Chiefs Beat Browns In Dramatic Finish

By Terrance Turner

Jan. 17, 2021

The Kansas City Chiefs played the Cleveland Browns today in Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City Missouri. The Chiefs (14-1) are seeking a second consecutive Super Bowl berth; Cleveland is in the playoffs for the first tine since 2002. It was high drama in Arrowhead today, but Kansas City somehow pulled off yet another close-call, heart-stopping win.

On their opening drive, Kansas City had 5 runs and four passes before the climactic scoring plays. On 3rd and 2, wide receiver Tyreek Hill got a first-down catch. On 1st and goal, Williams was just short. Then quarterback Patrick Mahomes ran into the end zone for a touchdown. Kicker Harrison Butker missed the extra-point kick, but Mahomes’ 1-yard run put the team ahead 6-0.

The Browns mounted a drive in spite of an injury to their left tackle. At 3rd and 21, they barely evaded a delay of game. On 4th and 17, a 46-yard field goal was good. That made it 6-3. The Chiefs took back over. Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman had a 41-yard run, then picked up nine more on the next play for a first down. Byron Pringle also achieved a first-down to end the first quarter.

The second quarter began with a near-catastrophe. After a disastrous snap, Mahomes managed to snap the ball to Hill. Mahomes ran near the two-yard line, but a holding penalty on Austin Reiter wiped out the gain. On 2nd and 17, tight end Travis Kelce had a 20-yard touchdown reception. This time, the extra point was good. That made it 13-3.

The Browns had worse luck. WR Jarvis Landry had a great catch negated by a holding penalty. Running back Bradley Chubb dropped two passes. Then, on 3rd and 20, the ball was batted back and sonehow caught by QB Baker Mayfield. But the team still lost eight yards on the play.

The Chiefs’ drive saw two penalties on the offense, and Mahomes struggled with a foot injury sustained earlier. Though he ran 13 yards for a first down, Mahomes was gimpy. He walked gingerly after each successive play. The Chiefs were stopped on 3rd down by Browns defensive end Adrian Clayborn, setting up a field goal. Kicker Harrison Butker drilled a 50-yard field goal to make it 16-3.

The Browns got the ball back, embarking on a promising drive. They managed a 26-yard play at the two-minute warning. Wide receiver Tee Higgins had 23 yards and got the ball on the next play. Higgins was this close to scoring. But as he dived towards the end zone with the ball, he collided with Chiefs defender Daniel Sorensen. The ball was knocked free and bounced in the end zone. The result was a touchback, resulting in a first down for Kansas City. They cashed in on the turnover. Butker nailed a 28-yard field goal attempt to make it 19-3 at the half.

In the second half, the momentum switched wildly. Safety Tyrann Mathieu had a huge interception — the first in 10 games by Baker Mayfield. But the Chiefs did nothing with it. Butker missed a 33-yard field goal. That miss would be costly: the Browns scored on their next possession to make it 19-10. Then Mahomes got hurt on the Chiefs’ next drive: what looked like a big shoulder-to-shoulder hit took him to the ground. Mahomes needed help getting up and looked woozy as he went to the sideline. He would soon jog to the locker room, where he was evaluated. Mahomes has a concussion. He was ruled out for the rest of the game.

Backup QB Chad Henne came in. On 4th and inches, Chiefs running back Darrel Williams took off for a first down. Then he gained 17 yards. But the Browns stopped the Chiefs on 3rd down. On 4th down, Kansas City elected to go for a field goal. This time, Butker came through, making a 33-yard field goal to extend the lead. The Chiefs led, 22-10.

The Browns ran all over the Chiefs defense, converting two fourth downs. The eight-minute drive was successful; running back Kareem Hunt ran in for the touchdown. (Hunt formerly played for Kansas City.) That made it 22-17.

A promising Chiefs drive ended horribly. Tyreek Hill made an incredible catch in contested coverage, pinning the ball to his thigh. (Cleveland challenged the play, to no avail.) Then Travis Kelce made a great catch. But it was wiped out by a late flag; a “chopback block” cost them 15 yards. Then Henne threw an interception.

The Browns took over. But the Chiefs defense stepped up. They managed to shut down the Browns offense, forcing Mayfield to throw the ball away and then tackling Kareem Hunt. That gave the Chiefs the ball back. And as the fourth quarter ran under five minutes, the pressure on the Kansas City Chiefs was immense. They had the lead, and the ball. But could they hold on?

Yes! On a heart-stopping final drive, the Chiefs moved down the field. On 3rd and 14, Henne ran 13 yards and dove head-first towards a Browns defender, sacrificing his body to make the play. He came just inches from the first down marker and was ruled just short. On 4th and inches, Chiefs coach Andy Reid made a gamble. But it paid off big: Henne threw to Hill for a first down, ending the game. The Chiefs won, 22-17. They will face the Bills in the AFC Championship Game.

After the game, Chiefs coach Andy Reid provided background on Mahomes’ injury and condition: “He got hit in the back of the head, and it kind of knocked the wind out of him,” Reid said, “so we took him out. He’s doing great right now, which is a real positive as we looked at this.” Reid added: “He’s actually doing really well. I just talked to him and he’s doing good. We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”

UPDATE (Jan. 18, 2021): Today, Coach Reid said that Mahomes is still in concussion protocol: “He’s in the protocol, and we’ll just follow that and see how he does here in the next couple days,” Reid said Monday, per Matt McMullen. But Reid admitted: “I can’t tell you from a medical standpoint where he’s at. I don’t know that.”

He added: “There’s a day-to-day plan on that and how they go about it. Especially if a player staggers right there, they’ve got to go through some things. That ends up being important.” It is unclear if Mahomes will be able to play in next week’s AFC Championship Game.

Meanwhile, Mahomes’ backup Chad Henne drew praise for his performance at the end of the game. Tight end Travis Kelce praised Henne for his “gutsy play”, saying: “Everybody knew that he had that in him to be able to put his body on the line for the team, and we love him for it.” Kelce lauded Henne for his professionalism and work ethic: “First of all, he’s a professional. He comes to work every single day, knowing that he’s just a snap away from calling the plays and leading us to victory. Second of all, he’s a competitor, man. That guy — no matter what it is — he’s ready and he’s fired up and ready to go, and we love him for it.”

Chiefs #1 After Close Wins vs. Broncos, Dolphins, and Falcons

By Terrance Turner

Dec. 6, 2020 (Updated Dec. 13, 2020)

The offense took a while to warm up, and its run defense continued to be poor, but the Kansas City Chiefs prevailed. High-level play by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, a deft interception by safety Tyrann Mathieu, and late-game heroics by kicker Harrison Butker helped the team win. The Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos 22-16 tonight in Arrowhead Stadium, earning a spot in the NFL playoffs.

Denver began with a field goal. The Chiefs responded with a field goal drive of their own. “Alert! Alert!” said quarterback Patrick Mahomes to his teammates. “Roll it back! Roll it back!” he said afterward. It turned out that the play was a decoy. According to NBC Sports announcers, Mahomes was at first indicating a running play, but then reverted to the original play call: throwing the ball to Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. That catch was good for 19 yards.

Then, on 3rd and 4, Sammy Watkins made a catch to get the first down. As announcer Al Michaels noted, Mahomes dealt with the blitz simply — “throw the ball on top of the blitz”. Then Mahomes found Kelce for another 19-yard play. With that play, Kelce passed 1,000 yards for the season. He is the first tight end in NFL history with five straight 1,000-yard seasons.

Later, the play was followed by an unbelievable near-miss: receiver Tyreek Hill caught the ball in the end zone, then lost it — and then regained possession as he landed. The ball never touched the ground. That should’ve been a touchdown, but the refs failed to recognize it, and the catch only became clear on replay. By that point, it was too late to challenge. But the play will surely inspire all kinds of watercooler discussion tomorrow.

That proved to be a costly mistake. The damage could have been averted had the Chiefs defense actually been able to stop the run. But on 3rd down, Broncos running back Melvin Gordon ran 63 yards, dashing past Chiefs defenders for one missed tackle after another. That led to a touchdown by the Broncos.

A horse-collar tackle on the Broncos led to a 15-yard penalty. That gave Chiefs a first-down. Hill went to the 24-yard line, and Mahomes took off on a daring run to the four-yard line. That put them at first and goal. Yet despite that auspicious start, the Chiefs were unable to break through to the end zone. They settled for a field goal.

Denver took over with the ball and attempted a long field goal, with the help of reliable kicker Brandon McManus. But the 57-yard kick was no good. The score remained 10-6. The Chiefs took over, and Kelce notched another first-down catch. The Chiefs made it to 1st and goal (again). But thanks to a batted-down pass by a Denver defender, the Chiefs had to settle a field goal.

That proved to be the story of the half. Chiefs moved down the field efficiently, but were stopped four times in the end zone. Thanks to the stout Broncos defense, the Chiefs had to settle for four field goals. Three of those field goals came in the first half; the last one made it 10-9 at halftime.

But the offense finally broke through in the second quarter. After a Denver touchdown that put the ahead 16-12, Mahomes got the Broncos defense to jump offsides, then hurled a pass to Kelce for the Chiefs’ first touchdown of the night. That made it 19-16. As the fourth quarter neared its close, kicker Harrison Butker drilled a field goal to make it 22-16. The Broncos tried to mount a game-winning drive, but Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu intercepted QB Drew Lock to seal the win.

With this win, the Chiefs are in the playoffs! This is their seventh straight win, according to NBC Sports. This takes them to 11-1 for the season. Mahomes celebrated by crashing Kelce’s postgame interview, pouring cold water down his neck in the cold. (Photo above — and video below — courtesy of Twitter.)

UPDATE (Dec. 13, 2020): The Chiefs won again today, scoring 27 straight points to overcome an early lead by the Miami Dolphins. Mahomes threw three interceptions for the first time ever, but he also threw two touchdowns and 393 yards. Kelce scored a touchdown in today’s game. So did Mecole Hardman, who returned a punt all the way to the house for 67 yards. Chris Jones sacked Miami’s rookie quarterback for a safety, for a 30-10 Chiefs lead. A field goal by Harrison Butker late in the fourth quarter helped ice the game. The Chiefs beat the Dolphins 33-27; this is their 10th straight road win. They improve to 12-1, winning their AFC West division for the fifth straight season.

UPDATE (Dec. 27, 2020): The Kansas City Chiefs are now 14-1 The Atlanta Falcons had a chance to tie their game versus the Chiefs today and go into overtime. But the Falcons’ field-goal kick was no good. Mahomes exulted, running down the sideline and ripping off his mask in excitement. He had good reason to be excited: the Chiefs won, 17-14. They clinch home-field advantage and a first-round bye in the playoffs.

This is the team’s 10th straight win. It’s also the seventh win to come by six points or less. (Today, the team won by three points — the same margin by which they beat the Saints last week. Their victories against the Broncos and Dolphins were by six points apiece. They narrowly defeated the Bucs by three points, the Raiders by four, and the Panthers by two.) At 14-1, the Kansas City Chiefs have the league’s best record. They have attained the #1 seed and automatically advance to the next round of the NFL playoffs, which start on January 9.

Also, Travis Kelce made history: he has 1,416 receiving yards this season, the most ever by a tight end. He also became the first tight end to record a pair of 100-catch seasons, according to NBC Sports. But it was the team’s stellar record that impressed Kelce most: “The real record I’m proud of right now is that it’s the first time the #Chiefs have ever been 14-1,” he told reporters after the game. “And we’re gonna try and make it 15-1 next week.”