Instant analysis: In matchup of hot QBs Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, Chiefs hold off Ravens, 33-28

KANSAS CITY, MO. — In a matchup of two of the NFL’s top-performing quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs outgunned Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, running out to a big early lead and holding on late for a 33-28 win at Arrowhead Stadium.

Mahomes completed 27 of 37 passes for 374 yards and three touchdowns, looking every bit the NFL’s reigning Most Valuable Player against a defense that gave him trouble in last year’s overtime classic — also a Chiefs win.


Jackson, the NFL’s top-rated passer after two games, struggled throughout the first half but rebounded to go 22-for-43 for 267 yards and rush for 46 yards and a score. It was his first game this season without a passing touchdown.

The Ravens (2-1), who trailed 30-13 entering the fourth quarter, cut Kansas City’s lead to five after scoring two touchdowns and a field goal in three fourth-quarter drives. But on a crucial third-and-9 with under two minutes remaining, Mahomes found running back Damien Williams on a screen pass for 16 yards that sealed the game.


The Chiefs (3-0) didn’t have much trouble against a Ravens team that entered Week 3 with the NFL’s second-ranked defense. Then again, the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals couldn’t field a combined offense equal to Kansas City’s weapons.

After punting on their first drive, the Chiefs scored on five of their next six possessions. All but one of those scores was a touchdown. Kansas City scored from every level of the field.

Running back LeSean McCoy scored first on a carry from a yard out. Mahomes found wide receiver Demarcus Robinson in the corner of the end zone for an acrobatic 18-yard catch. Mecole Hardman found a seam in a busted coverage and ran untouched for an 83-yard catch-and-run. When McCoy scored from 14 yards out on a smartly called screen pass late in the third quarter, the Ravens trailed 30-13.

It was the second straight disappointing week for a pass defense marred by injuries and poor execution. With cornerbacks Jimmy Smith (knee) and Tavon Young (neck) already out, Marlon Humphrey missed parts of the first half for an undisclosed reason. Earl Thomas III and Tony Jefferson did not look like the NFL’s top safety pairing. And linebackers struggled to cover tight end Travis Kelce (seven catches for 89 yards) over the middle and running backs in the flats.

The Ravens allowed more than 500 total yards (503) for just the 10th time in franchise history and first time since giving up 545 in a 39-38 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 10, 2017.

The Ravens return to Baltimore on Sunday for their highly anticipated matchup against the Cleveland Browns, their first AFC North meeting.

Instant analysis

Daniel Oyefusi, reporter: The Ravens’ game against the Chiefs quickly turned into a track meet, and for a while, the Ravens couldn’t keep up. Inconsistency in the first half from Lamar Jackson, a few reckless penalties by the defense and a tad bit of over-aggressive decision-making from coach John Harbaugh ultimately doomed the Ravens in their first loss of the season. Some serious changes have to be made on the defensive side, with yet another busted coverage leading to a big touchdown. A divisional home game against the Browns next week might be just what the team needs to get refocused.

Peter Schmuck, columnist: Lamar Jackson and the Ravens certainly met their match Sunday, but that doesn’t mean they can’t compete with a team the caliber of the Chiefs. It’s pretty clear that John Harbaugh anticipated his team’s inability to stop Patrick Mahomes and the explosive Kansas City offense because he made several aggressive decisions early in the game and paid dearly for a couple of them.

If you're trying to figure out why the Ravens went for a two-point conversion with the score 30-19 early in the fourth quarter, you're not alone. The network announcers questioned it on both sides of the ensuing commercial break and agreed that "the math doesn't work."

Still, the Ravens displayed a terrific running game — thanks to a record performance by Mark Ingram II — and Jackson remains a multidimensional force that every team will have trouble stopping.

Jonas Shaffer, reporter: If this game proved anything, it’s that the Ravens have more problems on defense than on offense. Lamar Jackson could be forgiven for some of his shortcomings today; Arrowhead Stadium is a tough place to play, and star tight end Mark Andrews wasn’t at full strength. But this defense couldn’t hold a Tyreek Hill- and Damien Williams-less attack to under 500 yards of total offense. When the pass rush is there, the Ravens can hang with the Chiefs. When it goes missing, you have days like Sunday.

Childs Walker, reporter: The Ravens have reason to be worried about their pass coverage. The game got away when they failed to account for speedy wide receiver Mecole Hardman on an 83-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes dissected them with screens and midrange throws to tight end Travis Kelce. Lamar Jackson made some thrilling improvisational plays as he tried to rally the Ravens in the second half, but he didn’t throw with the same precision we saw in Weeks 1 and 2. The Ravens did rediscover their identity as a power-running team for stretches of the game, but they undermined themselves with several horribly timed penalties. It’s almost impossible to keep up with the Chiefs when you’re playing through such self-imposed handicaps.

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