NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- If there was any doubt about Patrick Mahomes' ability to be effective in his return to the Kansas City Chiefs' lineup, he erased it in the fourth quarter Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.
Mahomes beat the Titans' pass rush by throwing a jump pass to Mecole Hardman, who finished the play by outrunning defenders to the end zone for a 63-yard touchdown.
There was no doubt that Mahomes was at his best even before the jump pass. He missed the previous two-and-a-half games after dislocating his right knee but finished 36-of-50 for 446 yards and three touchdowns.
"The knee is feeling fine," Mahomes said afterward. "Just how we expected going into the game.
"I trust in [his doctors and trainers], and they told me I was ready to go. ... I had full confidence I was going to be able to play this game."
Even playing as well as he did, Mahomes couldn't prevent the Chiefs from losing 35-32. He made his usual variety of big throws, including the jump pass to Hardman, which Mahomes said he had been working on with quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka.
"That's Pat," Hardman said. "I think that's all you've got to say. He's Pat, so that's what he [does]. He maneuvers in the pocket. He makes throws that people can't make. I think he made his name known for doing stuff like that."
Mahomes failed to make the play that could have clinched a Chiefs victory. The Chiefs faced a third-and-2 from the Tennessee 24 with 1:36 left when they called a screen pass to tight end Blake Bell, similar to the play they used to wrap up an early-season win over the Baltimore Ravens.
"They covered it well," Mahomes said. "Their [defensive] end didn't come up the field. He sat in front of it. ... We were trying to hit [Bell], let him get up the field and get the first down and essentially win the game there. But he wasn't open."
Mahomes took a 5-yard loss instead. Afterward, the Chiefs botched a field goal attempt when holder Dustin Colquitt wasn't ready for the snap.
The Titans then took the lead, and the Chiefs missed another field goal attempt on the game's last play, this one blocked.
Mahomes, the NFL MVP in 2018, didn't need much time to get back to top form. He led the Chiefs on a touchdown drive on the game's opening possession, with the score coming on his 3-yard pass to Travis Kelce. That TD pass was his 66th in 25 career starts, breaking Dan Marino's record of 65.
Mahomes had another touchdown pass to Kelce called back because of a penalty later in the first quarter. He threw a perfectly placed, 11-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill in the back of the end zone.
"It was amazing just to see him out there, back from a bad injury just like he did," Hill said. "It was amazing to see him out there having fun, playing the game that he loves."