Chiefs

Halftime observations: Chiefs up big on 49ers as Mahomes breaks another record

Through two quarters Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs lead the 49ers 35-10 thanks to an offensive explosion.

Good will Hunt-ing: After two quiet weeks, Kareem Hunt showed up in a big way against the 49ers. He scored two first-quarter touchdowns on 1-yard runs where he made his way into the end zone virtually untouched. Earlier in the week, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said the running back was playing better football this time this year than at any point last year, even if his numbers weren’t reflecting it. Now, it seems like his stat line is starting to catch up.

Money Mahomes: Patrick Mahomes made his long-awaited Arrowhead debut Sunday afternoon, and he didn’t disappoint. His 11th touchdown pass of the season was nothing short of head-scratching and awesome. Chased out of the pocket by a defender, Mahomes curled back around toward the right and located Chris Conley in the end zone. He rocketed a pass to the wide receiver for an instant touchdown. Mahomes finished the half 17 of 25 for 252 yards. With three touchdowns in the first half, Mahomes has thrown 13 touchdowns this year, breaking Peyton Manning’s 2013 record for the most TD passes through a teams’ first three games of a season.

Defense holds up: For the third week in a row, the Chiefs defense started out by holding the opponent to a three-and-out. Other than a little trickery to get a 35-yard touchdown pass to fullback Kyle Juszczyk, the 49ers offense was sluggish. Jimmy Garoppolo completed 11 of 17 pass attempts for 146 yards and a touchdown in the first half. As a team, the 49ers only put up 179 yards in the first half. Orlando Scandrick came up big on third-and-12, diving to knock down Garoppolo’s long pass attempt to Kendrick Bourne. Meanwhile, lead rusher Matt Breida had five carries for 29 yards. But Breida left the game because of an injury.

Ouch: Through a little more than a quarter, the 49ers penalty yards outweighed their offensive yards. San Francisco had 47 yards of offense and four penalties for 66 yards through the first 15 minutes. The penalties were costly, including one on cornerback K’Waun Williams, whistled for pass interference in the end zone that injured receiver Chris Conley and set up Hunt’s second touchdown of the day a play later. It didn’t get any better in the second quarter. With about 5 minutes until halftime, Reuben Foster was flagged for unnecessary roughness for hitting Mahomes after the quarterback already slid down. The hit started a brief, yet heated, exchange between the two teams. Then, on the next play, the 49ers were called for lining up with 12 men. At halftime, the 49ers had nine penalties for 106 yards.

Offensive line defends Mahomes: The hit on Mahomes by Reuben Foster sparked the Chiefs’ offensive line to rally around their quarterback. Left guard Cam Erving jumped in immediately and was chirping at Foster. Center Mitch Morse also jumped into the fray at the end.

Bonus observations: Demetrius Harris scored his first touchdown of the season and celebrated by shooting a fadeaway shot to Tyreek Hill’s makeshift basketball hoop. … Sammy Watkins scored his first touchdown as a Chief with 34 seconds until halftime. … The Chiefs didn’t punt in the first half.

Brooke Pryor

Brooke Pryor covers the Kansas City Chiefs and NFL for The Star.

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