NEW ORLEANS: Patrick Mahomes’ repertoire of side-arm throws, basketball-style push passes, underhanded flips and renowned improvisation humbled yet another highly regarded defense.

Mahomes passed for 254 yards and three touchdowns, and the Kansas City Chiefs extended their winning streak to nine games with a 32-29 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday (Monday in Manila).

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Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (No. 15) is hit by New Orleans Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata (No. 93) as he passes in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans on Dec. 20, 2020 (December 21 in Manila). AP PHOTO

”Patrick is more impressive than I could imagine,” said running back Le’Veon Bell, who joined the Chiefs in mid-October and scored a 12-yard touchdown on an option pitch from Mahomes. ”He’s even more impressive in person. … I’m fortunate to be his teammate.”

The Kansas City defense did its part to spoil Drew Brees’ return from rib fractures and a punctured lung that had kept the record-setting passer out four games.

While Brees passed for 234 yards and three TDs, he completed fewer than half of his passes and was intercepted for just the fourth time this season.

The victory kept the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs (13-1) in pole position to capture the AFC’s lone playoff bye as a No. 1 seed. The Saints (10-4), meanwhile, missed a chance to clinch the NFC South for a second straight week and now are longshots to capture the NFC’s top seed.

Mahomes’ scoring passes went for 5 yards each to Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman, the latter coming as the Chiefs’ agile QB backpedaled toward the left sideline to avoid pressure and released a throw to the back corner of the end zone, where Hardman was able to snag it in traffic while narrowly getting two feet inbounds.

Mahomes’ second TD toss looked more like a basketball assist, a chest-pass to tight end Travis Kelce cutting behind blockers for a 1-yard score.

Mahomes later used an underhanded forward flip to Kelce for a 2-point conversion after Bell’s TD, giving the Chiefs a 29-15 lead in the fourth quarter.

Bell’s score came one play after Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan was flagged for a personal foul and ejected for punching offensive lineman Andrew Wylie.

The Saints pulled to 29-22 when Trey Hendrickson stripped Mahomes while making his second sack of the game, setting up Alvin Kamara’s 14-yard score on a short catch and run through a swarm of players along the right sideline.

Kansas City responded with a field goal before Brees pulled New Orleans within a field goal with his 17-yard pass to Lil’Jordan Humphrey with 2:06 to go.

With two timeouts remaining, the Saints kicked deep, but could not prevent Mahomes and Co. from running out the clock.

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