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Chiefs vs. Buccaneers score, takeaways: Patrick Mahomes outduels Tom Brady as Kansas City rolls over Tampa Bay

The Week 4 battle of two legendary quarterbacks did not disappoint on “Sunday Night Football,” but one signal-caller left a lot happier than the other. Whereas Tom Brady produced gaudy numbers airing it out for the Buccaneers at home, Patrick Mahomes enjoyed a much easier evening for the Chiefs, riding Andy Reid’s creativity and a couple of acrobatic red-zone hijinks to a 41-31 rout of Tampa Bay. The rematch of Super Bowl LV certainly showcased offensive firepower, with the two teams combining for over 700 yards, but all of the Bucs’ points came from behind as the home team chased Reid’s Chiefs.

Here are some instant takeaways from Kansas City’s big prime-time victory:

Why the Chiefs won

Reid’s offense was (almost literally) unstoppable. We’ve seen lots of explosive games from Mahomes and Co. over the years, but the road favorites had their way all night. No. 15 spread the ball around, hitting Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Travis Kelce early for splash plays, and once again Reid’s red-zone creativity was impeccable. Whether Mahomes was scrambling and making last-second shovel passes into the back of the end zone or tight end Noah Gray was lining up under center, they could not be denied in scoring range.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Isiah Pacheco stayed busy finding space on the ground, too, combining for over 130 rushing yards. The Chiefs defense was relatively porous aside from a L’Jarius Sneed strip-sack, and Mahomes gifted the Bucs a late pick by lobbing one into double coverage. But it didn’t much matter at that point, with 41 points already on the board and an opening-kickoff forced fumble setting the tone in Kansas City’s favor from the start.

Why the Buccaneers lost

Todd Bowles’ defense had no answers for the best play-making QB in football, surrendering the most points of any Bowles-led unit in the coach’s career. Despite three sacks and a late pick by Sean Murphy-Bunting, their typically physical squad simply could not contain the Chiefs for any sustained amount of time, especially on third downs and in the red zone. They also totally lacked a ground game, with Rachaad White and Leonard Fournette non-factors, but that didn’t really matter in an instant, all-night shootout.

No, the real killer, aside from their inability to stop K.C., was turnovers — an opening-kickoff fumble from White, and a fumble from Brady on a rough strip-sack. Brady was otherwise in MVP form, willing the Bucs back within reach multiple times and threading the needle on some clutch throws to Mike Evans. In the end, their efforts were too little, too late and a little too sloppy, with five penalties also hindering their results.

Turning point

You could easily point to the kickoff that started the game, which gifted the Chiefs an instant bonus possession just outside the red zone. But Sneed’s zoom in off the edge to upend Brady, force a fumble and leave TB12 slow to get up certainly felt like the unofficial cap on the game. Already down 21-10 with halftime approaching, the Bucs’ fumble there set up a Chiefs TD drive to extend Kansas City’s lead to 18. Brady would go on to find Evans for his own score before the break, but the damage was already done.

Play of the game

Mahomes has been a magician ever since his historic breakout as a first-time full-timer, but even by his standards, his second-quarter TD pass (pitch? hurl? toss?) to Clyde Edwards-Helaire was absurd. The athleticism, concentration and sheer guts required not only to try but easily succeed at something like this is why Mahomes remains the NFL’s model play-maker at the position:

What’s next

The Chiefs (3-1) will return to Arrowhead Stadium for a Week 5 “Monday Night Football” matchup with the rival Raiders (1-3), who just got their first win of the year by edging the Broncos. The Buccaneers (2-2), meanwhile, will stay in Tampa to host the Falcons (2-2), who beat the Browns in a close one on Sunday.

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