(AP) Patrick Mahomes threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns, outplaying Arizona counterpart Josh Rosen in a matchup of two of the NFL’s bright young quarterbacks, and the Kansas City Chiefs rolled past the Cardinals 26-14 on Sunday.
Mahomes threw both TD passes to Tyreek Hill, the second giving the Chiefs’ first-year starter 31 for the season. That broke the franchise record set by Len Dawson in 1964 with plenty of games to go.
Not to mention the playoffs, with the Chiefs (9-1) barreling toward the No. 1 seed.
Rosen had 195 yards passing with a touchdown and two picks, taking several brutal hits in the fourth quarter. David Johnson ran for 98 yards with TDs on the ground and through the air, while Larry Fitzgerald passed Terrell Owens for No. 2 on the NFL’s career receiving yardage list late in the game.
Fitzgerald finished with six catches for 50 yards to give him 15,952 for his brilliant career.
Hill had seven catches for 117 yards, and Kareem Hunt pounded his way for 71 yards rushing, as the Chiefs kept the Cardinals (2-7) winless in six meetings at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs’ weekly air show got started on the game’s first play, when Hill ran right past Patrick Peterson to haul in a 38-yard reception. Two plays later, Hill ran past the rest of the Arizona defense and Mahomes found him streaking into the end zone for a 37-yard scoring catch.
Arizona answered with a time-consuming 75-yard touchdown drive of its own.
Both defenses fared better the rest of the half, the Cardinals sacking Mahomes four times and the Chiefs’ rejuvenated defense getting enough pressure to keep Rosen uncomfortable.
The Chiefs finally reached the end zone again when Mahomes zipped a third-and-goal pass into double coverage to Hill, who cradled it for the touchdown with 5:31 left before halftime. That was the 31st touchdown pass of the year for Mahomes, breaking Dawson’s record with six games left in the regular season.
Hill leaped into the stands to celebrate, just as he did on his first TD catch, and then got flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct when he commandeered the CBS camera in the end zone.
The Cardinals stuck with Johnson in the second half, and they slowly grinded their way toward another touchdown. He carried it six times and finished off a 12-play, 61-yard drive with a TD plunge to get the Cardinals within 20-14 midway through the third quarter.
Arizona got the ball back early in the fourth quarter, but Rosen had a screen pass picked off by Justin Houston at the line of scrimmage to give it right back. So instead of marching for a go-ahead TD, the Cardinals watched Spencer Ware dive in for a touchdown to extend the Chiefs’ lead.
The Cardinals were never able to get any closer.