SEATTLE — So many times this season, Patrick Mahomes has been the wizard on the field. The sorcerer out of the pocket. The quarterback who made the impossible suddenly realistic.
And he had those moments Sunday night in Seattle.
The mind-bending, inconceivable, break-all-the-rules side arm pass in the third quarter to tie the game at 17. The must-score fourth-quarter drive, and the ensuing two-point conversion score.
But it was Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson (18 of 29, 271 yards, 3 TD) who one-upped Mahomes’ magic late in the fourth quarter of the primetime showdown and delivered his team a 38-31 win — and a playoff berth.
With 4:36 left and the Chiefs trailing by four, Wilson shut the door on a KC comeback with a touchdown drive that included two jaw-dropping catches.
In the first, Wilson dropped a home-run pass to Tyler Lockett over rookie Chavarius Ward for a 45-yard gain to set up for an even more unbelievable pass to Doug Baldwin — also guarded by Ward — a couple plays later.
That was all Seattle needed to set up for Chris Carson’s game-sealing two-yard touchdown.
For the second week in a row, the Chiefs had a chance to clinch an AFC West title.
And for the second week in a row, the crew from Kansas City fell short thanks to self-inflicted wounds of heaping penalties (8 for 76 yards) suspect defense and costly turnovers.
With his offensive line crumbling around him play after play, Mahomes (23 of 40, 273 yards, 3 TD) couldn’t pull off the magic that he found in so many other hopeless situations throughout the season. Even in moments where he looked to have wide open receivers, Mahomes was off the mark. He overthrew tight end Travis Kelce in the end zone in the first half, and later bounced another pass off the turf that was intended for Chris Conley.
With the loss, the Chiefs left their playoff seed up in the air for another week.
Unlike the loss to the Chargers 10 days earlier, the Chiefs didn’t wait until the waning minutes of the game to lose in deflating — and avoidable — fashion.
The loss, the Chiefs’ second in a row, was a slow build, beginning in the first half and persisting through the second.
The Chiefs gave up 14 points in the first half, but the defense — which was missing Ron Parker and Kendall Fuller — played better as the half wore on. Though the unit gave up an 11-play, 78-yard touchdown drive in the Seahawks’ first possession, it recovered to hold Seattle’s next drive to a missed field goal attempt and a three-and-out on the next.
Seattle’s second touchdown was a byproduct of running back Damien Williams’ first fumble of the year. Williams, who scored the Chiefs’ first touchdown of the day, coughed up the ball at his own 23, and it was recovered by Seattle’s Jaran Reed. The Chiefs had a chance to hold Seattle to a field goal, but rookie Ward, who played in place of veteran Orlando Scandrick, was whistled for a questionable pass interference call that gave Seattle a fresh set of downs from the 1-yard-line. Wilson finished the drive two plays later with a one-yard pass to tight end Nick Varnett to give Seattle a 14-10 lead with 5:26 to go until half.
In the second quarter, the Chiefs squandered a chance to score before halftime when Conley fumbled after a long reception and turned the ball over with 10 seconds to go.
The self-destruction continued into the second half when Jordan Lucas dove in front of Seattle kicker Sebastian Janikowski to block his field goal attempt. But Lucas fell into Janikowski after the dive, knocking the kicker off his feet and drawing a roughing the kicker penalty.
That gave Seattle new life, which they capitalized on with a made field goal a few plays later to go up 17-10.
Mahomes tried to rally his team again late in the fourth quarter, leading a must-score drive with 4:36 left. After finding Demarcus Robinson for a tip-toe catch in the end zone, Mahomes kept the ball on the 2-pt conversion attempt and ran it across the goal line himself.
Trailing 31-28, Kansas City had a shred of hope thanks to Mahomes.
But Wilson quickly yanked that away with his touchdown drive.