure. Mahomes has gone 91 for 128 for a 71.1 completion percentage to go along with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions. The Chiefs have won in blowouts, in tough games, at home, and on the road. Mahomes is lights out on the opening game of the season and there is very little to think that the upcoming matchup with the Arizona Cardinals will be any different.