NASHVILLE – Poor Patrick Mahomes.
The Kansas City Chiefs star had another brutal day at the office on Sunday. Turnovers. Sacks. Deflections. Errant throws. And discouragement all over the place.
Finally, midway through the fourth quarter, Mahomes was knocked out of the blowout game after absorbing the most brutal of the three sacks he endured. His team, the defending AFC champs, was destroyed by the Tennessee Titans, 27-3, in a matchup at Nissan Stadium that further blared the alarms.
The Chiefs (3-4) are in last place in the A-West, and Mahomes keeps having these outings that beg for mercy.
Sure, the Titans' defense, six days after putting it on Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills, deserves due credit. They stayed in Mahomes’ face, plastered targets downfield and flew around the football. Tennessee (5-2) has regained its trademark smashmouth mojo and scored a third consecutive victory.
Yet we’ve come to expect so much magic from Mahomes, a former NFL MVP who led the Chiefs to back-to-back Super Bowls. Instead, the stuff just keeps getting worse.
Mahomes committed two more turnovers against the Titans, raising his season total to 11. This includes his nine interceptions, tied for the league lead. During the first half, when Kansas City fell behind 27-0 and had just 16 offensive snaps, Mahomes had a 27.8 efficiency rating and a mere 41 yards passing.
The interception came in the second quarter on a low pass intended for Josh Gordon that ricocheted into a pop-up that was snagged by Titans linebacker David Long. That set up a snappy, eight-play, 46-yard TD drive that was capped by Ryan Tannehill’s 2-yard misdirection rollout.
The fumble came on the next drive when Mahomes bolted out of the pocket and scampered for what could have been a first down. Sliding, though, apparently wasn’t an option. With Bud Dupree chasing from behind, safety Kevin Byard angled from the side and chopped the football loose. Matthias Farley recovered, leading to Randy Bullock’s 51-yard field goal.
That ended a miserable first half for the Chiefs, the latest example of a team wearing the look of a Super Bowl hangover in the season following a deflated Super loss. It may be a new season, but it still doesn’t look like the Chiefs have recovered from the thrashing they received from the Bucs in February.
The first-half shutout marked the first time Kansas City was shut out at halftime since the 2018 AFC Championship Game. And the second half wasn’t much better. The Chiefs never found the end zone.
Mahomes completed 20-of-35 passes for 206 yards, with an interception and 62.3 passer rating before giving way to backup Chad Henne.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Titans crush Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs; KC falls to last in AFC West