Chiefs grades: Loss to Ravens was a meltdown; haven’t said that often in Mahomes Era

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Something had to give.

The Ravens had won five straight home openers. The Chiefs hadn’t been 1-1 since 2014.

The breaks went Baltimore’s way in a 36-35 victory that was sealed when Clyde Edward-Helaire lost a fumble as Kansas City was driving in the final two minutes.

Next: The Chiefs return home to meet the Los Angeles Chargers, who fell to the Dallas Cowboys 20-17 on a final-play field goal Sunday. The game kicks off at noon and will be televised by CBS (Channel 5).

KC STAR OF THE GAME

In his first game since sitting out last week in the COVID-19 protocol, Tyrann Mathieu returned an interception for a touchdown and prevented a Ravens touchdown with another pick in the end zone.

REPORT CARD

Passing offense: B

After a heavy dose of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce in the opener against the Browns, the early favorite targets were Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson, who after a juggle, grasped Patrick Mahomes’ 33-yard touchdown pass.

On another touchdown drive, Blake Bell had a 20-yard reception, and Jerick McKinnon went for 14 on his first touch for the Chiefs.

The third quarter opened and more heroes emerged. Fullback Michael Burton bulled for an 11-yard reception on a drive that ended with Byron Pringle’s 40-yard touchdown reception.

The catch and run touchdown to Travis Kelce was an amazing play by both. Mahomes was flushed and threw back. Kelce went from one side to another, picking up blocks.

Mahomes’ interception was a bad decision. He was going down and attempted to shotput a pass to Kelce that wouldn’t have picked up the first down anyway.

With a chance to bury the Ravens on the possession, the mistake gave Baltimore life and the Ravens took full advantage. The pick was the first for Mahomes in September. He had thrown 38 touchdowns in the month since 2018 before the interception

Rushing offense: D

What a disaster. Clyde Edwards-Helaire had the ball knocked from his grasp and recovered by Odafe Oweh as the Chiefs were moving into field-goal range.

There couldn’t have been a worse time for the team’s first lost fumble this season.

The Chiefs’ running game before the play wasn’t good enough. The best moment came when the offensive line did a nice job clearing a path on Darrel Williams’ 2-yard touchdown. Edwards-Helaire had a pair of 9-yard runs to open drives in the first half. The Chiefs scored touchdowns on both of them.

Passing defense: C

Tyrann Mathieu’s pick-six, his second in three seasons with the Chiefs, gave his team a lead 50 seconds into the game. The opportunity presented itself when Sammy Watkins slipped.

Mathieu’s second interception, also in the first quarter, came in the end zone to stop a Ravens scoring threat. Great first game back for the All-Pro safety.

Daniel Sorensen recorded a sack, and although the play won’t count in the official stats, L’Jarius Sneed came up with an interception on a 2-point attempt

Rushing defense: F

This has to get fixed. Lamar Jackson is a unique talent and makes choosing how to defend difficult.

But surrendering 251 yards and 6.1 yards per carry is unacceptable for a team that should be a Super Bowl contender.

The Ravens’ first touchdown drive went 75 yards. FIve of the six plays were runs, none by Jackson. After the Chiefs took a 21-14 lead with 51 seconds remaining in the second quarter, the Ravens looked cooked after a pair of penalties made it first-and-25.

But a 20-run by Ty’Son Williams and a 14-yard gain by Jackson got Baltimore into field goal range. Jackson was terrific.

And the final insult: The Chiefs couldn’t come up with a stop on Jackson on fourth-and-1 in the final minute. The Chiefs have to be better.

Special teams: B

A holding on a kickoff return pushed the start of a Chiefs possession to the 8. Otherwise, the Chiefs made good decisions for the most part. A poor decision by Hardman on a punt return — a quick fair-catch signal when it appear he had room to run — was a missed opportunity.