By Matt McMullen – Chiefs.com
The Kansas City Chiefs secured a 10th consecutive winning season on Sunday by defeating the Los Angeles Rams, 26-10, for their ninth victory on the year. The streak, which began during Head Coach Andy Reid’s first season with the Chiefs in 2013, is the longest active stretch in the NFL.
The win – which moved Reid into sole possession of the most total victories in the history of GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium – marked the Chiefs’ fifth victory in a row as they dispatched the reigning Super Bowl champions and completed a perfect month of November.
“I was proud of our guys for the job that they did [today]. [They] definitely [didn’t] take [the Rams] lightly. [They] came out and played good, aggressive football on both sides of the ball,” Reid said. “[We] came out with a nice victory.”
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 27-of-42 passes for 320 yards and a touchdown in the game, finding tight end Travis Kelce for a 39-yard score on the Chiefs’ second possession. It marked Kelce’s league-most 12th touchdown of the season, which is already a season-high for the veteran pass catcher with six games still left to play.
It was also the 46th career touchdown connection between Mahomes and Kelce, matching the legendary Len Dawson and Otis Taylor for the most scoring strikes in franchise history.
Kelce was one of 10 players to catch a pass for Kansas City on Sunday, marking the second time this season that Mahomes connected with 10+ targets for at least one completion in a game this season. All 10 of those targets on Sunday finished the game with double-digit yardage through the air.
“You get more and more comfortable [with each other] as the season goes on,” Mahomes said. “I think it makes us a better team. All of those guys have confidence that when they get in, they’re going to make a play. I’m going to give them chances, too.”
Those various targets helped the Chiefs rack up 29 first downs and 437 yards of total offense behind Mahomes’ sixth-straight 300-yard performance, but the Rams’ red-zone defense – which entered the game as the fourth-best unit in the NFL – held Kansas City to just 1-of-6 in the red zone throughout the game.
That meant a busy day for kicker Harrison Butker – who went 4-for-4 on field goal attempts – but the Rams’ strong play in the red zone allowed Los Angeles to remain within 10 points until tailback Isiah Pacheco plowed ahead for a 3-yard touchdown early in the third quarter.
The score, which marked Pacheco’s first touchdown since Week 2, pushed the Chiefs ahead by 17 points and seemed to effectively put the game out of reach for a Rams’ offense that struggled to move the ball consistently.
In fact, Kansas City held the Rams – who fielded reserve quarterback Bryce Perkins on Sunday – to just 198 yards of total offense.
“I feel like we tackled pretty [well] today. Down the stretch, we were able to tackle well and force them to throw check downs – especially when they needed points at the end,” said linebacker Nick Bolton. “We stopped the run. We [allowed] one expensive run…[We] have to tackle better on that play, but – other than that – [I] feel like our front played pretty [well], and our secondary covered very well.”
Bolton, who led Kansas City with 11 total tackles, essentially sealed the victory with an interception on the Rams’ final drive. He was one of two players with a pick on Sunday, joining cornerback L’Jarius Sneed.
The Chiefs also tallied three sacks in the game, including the first full sack of rookie defensive end George Karlaftis’ young career.
“It felt great. We saw that exact same play in practice and had the same call against it,” Karlaftis said. “I messed up on it in practice, [but I] wasn’t going to make the same mistake in the game.”
Overall, the victory meant that Kansas City maintained sole possession of the top record in the AFC and its three-game lead in the division with six games left to play. It also marked the 59th victory of Mahomes’ young career, making him the winningest quarterback through 75 career starts in NFL history.
In terms of injuries, safety Deon Bush (elbow) was the only player that Coach Reid mentioned following the game. Reid added that it didn’t appear to be serious.
Kansas City will now prepare for a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship Game as the Chiefs head to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals.