The Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs were bound to produce a vertigo-inducing football bacchanal, but they somehow exceeded expectations for their much-hyped showdown on Monday night. The Rams won, 54-51, and if that seems like a lot of points that’s because it is. Never before have two teams posted 50-burgers in the same game, and the result wound up being the third-highest scoring contest in NFL history. It was an embarrassment of touchdowns, one so gluttonous and thrilling that viewers couldn’t help but wonder whether or not they had witnessed the best professional football game ever.
While entertaining enough to deserve such plaudits, Rams-Chiefs was not without its faults. There were 21 total penalties called, though one could argue those flags provided some much-needed rest from the exhausting strobe-light effect caused by going from end zone to end zone for nearly four hours straight. In the ESPN booth, Jason Witten is a few Toastmasters meetings short of nailing that best man speech, but even his stilted commentary couldn’t slow down this instant classic.
The final lead change came with 1:49 left on the clock, when Jared Goff found Gerald Everett in stride for a 40-yard score. It was Goff’s fourth touchdown throw of the game, and his gaudy stat line also included 413 passing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, and 0 interceptions.
Patrick Mahomes had two opportunities to tie or grab the win after Everett’s touchdown, but the Chiefs quarterback thew a pick on each of those late possessions and handed the Rams the game. It was an ending unworthy of Mahomes’ overall performance, which included a fourth-quarter bomb to Tyreek Hill that may have disrupted The Leonids.
That was one of 6 touchdowns for Mahomes on Monday, and his 478 passing yards represented a career high. Given the historic tear he’s on, he’ll probably surpass that mark from his living room couch during the bye week.
Believe it or not, there was some actual defense played on Monday night. Like the offense, it mostly came in the form of big plays, and the two teams combined to score three defensive touchdowns. Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam tallied two himself, retuning both a Mahomes fumble and interception to the house.
Ignoring the occasional bout of defensive pique, Monday’s game was all about devouring yards and short-circuiting the scoreboard. Oddsmakers had set the over-under at 63.5 points, the highest-ever line for an NFL game, and the teams surpassed that mark on Ebukam’s interception return with 2 minutes and 14 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Chiefs and Rams represent the fast-paced, pass-happy direction in which the NFL is eagerly trying to head. Whether or not you think Monday’s game was the best you’ve ever seen, the league wants there to be more like it. Let’s hope touchdowns never get old.