KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs rolled into Arrowhead Stadium to play the red-hot Baltimore Ravens without their best wide receiver, their lead running back and their stalwart left tackle.
They still had Patrick Mahomes, though.
The reigning league MVP threw for 374 yards and three touchdowns in another record-setting performance, and Kansas City's defense corralled Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson most of the rain-soaked afternoon, allowing the Chiefs to squeak out a 33-28 victory Sunday.
"Everyone gets reps with the starters, and guys just build that confidence that they can play," said Mahomes, whose 13 games of at least 300 yards passing broke Kurt Warner's mark for the most in the first 20 games of a career. "Whenever someone gets an opportunity they make plays."
Such as wide receivers Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman, who had TD catches while Tyreek Hill recovers from a broken collarbone. Or LeSean McCoy and Darrell Williams, who combined for 116 yards rushing and a score in place of injured running back Damien Williams. Or Cam Erving, who filled in for left tackle Eric Fisher and helped to limit the Ravens to a single sack.
"I trust that guys are going to step up and play," said Chiefs coach Andy Reid, whose 210th win broke a tie with Chuck Knoll for sixth-most in NFL history. "Each one of them collectively had a pretty good day. They took advantage of their opportunity."
Missed opportunities ultimately doomed the Ravens. They were stuffed once on fourth down, and three times they failed to convert on a 2-point conversion, leaving them chasing points all game.
The last came after Jackson scrambled for a touchdown with 2:01 to go. The conversion would have gotten the Ravens (2-1) within a field goal, but Jackson was shoved out of bounds short of the pylon.
Baltimore tried to get the ball back with a rare dropkick, but the Chiefs (3-0) calmly called for a fair catch. Then they converted on third down moments later to run out the clock.
"I don't remember the situation or which was what, but every one of those was clear analytical decisions to go for two," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We had a mindset that we were going to come in and try to score as many points as we could. So, that's what we tried to do."
Mark Ingram was the Ravens' biggest bright spot, running for 103 yards and a trio of touchdowns while catching four passes for 32 yards. Jackson finished with 267 yards passing and 46 rushing, most of that when he was trying to rally the Ravens from a big halftime hole.
The Ravens actually scored first on Ingram's touchdown plunge, then they took points off the board when a penalty gave them a shorter try at the conversion. Jackson was stuffed at the goal line in what would become a recurring theme for Baltimore all afternoon.
The Chiefs then proceeded to score four times in the second quarter for the second consecutive week, this time getting three touchdowns and Harrison Butker's 42-yard field goal to take a 23-6 lead.
They scored four TDs in the second quarter last week in Oakland.
McCoy, hobbled by a sore ankle all week, gave Kansas City the lead with a TD run early in the second quarter. Then, after the Ravens' turnover on downs, Mahomes lofted a pass to the corner of the end zone that Robinson caught with an incredible one-handed stab .
That highlight was joined by another on the Chiefs' next possession, when the Ravens blew the coverage and Hardman was open downfield. The rookie hauled in the heave from Mahomes, then used his 4.3-second 40-yard-dash speed to sprint 83 yards to the end zone.
"I just did enough to get in the end zone," Hardman said.
Ingram sandwiched two more touchdown runs around Mahomes' third touchdown toss in the second half, and the second one got Baltimore within 30-19 with 12:22 to go. But the Ravens again tried for the 2-point conversion and again came up empty, leaving them in an 11-point hole.
That could have loomed large when Justin Tucker added a field goal.
Instead, Williams ripped off a 41-yard run, the Chiefs picked up a couple more first downs, and Butker hit a 36-yard field goal that made it a two-possession game and ultimately out of reach.
"We wanted to be aggressive," Ingram said. "Coming here to a hostile environment, one of the better teams in the league, everyone says, and we went toe-to-toe with them. We got aggressive and we've got make sure we execute so we have our coaches' back for believing in us. I love the aggressive mindset, coming in here aggressive offensively and defensively. Just got to make those plays."
STATS AND STREAKS
The Ravens' defense, which was second in the NFL after the first two weeks, surrendered 503 yards of total offense. ... Baltimore lost for the second time in 10 games with Jackson as the starter. ... The Chiefs' Travis Kelce had a game-high seven catches for 89 yards. ... The Chiefs have scored 26 or more points in an NFL record 24 straight regular-season games.
Ravens: CB Jimmy Smith (knee) and S Brynden Trawick (elbow) were inactive.
Chiefs: McCoy aggravated his sore ankle on his touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. ... Hill (collarbone), RB Damien Williams (knee) and LT Eric Fisher (groin) were inactive.
Baltimore: returns home to face Cleveland next Sunday.
Kansas City: on the road for the third time in four weeks Sunday at Detroit.
Ravens come up empty on 2-point attempts in loss to Chiefs
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The analytics kept telling John Harbaugh to roll the dice on fourth down, or gamble for a 2-point conversion when the Baltimore Ravens finally hit pay dirt against the Kansas City Chiefs.
None of that number crunching paid off Sunday.
The fourth-down attempt near midfield was stuffed, and the Chiefs took advantage of the short field to strike quickly for a touchdown. And all three of those 2-point conversion attempts also came up empty — six points that would have covered the margin in a 33-28 defeat.
"We had a mindset that we were going to come in and try to score as many points as we could. So, that's what we tried to do," Harbaugh explained. "I know we all felt the same way. We're going to keep playing. We're going after it. That's the way we're going to play all year."
Asked whether Harbaugh ever second-guessed himself, he replied: "No. We don't play scared."
Despite the missed opportunities, the Ravens still nearly came back from a 30-13 fourth-quarter hole. Mark Ingram started the comeback with his third touchdown run — the 2-point conversion naturally failed — and Justin Tucker added a 39-yard field goal to make it 30-22 with 6:39 to go.
Harrison Butker answered at the other end for Kansas City, making it a two-possession game, but the Ravens breezed 70 yards in just over 2 1/2 minutes to score again. Lamar Jackson capped the drive by scrambling to his right and beating the entire Kansas City defense to the pylon.
Once more, the Ravens attempted a 2-point conversion, trying to get within a field goal should they get the ball back. And once more, the Chiefs' defense was up to the challenge, forcing Jackson out of bounds short of the pylon to preserve their 33-28 advantage.
It wound up being a moot point.
The Ravens tried to get the ball back with a rare dropkick, but Chiefs rookie Mecole Hardman calmly signaled for a fair catch. And when the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes found backup running back Darrel Williams with a 16-yard screen pass on third-and-9 with 1:51 to go, that was it for Baltimore.
Mahomes kneeled twice more to run out the clock.
"We wanted to be aggressive. If those things would have went our way it would have been a little different," Ravens tight end Mark Andrews said. "Obviously they didn't go our way today and that's tough, but again, we've got to execute better. I love the aggressive mindset."
One big reason for that approach had to do with the opposing offense.
The Chiefs rolled into the game having scored at least 26 points in an NFL record 23 straight games, and Mahomes has been building nicely on his MVP season through the first two weeks.
So even though the Chiefs were missing three starters on offense — wide receiver Tyreek Hill, running back Damien Williams and left tackle Eric Fisher — the Ravens figured they would still need to score every point they could to keep up.
"The Chiefs have a great offense, an explosive offense," Jackson said. "Our job is to finish and keep our defense off the field as much as we can. We didn't do that today."
Kansas City was ready for it, too.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid had noticed the Ravens go for it on fourth down more than just about any team in the league, and they're just as aggressive when it comes to conversions. Jackson's uncanny ability to scramble away from the pocket for positive yards is a big reason for it.
"This isn't something that caught us by surprise. They love doing that," Reid said, "and they have the firepower to do it. You have to be on your toes."
Turned out the Chiefs were up to the task.