PITTSBURGH (AP) — Tyreek Hill turned to face the cameras when the hottest quarterback in the NFL looked up, saw a potential traffic jam and urged his Kansas City Chiefs teammate to conduct his business elsewhere.
“Don’t do that here,” Patrick Mahomes said with a laugh.
Hill responded by shuffling a few steps clear of Mahomes’ stall.
Good idea. There’s little doubt who is calling the shots now in Kansas City. It’s the first-year starter with the big arm.
Mahomes tied a franchise record with six touchdown passes and the Chiefs held off the Pittsburgh Steelers for a 42-37 victory Sunday that showcased why Kansas City traded away veteran Alex Smith in in the spring and put the team in the hands of a 22-year-old with all of one career start under his belt.
“He had a couple good plays you know,” coach Andy Reid said after Mahomes led Kansas City to its first win in Pittsburgh in 32 years.
Maybe more than a couple.
Mahomes, who turns 23 on Monday, finished 23 of 28 for 326 yards. His 10 touchdown passes through two weeks are the most ever by a quarterback through two games in NFL history. Heady stuff for a player who spent almost all of last season on the bench watching Smith guide the Chiefs to a fourth playoff berth in five years.
“You never expect to have 10 touchdowns at this point in the season,” Mahomes said. “But I knew with this offense and the weapons that we have and the scheme coach Reid has drawn up that we had a chance to be really, really good and the possibilities are endless.”
It sure looked that way while Mahomes spread the ball to seven different teammates, five of whom reached the end zone. Travis Kelce caught seven passes for 109 yards and two scores. Tyreek Hill, Chris Conley, Kareem Hunt and Demarcus Robinson also hauled in touchdown passes as the Chiefs (2-0) recovered in the second half after blowing an early 21-pont lead.
“I see Pat doing this all season long,” Kelce said. “He’s got the confidence. As long as we give him time and get open as wide outs and tight ends and running backs, he’s going to be able to get the best out of everyone.”
Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shook off an achy right elbow that limited him in practice during the week, completing 39 of 60 passes for 452 yards and three touchdowns. The 36-year-old also leapt into the end zone for a 3-yard score with 1:59 to go that got the Steelers (0-1-1) within five.
Rather than attempt an onside kick, Pittsburgh sent it deep. Two runs by Hunt gave Kansas City a big first down and Steelers linebacker Tyler Matakevich was flagged for roughing the punter, allowing the Chiefs to run out the clock and put the two-time defending AFC North champions at a crossroads just two weeks into the season.
“It’s not fun, but it’s still early,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s kind of where are we going to go from here. It’s kind of a mirror, gut check, whatever you want to call it. We’ll see how everyone wants to respond.”
STATS AND MORE STATS
The six touchdown passes by Mahomes tied the most ever allowed by the Steelers in franchise history. Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly threw six against Pittsburgh in 1991. … Pittsburgh tight end Jesse James set a career-high with 138 yards receiving. … Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown caught nine passes for 67 yards, becoming the fastest player in NFL history to cross the 750-career reception total (117 games). … Roethlisberger moved past John Elway and into seventh for career passing yards. … The Chiefs scored six touchdowns and had just 27:49 time of possession. Their longest scoring drive lasted just 3:57. … Mahomes’ six scores tied Len Dawson’s franchise mark set in 1964 against Denver when the Chiefs played in the American Football League.
Chiefs: Get well Eric Berry. The veteran safety remains out with a sore heel and Kansas City’s defensive backfield hasn’t exactly stepped up in his absence. The Chiefs have allowed 870 yards in the air through two games. Part of the blame — if that’s the word — can be placed on opponents playing catch-up after getting buried early by Mahomes and company.
Steelers: Pittsburgh’s secondary badly missed cornerback Joe Haden, who sat out with a strained right hamstring. There appeared to be communication issues all over the place early on, particularly when it came to finding a way to guard Kelce.
Chiefs: Welcome San Francisco to Arrowhead Stadium in their 2018 home opener next Sunday.
Steelers: Head to Tampa Bay for a Monday night meeting with the Buccaneers on Sept. 24.
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