KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs’ protection had heard the refrain of critics all season lengthy, those that claimed their sieve-like line and shaky backfield would spoil younger celebrity Patrick Mahomes and price them an opportunity to chase their first Tremendous Bowl look in many years.
Nicely, that protection is a giant cause why the Chiefs are one step away.
With persistent snow turning Arrowhead Stadium right into a winter wonderland, the Chiefs efficiently shut down Andrew Luck and the potent Indianapolis Colts on Saturday.
Mahomes and the remainder of their very own high-powered offense took care of the remaining, rolling to a 31-13 victory within the divisional spherical to finish 25 years of playoff frustration.
“We’re such a unique staff,” stated Mahomes, who threw for 278 yards whereas operating for a rating. “We now have such younger gamers. We now have such confidence we’ll win each single recreation.”
Damien Williams ran by means of snow and muck for 129 yards and one other rating, and Tyreek Hill had 72 yards receiving and a landing run, because the Chiefs beat Indianapolis for the first time in 5 playoff conferences to earn their first AFC title recreation look since January 1994.
The AFC West champions will play the winner of Sunday’s recreation between the division-rival Los Angeles Chargers and the New England Patriots subsequent weekend for a spot within the Tremendous Bowl in Atlanta.
“We needed to mild up the town,” Chiefs defensive sort out Chris Jones stated. “We did not need to take the highway down reminiscence lane.”
Andrew Luck was held to 203 yards passing for the Colts, whereas Marlon Mack was a non-factor on the bottom. He had 46 yards speeding earlier than leaving late within the fourth quarter with a hip damage.
“Was not anticipating it to finish right this moment,” Colts coach Frank Reich stated. “We knew we had been going up in opposition to an excellent staff, a really well-coached staff. It is arduous to lose. It is arduous to lose if you’ve come this far with the staff that we have now and the blokes that we have now, so credit score to the Chiefs.
“They outcoached us, they outplayed us,” Reich stated. “We simply gave them too many alternatives.”
The Chiefs got down to change historical past from the opening minutes, after they compelled a three-and-out after which waltzed proper over a Colts protection that almost shut out the Texans per week in the past. Mahomes and Co. scored on their first three possessions , then once more simply earlier than halftime, to take a 24-7 lead.
If there was any query whether or not this is able to be Kansas Metropolis’s day, it was answered when Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri missed a 23-yard field-goal attempt off the upright simply earlier than halftime. It was the primary time in 22 postseason makes an attempt that he’d missed from that shut.
Not that the Chiefs thought they’d it wrapped up.
They’ve had greater playoff meltdowns in opposition to the Colts.
There was the 10-7 loss wherein Lin Elliott missed three subject objectives when the Chiefs had been the No. 1 seed, and the loss at Arrowhead Stadium in 2003 wherein no person punted. 5 years in the past, they blew a 38-10 second-half lead in opposition to Luck and the Colts to spoil Andy Reid’s first season.
Not this time.
Not with this Kansas Metropolis quarterback.
After shattering practically each franchise passing document, Mahomes picked up proper the place he left off in his regular-season finale. He led the Chiefs on landing drives of 90 and 70 yards to open the sport, rapidly recognized a favourite goal in Travis Kelce, and shook off a banged-up knee to scramble for a landing late within the first half to offer his staff a giant cushion.
In fact, the Chiefs (13-4) did not want it the way in which their protection was taking part in.
The Colts (11-7) went three-and-out on their first 4 possessions, had been outgained 185-12 within the first quarter, and Luck did not full a cross till he discovered T.Y Hilton early within the second.
Their lone vibrant spot got here when Zach Paschal recovered a blocked punt for a landing .
Even when the Colts caught a break and Sammy Watkins fumbled the ball to them late within the third quarter, they had been fast to offer it again. Dee Ford stripped Luck and fellow linebacker Justin Houston plopped on the ball, ruining one other red-zone alternative.
“It appeared just like the rushers had been getting there all evening,” Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller stated. “Guys sticking protection, taking part in good method, good eyes and issues like that.”
The Colts lastly scored an offensive landing with 5:31 left within the recreation. However within the good summation of their awful afternoon, their erstwhile star kicker missed the additional level.
By that time, the get together within the stands already had begun.
The Chiefs had misplaced six straight house playoff video games, together with heartbreakers to Pittsburgh and Tennessee the previous two years. However a proud franchise that gained its solely Tremendous Bowl title with Len Dawson in 1970, and final performed for a spot behind Joe Montana, is as soon as extra one step away.
“I am simply blissful for these guys on this locker room,” Kelce stated. “Playoff wins are arduous to return by, not to mention wins within the NFL. So, I imply, it is simply thrilling for us to have the ability to play subsequent week.”