Going into the bye, the Chiefs came away with a close victory over the Panthers. Mahomes once again played at an MVP level, throwing for 372 yards and four touchdowns, elevating Kansas City over a Carolina team that brought out all the stops to try and upset the defending champs on the road.
Carolina came out swinging immediately, going 15 plays in almost nine minutes to get on the board first. The drive was capped off by a Christian McCaffery touchdown on 4th and 3, a glimpse of what was to come from Matt Rhule’s squad.
The Chiefs responded with a field goal, and the Panthers kept that all-in mentality going on the next drive, faking a punt near midfield. They scored another touchdown three plays later to take a 14-3 lead.
After another field goal, the Chiefs got the football back and found the end zone for the first time, on another unique play design near the goal line.
In the second half, Clyde Edwards-Helaire found the endzone to give the Chiefs the lead.
Early in the fourth, Mahomes found Tyreek Hill wide open in the end zone to extend the lead to nine.
This pass was Mahomes’ 100th of his career in just his 40th game, marking another NFL record for Mahomes.
The Panthers did not go quietly, making multiple plays on their next drive, including a 4th and 14 conversion on a Teddy Bridgewater scramble. He later scored on a draw inside the five to cut it to 26-24.
The Panthers followed with a surprise onside kick, and it almost worked, travelling nine out of the 10 yards required to make it a legal recovery, but ultimately the Chiefs got the ball with a short field after an illegal touching penalty.
Kansas City took advantage of the short field, with Mahomes finding Hill for the second time.
Once again, the Panthers came right back, making it a 33-31 game. After getting the ball back with about 90 seconds left, they drove down to midfield and attempted an NFL-record 67-yard field goal as time expired. That kick was well off, and the Chiefs improved to 8-1.
With the win and the Seahawks loss in Buffalo, Mahomes may now be the MVP favorite, with 25 touchdowns and just one interception on the year.
Kansas City will now have their bye, followed by a Sunday night showdown with the Raiders in Las Vegas.
Stay tuned for in-depth postgame coverage and analysis from Sunday’s victory.