September 23, 2018 5:58 PM
By Lynn Worthy
The key plays, stats and grades from the Chiefs’ 38-27 home-opening win against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
Player of the game: Patrick Mahomes threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns on 24 of 38 passing. His 13 touchdown passes in the first three games of a season is a NFL record.
Reason to hope: The Chiefs offense got off to another fast start and continued to put up impressive numbers. They scored 14 first-quarter points and have now scored 49 points in the first quarters of their three games.
Reason to mope: The defense continues to give up yards in big chunks, though they’ve mostly come while playing from ahead. The 49ers racked up 406 total yards — they actually outgained the Chiefs — and that included 178 rushing yards.
Looking ahead: The Chiefs will prepare to hit the prime-time stage as they’ll play the Broncos in Denver on Monday Night Football, Oct. 1.
Rushing offense — C: The Chiefs punched it into the end zone from 1 yard out twice in the first half, and the ground attack got positive yards when called upon. For the second week in a row they were able to run late in the game to close it out. They finished with 77 yards on 28 rushes.
Passing offense — A-: Patrick Mahomes notched three more touchdown passes and set an NFL record for touchdown throws in the first three games of a season by halftime. Mahomes completed 63 percent of his passes. The 49ers did sack him twice, but he was also able to buy time with his legs in order to make plays downfield. Eleven Chiefs caught at least one pass as they continue to distribute the ball widely.
Rushing defense — C-: The defense remained incredibly stingy against the run throughout the first half, and shut down explosive speedster Matt Breida. San Francisco rushed for just 40 first-half yards. In the second half, the results changed drastically. The 49ers rushed for 138 yards and created big holes for Breida, who rushed for 90 yards on 10 carries.
Passing defense — C: The defense came into the game with just two sacks total in two games. They got to the quarterback for two sacks in the first half Sunday, and the defense finished with four sacks courtesy of Justin Houston (two), Allen Bailey and Dee Ford. They applied pressure to Jimmy Garoppolo — in the form of hurries and hits — more consistently than any other game this season. But they had breakdowns that led to a couple of wide-open receivers on touchdown passes. They held an opposing passer to fewer than 300 yards for the first time this season.
Special teams — B+: For the first time this season, the Chiefs didn’t break free for a big punt return. The threat of a big return was enough to give the Chiefs a field-position advantage. They netted 43 yards on punts, executed their one field-goal attempt, and covered well on the one kick return that wasn’t a touchback.
Coaching — B: Offensively, the Chiefs again spread the ball around to multiple weapons and kept the defense from being able to focus on stopping any one player. They seemed to have counters for anything the 49ers threw at them. Defensively, the 49ers created confusion on a couple of touchdown passes where receivers broke wide open. Giving up 14 third-quarter points marred what had been a fairly solid defensive effort.
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