Nov 27, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws a pass as Los Angeles Rams linebacker Leonard Floyd (54) defends during the first half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs win 5th straight, coast past skidding Rams

Patrick Mahomes threw for a touchdown and rookie Isiah Pacheco rushed for another to fuel the host Kansas City Chiefs to a 26-10 victory over the injury-riddled Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

Mahomes connected on 27 of 42 of his passing attempts for 320 yards. He completed passes to 10 different receivers and Harrison Butker made four field goals to send the Chiefs (9-2) to their fifth straight win.

Tight end Travis Kelce reeled in a 39-yard scoring pass in the first quarter for his 12th touchdown reception of the season. Kelce finished with four catches for 57 yards.

Pacheco rushed up the middle for a 3-yard touchdown in the third quarter. The rushing touchdown was his second of the season and first since Kansas City’s 44-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 11.

Los Angeles’ Bryce Perkins threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Van Jefferson and had a team-high 44 rushing yards while making his first career NFL start. Perkins was playing in place of the injured Matthew Stafford (neck, concussion) for the Rams (3-8), who mustered just 198 total yards of offense en route to losing their fifth straight game.

To add injury to insult, Los Angeles coach Sean McVay absorbed an inadvertent shot to the jaw from the helmet of Roger Carter Jr. as the rookie tight end checked into the game.

Kelce fended off would-be tacklers before crossing the goal line to open the scoring with 5:40 to play in the first quarter. His touchdown reception capped a nine-play, 90-yard drive.

Matt Gay kicked a 47-yard field goal to begin the second quarter before Butker drilled kicks from 27 and 32 yards out to stake Kansas City to a 13-3 lead at halftime.

Pacheco extended the advantage midway into the third quarter to finish a 12-play, 71-yard drive.

The Rams trimmed the Chiefs’ lead to 20-10 on the ensuing possession, with Jefferson’s catch over the middle capping a 14-play, 75-yard drive.

L’Jarius Sneed intercepted Perkins to set up the first of Butker’s two 22-yard field goals in the fourth quarter.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (9) celebrates after a catch and run against the Tennessee Titans during overtime of the game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion) returning vs. Rams

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has exited concussion protocol and will return from a one-game absence on Sunday when the Chiefs host the Los Angeles Rams.

Smith-Schuster was a full participant in practice all week and was not given a game designation on the Chiefs’ injury report Friday.

The 26-year-old sustained the concussion during the Chiefs’ Week 10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He missed last week’s 30-27 primetime win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

In his first season with the Chiefs, Smith-Schuster is second on the team in receptions (46) and receiving yards (615) while catching two touchdowns. He spent his first five NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Fellow Chiefs receiver Kadarius Toney (hamstring) was ruled out for the Rams game. Toney, a midseason acquisition from the New York Giants, suffered the injury against the Chargers last week. Guard Joe Thuney (ankle), safety Juan Thornhill (calf) and cornerback Chris Lammons (concussion) were listed as questionable.

The Rams will be without center Brian Allen (thumb), linebacker Travin Howard (hip) and defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson (knee). Starting quarterback Matthew Stafford (concussion, neck) was ruled out Wednesday.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson (ankle), tight end Tyler Higbee (knee), center Matt Skura (knee) and tackle Ty Nsekhe (ankle) are questionable.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) is grabbed by New Orleans Saints linebacker Kaden Elliss (55) in the second quarter at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Beat-up Rams prepare for AFC-best Chiefs without top QB

The Kansas City Chiefs’ Week 12 home game against the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams likely made fans’ mouths water when the NFL released its schedule months ago.

Now, those same mouths may be offering a collective yawn when pondering Sunday afternoon’s game in Kansas City.

While Patrick Mahomes has the Chiefs (8-2) atop the AFC standings, the Rams (3-7) have been an unmitigated disaster. Oddsmakers weren’t shy about showing the difference between the teams considering Kansas City is a whopping 14.5-point favorite at Caesars Sportsbook.

“They’ve had changes to the team and injuries, those things happen — but it’s not something they planned on happening,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said of the Rams.

“At the same time, 99 (Aaron Donald), 54 (Leonard Floyd) and 5 (Jalen Ramsey) — these guys haven’t changed. … You have to get yourself ready.”

Kansas City has been ready from the get-go this season. The team leads the NFL in average points per game (30.0) and total offense (429.3 yards), while Mahomes is atop the league in passing yards (3,265) and passing touchdowns (28).

And who could forget the teams’ electric matchup nearly four years ago? Mahomes passed for a career-high 478 yards and six touchdowns in the Chiefs’ 54-51 loss to the Rams.

Last Sunday, Mahomes connected on three touchdown passes to tight end Travis Kelce to lead Kansas City to a 30-27 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Kelce had six receptions for 115 yards en route to be named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Rookie Isiah Pacheco, who rolled up a season-best 107 yards last Sunday, could see even more playing time with fellow running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire placed on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain. Ronald Jones could be in line to make his season debut with the Chiefs and join Jerick McKinnon in backing up Pacheco.

Kansas City may welcome back wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who returned to practice on Wednesday for the first time since landing in the concussion protocol two weeks ago.

“Hopefully everything goes well with the protocol and stuff like that, (and) he’s ready to go,” Mahomes said of Smith-Schuster, who leads the team’s wide receivers in both catches (46) and receiving yards (615). “To have that energy on the sideline — he’s a great player and a great teammate, and you always want to have those guys back in the huddle.”

While the Chiefs have won four in a row, the reeling Rams have lost four straight games to plummet to the bottom of the NFC West. To boot, Los Angeles ranks fourth-worst in NFL in average points per game (16.8) and third-worst in total offense (288.0 yards).

The Rams are mired in a bevy of bad news, ranging from Super Bowl LVI MVP Cooper Kupp expected to miss six-to-eight weeks with a high ankle sprain to defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson sustaining a season-ending meniscus injury.

“We’re all professionals here,” Los Angeles coach Sean McVay said. “This is our job. These are some challenging times, but you can’t jump off the roller coaster. You gotta be able to stay on track.”

Quarterback Bryce Perkins relieved Matthew Stafford (neck) in the Rams’ 27-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints last Sunday. Stafford, who also is in concussion protocol, has been ruled out against the Chiefs.

“Bryce is gonna get the majority of the work (in practice on Wednesday), and we’ll see how John (Wolford, neck) progresses throughout the week,” McVay said.

The Rams rushed for a season-high 148 yards versus the Saints, with Cam Akers grinding out 61 of those. He is in line for more playing time after the Rams waived leading rusher Darrell Henderson Jr. on Tuesday.

In addition to Stafford and Robinson, Los Angeles tight end Tyler Higbee (knee), center Brian Allen (thumb) and tackle Ty Nsekhe (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday. Wide receiver Allen Robinson (ankle), center Matt Skura (knee) and linebacker Travin Howard (hip) were limited participants.

As for Kansas City, wide receiver Kadarius Toney (hamstring) and guard Joe Thuney (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday. Safety Juan Thornhill was limited during Wednesday’s session.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (25) is tackled by Buffalo Bills linebacker Matt Milano (58) during the second half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs place RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle) on IR

The Kansas City Chiefs placed running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire on injured reserve Wednesday with a high ankle sprain.

The 23-year-old veteran will miss at least the next four games, with his earliest return coming against the visiting Seattle Seahawks on Christmas Eve.

Edwards-Helaire has rushed for 302 yards and three touchdowns and has 17 catches for 151 yards and three TDs in 10 games (six starts) this season.

While Edwards-Helaire will miss Sunday’s game between the Chiefs (8-2) and visiting Los Angeles Rams (3-7), wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster could make his return.

Smith-Schuster, 26, missed Sunday night’s 30-27 victory against the Los Angeles Chargers with a concussion. Head coach Andy Reid said Wednesday that Smith-Schuster will return to practice this week.

Smith-Schuster has 46 receptions for 615 yards and two scores in nine games (all starts) in his first season with the Chiefs.

Wide receiver Kadarius Toney (hamstring) and guard Joe Thuney (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, while tackle Lucas Niang was activated from the physically unable to perform list.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Ronald Jones (2) dives to make a tackle on Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Joshua Palmer (5) during the second quarter at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce combine for 3 TDs as Chiefs rally past Chargers

Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce connected for three touchdowns as the Kansas City Chiefs won their fourth straight game, beating the host Los Angeles Chargers 30-27 on Sunday night.

Mahomes completed 20 of 34 passes for 329 yards, and he also rushed four times for 23 yards for the Chiefs (8-2). Kelce hauled in a total of six catches for 115 yards and all three of Mahomes’ touchdown passes.

Isiah Pacheco led the Chiefs’ rushing attack with a season-best 107 yards on 15 carries.

Justin Herbert led the Chargers (5-5) by completing 23 of 30 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns. Both of Herbert’s touchdown passes were caught by Joshua Palmer, who finished with eight catches for 106 yards.

The game featured six lead changes. Kansas City pieced together its game-winning drive with under two minutes to play, as 1:46 remained on the clock after Herbert found Palmer for a 6-yard score. The Chiefs then covered 75 yards with a six-play drive that lasted just 75 seconds. Kelce hauled in a 17-yard catch for the game-winning touchdown.

Los Angeles got the chance to respond with 31 seconds to play, but Herbert was picked off by Kansas City linebacker Nick Bolton on the second play of the drive.

The Chiefs opened the scoring in the game with the first of Harrison Butker’s three field goals. The Chargers responded in just three plays as Herbert beat Kansas City’s defense over the top with a 50-yard bomb to Palmer for a touchdown.

Kansas City retook the lead early in the second quarter when Mahomes found Kelce for a 4-yard touchdown pass inside the red zone. Then, a rushing touchdown by Austin Ekeler and Cameron Dicker’s second field goal of the day gave Los Angeles a 20-13 lead heading into halftime.

After a Butker field goal in the third quarter, Kansas City retook the lead early in the fourth quarter on another connection between Mahomes and Kelce — this time for a 32-yard score.

The win keeps Mahomes’ perfect record in road divisional games intact. He is now 14-0.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (9) celebrates after a catch and run against the Tennessee Titans during overtime of the game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs WR JuJu Smith-Schuster ruled out vs. Chargers

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has been ruled out for this weekend’s game against the host Los Angeles Chargers, coach Andy Reid announced Friday.

Smith-Schuster sustained a concussion when he was hit in the third quarter of the Chiefs’ 27-17 victory over the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday.

Kansas City (7-2) also will be without wide receiver Mecole Hardman (abdominal), who was placed on injured reserve Thursday, against the Chargers on Sunday night.

Smith-Schuster, 25, has 46 catches for 615 yards and no touchdowns in nine games during his first season with the Chiefs.

He has 369 receptions for 4,470 yards and 28 touchdowns in 72 career games with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2017-21) and Chiefs.

Cornerback Chris Lammons (concussion) also has been ruled out for Sunday’s AFC West clash with the Chargers (5-4).

Lammons, 26, has six tackles and one forced fumble in nine games this season.

He has 25 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 35 career games (no starts) with the Miami Dolphins (2019) and Chiefs.

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney (19) celebrates with quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) after a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of the game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs go for division KO punch at second-place Chargers

The Kansas City Chiefs are in the driver’s seat to win the AFC West. Their chance to buckle the second-place Los Angeles Chargers into the second row comes in primetime on Sunday night in Inglewood, Calif.

After losing to the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 16, the Chiefs (7-2) have won three straight games. Most recently, Kansas City topped the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars this past weekend behind a signature performance from Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs quarterback completed 26 of 35 passes for 331 yards and four touchdowns, and he also rushed seven times for 39 yards.

The performance pushed Mahomes into the top 100 among NFL quarterbacks for career passing yards, reaching the milestone in just 72 career games.

But the buzz in Kansas City was all about Mahomes’ new offensive weapon, wideout Kadarius Toney. The Chiefs acquired the second-year player in a trade last month, sending a third- and sixth-round pick to the New York Giants. In just two games with the Chiefs, Toney has 102 yards from scrimmage on eight touches.

He scored on Kansas City’s second possession of the game, via a 6-yard strike from Mahomes.

“He’s a smart kid and he picks it up easy. Always willing to spend time at it, too,” head coach Andy Reid said of Toney. “We’re trying to give him some things that he’s done before, and then adding one or two things the last couple of weeks that he’s not used to doing so that he can continue to grow. (Mahomes) has trust in him because of the feel that he has.”

Toney could be called upon to step up for the Chiefs this week if JuJu Smith-Schuster is unable to play. The wide receiver was knocked out of the Jaguars game in the second quarter after being hit by Jacksonville safety Andre Cisco. Reid confirmed after the game that Smith-Schuster suffered a concussion.

Smith-Schuster did not practice Wednesday, and neither did fellow wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling, due to an illness. Corner Chris Lammons (concussion) and wideout Mecole Hardman (abdomen) also missed practice, while running back Jerick McKinnon (shoulder, hamstring) was limited.

The Chargers (5-4) are coming off a loss to the San Francisco 49ers and could use a win to boost their hopes of making the playoffs after missing out on the postseason with a Week 18 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders last season.

It was a quiet game for Chargers’ star running back Austin Ekeler, who finished with just 24 rushing yards on six carries. He also had seven catches for 39 yards.

Still, on the season, the Chargers are 0-3 when Ekeler has less than 10 rushing attempts.

“We need more playmaking,” Ekeler said. “We didn’t have that in the second half. We can’t just go out there and play hard. That doesn’t win in the NFL.”

Playmaking has been hindered with the absence of quarterback Justin Herbert’s top wide receivers. Keenan Allen (hamstring) hasn’t played since Week 1 and Mike Williams missed last week’s game. He has 37 catches, tied for tops among Chargers wide receivers, but 30 fewer than Ekeler’s team-leading 67.

It’s not just one position group that’s hurting.

The Chargers have battled injuries all season and finished the game against the 49ers with just three healthy defensive linemen. Los Angeles has 11 players on injured reserve. Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said the team will “probably make some acquisitions” this week.

“I think we’re trying to mine the entire NFL and try to find the best fits,” Staley said.

Three Chargers missed practice on Wednesday: kicker Dustin Hopkins (hamstring), punter JK Scott (illness) and linebacker Khalil Mack (rest), who leads the team in sacks with seven. Wide receivers Mike Williams (ankle) and Kenan Allen (hamstring) were limited Wednesday, but both are expected to play Sunday. Tight end Gerald Everett was also limited with a groin injury.

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) celebrates with wide receiver Kadarius Toney (19) after a touchdown during the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Mahomes’ 4 TD passes lead Chiefs past Jaguars

Patrick Mahomes threw four touchdown passes to four different receivers as the Kansas City Chiefs captured a 27-17 win over the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

Mahomes completed 26 of 35 passes for 331 yards, finding Travis Kelce, Kadarius Toney, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Noah Gray in the end zone. Mahomes also threw one interception as Kansas City (7-2) won its third straight game.

Kelce had six receptions for 81 yards, and Isiah Pacheco rushed for 82 yards on 16 carries.

Trevor Lawrence threw for 259 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Christian Kirk on 29-for-40 passing for the Jaguars (3-7), who have lost six of their past seven.

Travis Etienne was held to 45 yards on 11 carries, and Kirk nabbed nine catches for 105 yards.

Lawrence threw a 4-yard touchdown to Evan Engram on Jacksonville’s first drive of the third quarter, but the score was nullified due to an ineligible man downfield. The Jaguars settled for Riley Patterson’s 35-yard field goal, punctuating a march that ate 9:14 of the clock.

But Kansas City later went up by 17 as Mahomes and Kelce teamed for a 7-yard touchdown near the end of the third. Kirk’s 19-yard TD catch cut Jacksonville’s deficit to 27-17 with 5:26 remaining, but that was the closest the Jags came.

In the first half, Mahomes’ 13-yard TD strike to Gray gave the Chiefs a 20-point lead with 46 seconds left, but Jacksonville responded with a vengeance.

The Jaguars took just 31 seconds to move 61 yards in five plays, pulling to 20-7 just before the break when Lawrence found Kirk in the end zone from the Kansas City 3.

In the first quarter, Kelce’s 46-yard reception highlighted a five-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Mahomes’ short pass to Toney, who tiptoed along the sideline from 6 yards out for his first NFL touchdown and a 7-0 edge.

After Patterson missed a 51-yard field goal, Mahomes found Valdes-Scantling three plays later for an 18-yard TD to double the Chiefs’ advantage with 9:55 left in the first half.

Kansas City receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster exited the game in the second quarter after taking a hit to the head, forcing him to enter the concussion protocol.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (9) celebrates after a catch and run against the Tennessee Titans during overtime of the game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs WR JuJu Smith-Schuster injured, out vs. Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars with an apparent head injury.

Smith-Schuster was running a crossing route in the middle of the field before being hit by Jaguars safety Andre Cisco with 6:40 remaining in the second quarter. Cisco made contact with Smith-Schuster’s head but was not penalized since it appeared he had led with his shoulder.

Smith-Schuster wasn’t able to secure the ball and fell to the ground immediately. He was taken to the locker room with the help of the training staff.

Prior to exiting, Smith-Schuster had two catches for 33 yards. He entered Sunday’s game with 44 receptions for 582 yards and two touchdowns in his first season with Kansas City.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid gestures on the sidelines against the Tennessee Titans during the second half of the game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Doug Pederson guides Jags vs. former mentor Andy Reid’s Chiefs

There often comes a day when the student becomes the master. Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid is just hoping that day doesn’t come any time soon.

Reid will be pitted against one of his former disciples Sunday when the Chiefs take on the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars in an AFC showdown.

Doug Pederson is in his first year as coach of the Jaguars (3-6) but knows a thing or two about Reid after serving on his coaching staff in Kansas City and Philadelphia after also playing for him in 1999.

Reid knows Pederson will have his team ready to go.

“They look organized, and they have good energy,” Reid said of Jacksonville. “When you watch enough tape, there’s a certain trust that you can see through the players to the coaches indirectly.”

Pederson values the lessons he’s learned from Reid, but come game day, winning takes precedence.

“He’s taught me a lot about this game. It’s always fun to go against him and his teams because you know they’re going to be well coached and well disciplined,” Pederson said. “But once we tee it up, we’re focused on the game.”

In an attempt to oust his former mentor, Pederson will likely heavily utilize running back Travis Etienne, who blossomed midway through the season despite not starting the first five games.

Etienne, who missed last season due to a foot injury, has officially taken over as Jacksonville’s lead back after James Robinson was traded to the New York Jets. He’s rushed for over 100 yards in each of the last three games while recording all four of his touchdowns during that span.

Due to his increased workload, Etienne has also climbed his way up the leaderboards and now has the fifth-most rushing yards in the league (680).

“If you’re not giving that ball to one (Etienne) at least 25 times a game, what are you doing?” Jaguars tight end Evan Engram said according to the team’s website. “That kid’s special. Our offensive line is one of the best in the league, too, so we have to run the ball. That’s our identity. We have to keep going with it.”

Following a performance in which he racked up 109 yards along with two touchdowns in Jacksonville’s 27-20 win over the Las Vegas Raiders last Sunday, Etienne now turns his attention to a Chiefs defense that has struggled to contain the run as of late.

Kansas City (6-2) allowed an average of 65.8 yards on the ground through its first four games but has since surrendered an average of 138.3 over the last four.

Derrick Henry went for 115 yards as part of the Tennessee Titans’ 172-yard rushing performance against the Chiefs last weekend, but Kansas City was able to escape with a 20-17 win in overtime.

The Chiefs will be searching for their third straight win, but might be without wide receiver Mecole Hardman, who missed Wednesday’s practice with an abdomen injury.

Safety Rayshawn Jenkins (concussion) did not participate in the Jaguars’ practice on Wednesday, while Engram (back) was limited.

–Field Level Media