The league’s survival is a trendy topic these days, but anyone who witnessed the 10 touchdown passes thrown by two of the league’s brightest stars — quarterbacks Jared Goff of the Rams and Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs — will put that idea to rest.
The thriller, which lit up social media with messages of disbelief from around the league, broke the “Monday Night Football” scoring record, and was the third-highest combined total in NFL history.
The pregame hype billed the two 9-1 teams as potential Super Bowl foes, and was surrounded by drama even before the kickoff.
It was slated to be hosted in Mexico City, but was relocated to Los Angeles last week when the field was deemed unsafe.
When it finally did get underway, there was a sense that both high-powered offenses could not be stopped.
“It was a whirlwind. I feel like I might need a couple beverages to relax tonight,” Rams coach Sean McVay said to reporters after the game. “Until the final few seconds, you weren’t really able to breathe.”
The difference-maker in the game was Rams’ defensive end Aaron Donald, the league leader in sacks, who stripped the ball from Mahomes twice, leading to turnovers.
‘Real life Madden’
“It was an All-Pro doing it,” said Chiefs coach Andy Reid, calling Donald — last seasons’ defensive player of the year — “the best in the business.”
“It’s hard to swallow right this minute, but we’ll be better when it’s all said and done.”
Second-year player Mahomes threw six touchdown passes — a first for Monday night — but also committed five costly turnovers. No player in the modern NFL era had reached both stats in a single game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“It felt like a college game, it was a lot of fun,” said Goff, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL draft, who threw for four touchdowns.
Goff played mostly error free, but nearly cost his team the game in the fourth quarter when he fumbled after a hit by Justin Houston.
The ball popped into the arms of defender Allen Bailey who waltzed into the endzone to give the Chiefs a 44-40 lead.
But the game featured a combined 1,001 yards of offense and nine lead changes, and there was plenty more scoring to go.
Goff led the Rams back on a touchdown drive of 75 yards on six plays, with a strike to Gerald Everett, before Mahomes threw a touchdown to Chris Conley to take the Chiefs up 51-47.
And with 58 seconds left Goff found Everett in the end zone one last time.
To punctuate the drama, Mahomes — the son of former MLB pitcher Patrick Mahomes Sr., who has been a revelation this year with his smart play and astounding arm — threw a turnover to Lamarcus Joyner to end the game.
“These are the games that you’re going to play hopefully in the playoffs,” Mahomes said. “You want to make sure you limit your mistakes but at the same time still be aggressive and still score points.”
During the game, Twitter reactions flooded in from the league, including Seahawks Pro Bowler Russell Wilson (“This game is wild! Love it.”), Saints receiver Dez Bryant (“Real life Madden!!!”) and Saints safety Marcus Williams (“This game is going to have ppl on the east coast calling in late to work tomorrow. #Unbelievable.”)
Both the 10-1 Rams and the now 9-2 Chiefs have well-earned byes next week.
Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/