Patrick Mahomes stood on the fringes of his gyrating teammates, looking over as the glob of red-clad Chiefs moved in rhythm to celebrate Kareem Hunt’s second touchdown of the night with a choreographed celebration dance.
When they zigged, he zagged. When their hands went down, his stayed up. When they slid, he hopped.
So the Chiefs quarterback wunderkind might be able to throw for 300 yards in six consecutive games, but he can’t exactly bust a move — at least not in rhythm with the rest of his team.
“They didn’t really let me on what we were doing, so I just tried to go along with it,” Mahomes said. “It wasn’t my best effort, but hopefully by the end of the season, I can combat that.”
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Other than a pick in the third quarter, it was the only time Mahomes and his teammates looked out of sync in the Chiefs’ 45-10 route of the Bengals (4-3) for Andy Reid’s 200th career win Sunday night.
And if that’s the only criticism of Mahomes in his seventh game as the Chiefs’ starter, that’s a pretty good night.
Mahomes completed 28 of 39 passes for 358 yards and four touchdowns as the defense held the Bengals to 10 points and 239 yards in the Chiefs’ most complete performance of the 2018 season.
“I enjoy when both sides and everything’s going well,” coach Andy Reid said. “That doesn’t happen all the time. It’s normally one group carrying the other group. That’s the national football league, but when they all come together and good things happen, it’s enjoyable. This was a good one.”
A week ago, Mahomes stepped out on the field at Gillette Stadium and looked every bit like an over-amped 23 year old in his second prime time appearance. But this week, he settled in and cut loose — and cut a rug, er, turf, — like a confident veteran in his third prime time NFL game.
Under his direction and Hunt’s tough runs, which averaged 5.7 yards per carry, the Chiefs racked up 319 yards in the first half, the highest first-half total since 2016. KC finished with a whopping 551 total yards of offense.
Tyreek Hill (7 catches, 68 yards, 1 TD) set the tone early, juking and head-faking his way to a 27-yard gain on the Chiefs’ first play. He eventually tripped down to the turf as he stepped out of a Bengals tackle, laughing and grinning as he got up from his speedy, wind-up toy-esque run.
Later in the drive, Mahomes kept the fun going, racing nine yards up the field on a third-down conversion, leaping as he ran out of bounds untouched.
Hunt partied on in the next two plays, first spinning out of a tackle and hurdling over Bengals safety Jessie Bates before he extended the ball over the goal line on his next carry to cap off the 95-yard drive and score the Chiefs’ first touchdown of the night.
To celebrate his first score, Hunt danced through a soul train line formed by his teammates in the end zone.
Two drives later, he capped another Chiefs drive with another dancing celebration — this one where Mahomes’ moves — or lack thereof — were on full display.
The Chiefs (6-1) scored on their next three possessions, adding two more touchdowns and a field goal.
Tight end Demetrius Harris upped the ante on the touchdown celebrations after catching a 17-yard pass from Mahomes late in the second quarter.
Still clutching the football, Harris sprinted across the back of the end zone and launched himself over the small wall that boxed off an on-field generator, just feet away from the back of the end zone.
As his teammates surrounded him to pat him on the back and celebrate the Chiefs’ third score of the night, the 6-foot-7 tight end ducked, crouching in the small space as he launched the football back toward the field.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Harris was simulating a grenade throw from the safety of a foxhole or if it was part of another elaborate celebration, but one thing was certain: the Chiefs were having fun.
And it didn’t stop after halftime. The Chiefs marched down the field and added another touchdown — Hunt’s third of the night — less than four minutes into the third quarter.
It was one of those nights where everything seemed to be coming easy for the Chiefs, and they took advantage of it all.
The defense got in on the action, too, as safety Ron Parker picked off Andy Dalton on the Bengals’ first play of the ensuing drive. Parker ran it back 33 yards for his first career touchdown, holding the ball up high as he crossed the goal line. He roared as he ran to the crowd, celebrating with the fans briefly before sprinting back with his teammates.
Not to be outdone by any of the other touchdown celebrations, Tyreek Hill left his own mark on the game after his three-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown. After catching Mahomes’ fourth touchdown throw, Hill ran up to the official on the sideline and pretended to faint. He laid on his back for a few seconds as offensive lineman Eric Fisher ran up to him and spontaneously mimicked CPR on the receiver.
“That might have been the coolest thing I ever thought of,” Fisher said afterward.
Hill sprung to life, sitting up Undertaker-style before leaping up and back flipping as he sprinted toward the sideline.
Afterward, Reid couldn’t help but smile when asked about his team’s celebrations.
“It’s a young bunch,” he said. “They do this during the week. They do it here. I get to see it all the time. So I’m a grandfather. These guys, they’re moving around and enjoying what they’re doing. It’s fun to be a part of. It’s fun to watch.”