KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Patrick Mahomes lamented two more turnovers and Chiefs coach Andy Reid a multitude of penalties, and just about everyone that stepped out of the Kansas City locker room vowed to turn around what’s been a disappointing season.
It almost sounded as if they’d lost to the Giants on Monday night.
Instead, the scuffling Chiefs rallied behind two fourth-quarter field goals from Harrison Butker, including the go-ahead 34-yarder with 1:07 left, and beat downtrodden New York 20–17 to even their record after eight games.
“Listen, everything is not beautiful right now but we’re fighting through it,” Reid said. “Our guys battled. They didn’t give up on each other. They kept working at a time you could have just thrown your hands up and say, ‘Man, things are just not working the way they’re supposed to work.’ So we’ll build on that. Let’s keep going.”
Mahomes threw for 275 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Chiefs, who along with two turnovers committed 12 penalties for 103 yards. Tyreek Hill had 12 catches for 94 yards and a score, and Mecole Hardman added five catches for 63 yards, including a 24-yard catch-and-run on the final drive that set Butker up for the go-ahead kick.
“The guys are battling and trying to find ways to win,” Mahomes said, “and tonight we did.”
Daniel Jones had 222 yards passing with two touchdowns and a pick for the Giants (2–6), but he also was sacked three times, including twice after the Chiefs kicked off with just over a minute left in the game.
It was just the fourth win in 15 meetings for the Chiefs and their first since the 2013 season.
“We have to eliminate the mistakes we made down the stretch,” Giants coach Joe Judge said. “We cant allow a team like this to have extra opportunities. We can’t rob ourselves a chance to have opportunities of our own.”
The Chiefs actually diced up the Giants on their opening drive, but for the fourth time this season Mahomes had a pass bounce off his intended target for an interception—this time, backup running back Jerick McKinnon. It was the seventh consecutive game Mahomes had thrown a pick and his league-leading 10th of the season.
It also was an ominous sign for an offense that has done little to resemble its high-flying reputation.
The Chiefs did score moments later, after Jones threw the ball right back to them, but they struggled to get into their familiar offensive rhythm. Mahomes seemed to be in a different playbook than his wide receivers, tight end Travis Kelce was rendered a non-factor by the New York defense and penalties began to pile up.
In fact, the Chiefs turned almost entirely to the ground when they marched for their second touchdown. It was seldom-used Derrick Gore that carried seven times for 43 yards before breaking the goal line for his first career score.
The Giants—hardly dynamic in their own right—were the ones that often moved the ball at will.
Without running back Saquon Barkley and wide receiver Kenny Golladay, both still sidelined with injuries, Jones was able to lean on Booker and his backup receivers to march 85 yards for an early touchdown—most of it coming when John Ross III beat safety Daniel Sorensen for a 50-yard catch that rendered his pass interference penalty moot.
The Giants added an 86-yard drive later in the first half that produced a field goal. And early in the fourth quarter, Evan Engram beat Sorensen to the pylon for a touchdown catch that gave the Giants a 17–14 lead.
Somehow, the scuffling Chiefs found a way to claw back into the game.
They ground their way to a field goal midway through the fourth quarter. Then, their much-maligned defense held on third down and Giants punter Riley Dixon sent a wobbler out of bounds to give them prime field position.
Mahomes and Co. finished the comeback by putting Butker in position for the go-ahead field goal.
“We knew it was going to be a challenge. No win is given to you,” Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones said. “You have to take that approach. It’s a battle every drive, every play. You have to execute at a high level to get past your opponent.”
Judge said two of the timeouts New York wasted were the result of headsets that kept malfunctioning, and that it is a problem that has happened in just about every game this season. “There was one point we tried to go back to the old equipment and were told we couldn’t do that,” Judge said. “I don’t want to make this all about headsets. That’s not why we lost. But I’ll say this: Whoever is in charge of this, they better fix it fast.”
Giants WRs Sterling Shepard (quad) and Dante Pettis (shoulder) left in the second quarter. WR Kadarius Toney departed in the fourth quarter with a thumb injury.
Chiefs WR Marcus Kemp was evaluated for a concussion in the second quarter. Kemp returned to the game and was soon flagged for making a helmet-to-helmet tackle on Toney as he fielded a punt.
Ring of Honor
The Chiefs added longtime center Tim Grunhard to their Hall of Fame during a halftime ceremony. Grunhard started 164 of 169 games and appeared in the Pro Bowl once during an 11-year career spent entirely in Kansas City.
The Giants head home to face the Raiders on Sunday.
The Chiefs get a visit from the Packers on Sunday.
By Dave Skretta