By Terrance Turner
Sept. 12, 2021
The Kansas City Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns did battle in a rematch of their raucous divisional round playoff game last year. It was a high-scoring affair from the jump, and both teams showed off their high-powered offenses. The game came down to the wire, with back-and-forth scoring volleys in the second half.
The Browns scored right out of the gate, mounting the first of two consecutive 75-yard scoring drives. The drive started with a first down by Browns running back Nick Chubb. Tight end Austin Hooper notched a big 4th-down conversion. Nick Chubb rushed in for the touchdown.
The Browns decided to go for two, and running back Kareem Hunt ran to the end zone for the two-pointer. The Browns jumped out to an 8-0 lead. The Chiefs weren’t as lucky, but kicker Harrison Butker managed a 28-yard field goal.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had back-to-back receptions for tight end Travis Kelce. But the drive was stalled after a wild sequence. Browns player Ronnie Harrison tackled a Chiefs player, then stepped on him as he argued with Chiefs personnel. Harrison was jostled by a Chiefs coach and then pushed him, drawing boos from the crowd.
Initially the referee ruled that Kansas City was at fault, but after a prolonged review (and more boos from the crowd), Harrison was flagged and then disqualified. It was 8-3 when the first quarter ended, capping a wild opening to the game.
At the start of the second quarter, receiver Jarvis Landry scored for the Browns with a 5-yard rushing touchdown. Browns kicker Chase McLaughlin’s extra point was GOOD, putting Cleveland on top 15-3. Down by double digits, Kansas City had to respond — and they did.
The Chiefs finally reached the end zone late in the second quarter. On the run, Mahomes faked a pass and looked for open receivers; finding none, he took off. Mahomes ran through a gaping hole in the defense, rushing five yards for the touchdown. The Chiefs’ 75-yard scoring drive took 6 minutes and 58 seconds, according to ESPN. With three minutes remaining in the half, the Browns lead narrowed to just five: 15-10.
The Browns responded when Chubb eluded defenders for his second touchdown of the day.
It was 22-10 at halftime.
Neither team put up any points for the first half of the third quarter. With 7:27 left in the third quarter, Mahomes tossed an 11-yard TD pass to Travis Kelce. Once again, it was a five-point game, as the Chiefs trailed 22-17. They later added three more points courtesy of another kick by Harrison Butker. He drilled the ball 43 yards with 0:32 left in the third quarter, per ESPN.
It was a two-point game when the fourth quarter began. But the Browns extended their lead when Kareem Hunt scored his second touchdown of the day. Hunt’s 2-yard rush gave Cleveland a 29-20 lead.
Out of nowhere, Mahomes heaved the ball across midfield to receiver Tyreek Hill, who dashed away from Browns safety John Johnson for a 75-yard touchdown. That incredible play made it 29-27.
Cleveland was unable to answer, going three-and-out for the first time all game. Gillan tried to run away with a muffed punt, but he was tackled at the 15-yard line. The Chiefs took over, and Mahomes slung the ball to Kelce, who powered his way into the end zone for the second time.
The Chiefs decided to go for two. But the try was no good. It was 33-29 with 7:04 remaining. The Chiefs were unable to build on their first lead of the game. So the Browns had a chance. Cleveland had possession of the ball and roughly 90 seconds left. They had a chance to win. But it all fell apart after Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield was intercepted by Mike Hughes. It was Kansas City’s third takeaway of the game, and it sealed the game for Kansas City. The Chiefs won, 33-29.
This continues Patrick Mahomes’ stellar September streak. He is 10-0 in the month of September, having never lost a game during that month. Today he threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns, according to ESPN. And he broke the record for most passing touchdowns in a quarterback’s first 50 starts. With that TD to Kelce, Mahomes has 117 passing touchdowns.