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Mahomes 5 turnovers loom large in Chiefs loss to Rams

November 20, 2018
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Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, right, hugs Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, left, after an NFL football game, Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Rams won 54-51. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Patrick Mahomes threw for the most yards in the NFL this season and had his second six-touchdown game. But it is the five turnovers the Kansas City quarterback committed that led to the Chiefs dropping their second game this season.

Mahomes threw three interceptions and had two fumbles in Monday night’s 54-51 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at the LA Memorial Coliseum. Three of the turnovers resulted in Rams touchdowns, including a fumble and interception return for TDs by Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam.

“I gave them 21 points through turnovers,” said Mahomes, who completed 33 of 46 passes for 478 yards. “It sucks right now, plain and simple. You wanted a win like that over a playoff team.”

It is the first three-interception game of Mahomes’ career. The first pick came when Ebukam stuck his left hand up at the line of scrimmage and came down with the ball before returning it for a touchdown.

Mahomes said he was intending to throw to tight end Demetrius Harris, but that he babied the throw instead of putting more velocity on it.

The last two picks came on the final drives as the Chiefs were attempting to tie the game with a field goal.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid said the Marcus Peters interception with 1:18 remaining was mostly the result of pressure by Ebukam. The last one, which was picked off by LaMarcus Joyner with 13 seconds remaining at the Rams 28, was Mahomes trying to make a play late.

The two fumbles were the results of strip sacks by Aaron Donald, who has a league-leading 14.5 sacks.

“He’s made enough of those plays where you have full trust in him,” Reid said. “We always talk about protecting the ball and he usually does a good job of that.”

Wide receiver Chris Conley, who had seven receptions for 74 yards, said this is the first game that felt as if it had a postseason feel.

“Both teams were charged and ready to play like the playoffs. You have to be at your best though, because there are no second chances and do overs.”

Despite the turnovers, Reid was impressed with the way Mahomes was able to battle through some early adversity. Early in the fourth quarter, he fired a 73-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill to bring the Chiefs within 40-37. It was Mahomes’ second-longest completion of the season.

“He’s resilient and has confidence in himself. Things are going to happen in a game,” Reid said. “The great ones come back firing and tries to rip their hearts out the next series.”

For a team that has high postseason aspirations, one concern could be that most of Mahomes’ interceptions have come against quality defenses. Besides the three against the Rams, he threw two in a loss to New England on Oct. 14 and two against Jacksonville on Oct. 7.

Rams linebacker Dante Fowler Jr., who has faced Mahomes twice this season, said he felt like Mahomes was getting a little rattled late in the game.

“When you are in situations like that, his first year in situations like that, it’s kind of hard. We put the pressure on him and we did a good job,” Fowler Jr. said.

For Mahomes, the lessons from this loss were the same as when the Chiefs lost to the Patriots 43-40 on Oct. 14: You can’t make mistakes against good teams.

Kansas City goes into the bye at 9-2 and with the best record in the AFC. Reed and Conley are confident that Mahomes will be ready for the December stretch drive.

“Patrick is a gamer. We are behind him and we know he will bounce back from this and get better,” Conley said.

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