After shaky first half, Mahomes returns to his magical ways in loss at New England

Patrick Mahomes threw four touchdown passes in the second half.
AP/Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Patrick Mahomes has been so good this season, it’s easy to forget he is still learning his way around the NFL.

He was handed another lesson Sunday night.

Mahomes passed for 352 yards and four touchdowns, but he also threw two first-half interceptions that proved to be quite costly when the Kansas City Chiefs lost 43-40 to the New England Patriots on Stephen Gostkowski‘s 28-yard field goal as time expired.

The 23-year-old Mahomes was the toast of the NFL coming into the weekend. The 10th overall pick in the 2017 draft arrived in New England with 14 touchdown passes and just two interceptions, and Kansas City was averaging 35 points during its 5-0 start.

One more victory, and Mahomes would become just the sixth quarterback since 1970 to win each of his first seven starts.

It just didn’t work out — not with Tom Brady directing New England’s prolific attack.

The Chiefs trailed 24-9 at halftime after Mahomes was picked off twice, including Duron Harmon‘s first interception of the season in the end zone for a touchback in the final seconds of the second quarter.

“Yeah, I missed some throws,” Mahomes said. “That happens in this league, but whenever you’re playing good football teams, you can’t miss those throws.”

Mahomes returned to form in the second half, nearly rallying the Chiefs to a dramatic victory. He found Tyreek Hill for a 1-yard TD pass that made it 33-30 Kansas City with 8:38 left. With the Chiefs trailing 40-33, he connected with Hill again for a 75-yard score that tied the game with just over three minutes remaining.

Tight end Travis Kelce said Mahomes was more composed in the second half.

“It’s a big game, going up against arguably the greatest of all time,” he said. “I know (Mahomes has) got a lot of respect for (Brady). I know this team has a lot of respect for (Brady), and it being a Sunday night game, we knew it was going to be a special one, and sure enough the emotions and excitement got a little ahead of us, but we just settled down. Saw him in the second half be more like himself and have a little fun out there.”

Brady noticed, too.

“He made some big (plays). He made a lot of big ones,” Brady said. “The one at the end to Tyreek was a great throw, and he had some other great throws.”

After the tying TD, Brady used a 16-yard pass to James White and a 39-yard completion to Rob Gronkowski to get New England into field-goal range.

Mahomes was 23 for 36 in his franchise-record fifth straight game with 300 or more yards. But his second-half rebound wasn’t enough to extend Kansas City’s win streak.

“He did settle down. He did a nice job,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “But again, the objective is to actually win the game and we didn’t do that. At the same time, when you have one like this, you go back and you learn from it.”