“Energy from the start,” Mahomes pleaded in the Gillette Stadium tunnel as they took the field before the 27-17 Chiefs win.
The Chiefs were again sloppy on offense, with two turnovers and three dropped passes. But they were able to overcome the mistakes, unlike in some of their recent games, and Mahomes said that was because the Chiefs brought some energy.
That was the message all week: We’ve got to get this thing rolling early,” Mahomes said. “We wanted to put the pressure on them and not [let] them put the pressure on us. I thought guys did a good job of it.”
The Chiefs were in the unusual situation of feeling a little desperate coming to New England. They had lost two straight games and four of six to fall to 8-5, and their once commanding lead in the AFC West dipped to one game over the Denver Broncos.
Linebacker Willie Gay said everyone in the locker room understood their predicament.
“The energy was different,” said Gay, who had an interception. “We knew we had to get back on track.”
Now, coupled with the Broncos’ loss Saturday night, the Chiefs’ lead in the division is up to two games with three to play.
It took some effort for the Chiefs to get the more comfortable advantage in the division. They didn’t take the lead for good until scoring a touchdown in the final minute of the first half.
With Denver being right there behind us and [the Chiefs] losing two straight games, it was just finding a way to get that momentum back in our favor,” Mahomes said. “You’ve just got to learn from the mistakes, keep doing it, keep getting better and try to be playing our best football going into the playoffs.”
Wide receiver Kadarius Toney again made a costly mistake, deflecting a catchable pass to a defender for an interception. Coach Andy Reid was noncommittal about whether Toney would remain in the lineup for next week’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders, saying, “We’ll see how things go.”
“I’m not down on Toney,” Reid said. “He does some good things … He’s a young guy, so we’re not talking about somebody that has been in this league a long time.”
Toney deflected a catchable pass to a defender who returned it for a touchdown in a one-point loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 1. He was penalized late in the fourth quarter of last week’s game against the Buffalo Bills for lining up offside, nullifying the Chiefs’ go-ahead touchdown. The Chiefs wound up turning the ball over on downs on the drive and losing the game.