The Kansas City Chiefs came into their Week 4 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the underdogs, but it was evident from the very beginning that they were on a mission.
Whether it was the opening kickoff that Tampa Bay fumbled, Kansas City's early points or the ability of both sides to do what was necessary to keep a lead going in the second half, things were rolling for the visitors at Raymond James Stadium. Behind arguably the best-called offensive game of the year and some timely defensive plays, the Chiefs secured a 41-31 win and rose to 3-1 on the year.
Here are four takeaways from Sunday's game.
1. So much for a slow start
After putting up a ton of points in Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals, the Chiefs' offense sputtered a bit against the Los Angeles Chargers and Indianapolis Colts in back-to-back weeks. That was not the case on Sunday night, as Patrick Mahomes's opening quarter of going 9-for-12 with 75 passing yards and a touchdown set the tone. Travis Kelce dominated in the opening frame as well, hauling in five passes for 53 yards. When combining that with 28 Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushing yards and another 16 from rookie Isiah Pacheco, it was easy to see that Kansas City was focused early and often. Moving forward, that's a welcomed development for Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy.
2. Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are historically good
Not only were the Chiefs' two best players doing their usual great things against the Buccaneers, but they made more history in doing so. Early in the outing against Tampa Bay, Kelce cracked the top five in career receiving yards by a tight end. Coming out of the halftime break, Mahomes broke Matthew Stafford's record and became the fastest quarterback to reach 20,000 career passing yards. Kansas City witnesses just how elite the duo of Mahomes and Kelce is every week, and Sunday night's game was yet another example of it. The team has something special on its hands not just among players currently in the league, but also among all players to ever step on the field.
3. The Chiefs got things back on track
This is more of a catch-all takeaway. Following an uninspiring win over the Chargers and the disappointing loss to the Colts, questions about this year's Chiefs team loomed. Was the offense able to put the pieces together against a formidable opponent? Could the play-calling be cohesive and precise enough to put a new-look unit in a good position to succeed? Did Steve Spagnuolo's defense get off to an anomaly of a start? While many answers still have yet to be found long-term, this was a monumental win for Kansas City.
Being 3-1 heading into a divisional game and a projected flat-out battle against a premier opponent in consecutive weeks is a much better spot to be in than stumbling in at 2-2. The Chiefs, despite their flaws and despite this being a long season, can hold their heads high after being able to right the ship and stop what could've been a multi-game losing streak. The Buccaneers are no slouch of a foe to face, and Kansas City made relatively easy work of them. That matters, especially following such a bad Week 3.
4. Orlando Brown Jr. is continuing to struggle
Two things must be pointed out before continuing. First, Orlando Brown Jr. could still be dealing with a nagging injury that has caused him to land on the injury report this year. Secondly, a closer look at the film later in the week will give a more quantifiable picture of Brown's performance against the Buccaneers. With both of those in mind, however, it's still worth mentioning that the Chiefs' starting left tackle is not playing like a franchise-level player roughly a quarter into the regular season.
While Brown's run-blocking prowess and raw strength are still impressive, he's struggled in pass protection all year long and isn't improving. Some matchups will pose more serious challenges than others and Brown wasn't catastrophically bad on Sunday, but a player who sought out a hefty payday during the offseason and missed part of training camp as a result of that cause isn't living up to expectations right now. Brown can still improve throughout the season — as he did in 2021 — although things aren't looking particularly great at the moment for Mahomes's blindside protector.