Chiefs Defeat Bills in Raucous AFC Championship Game

By Terrance Turner

Jan. 24, 2021

The AFC Championship Game today featured the red-hot Buffalo Bills versus the league’s best team: the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s the third straight championship game that the Chiefs have reached. If they are successful, quarterback Patrick Mahomes will become the first quarterback to reach two Super Bowls before age 26.

They were. Despite a late rally by the Bills and a violent outbreak at the end of the game, the Kansas City Chiefs triumphed. A high-scoring second half, powered by a monstrous offensive performance, sealed their victory. Their win takes them to the Super Bowl for the second straight year.

It was a wildly entertaining first half. The Buffalo Bills had field goal to start. Then punt returner Mecole Hardman, normally so sure-handed, fumbled the ball. Hardman caught the punted ball and somehow it fell out of his hands. The Bills recovered the ball near the one-yard line. They scored almost immediately. The extra-point kick was no good, but the Bills took a 9-0 lead.

The Chiefs rebounded quickly with a scoring drive. They had four first downs to start. (Three of them were by Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who recently was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year). Kelce made one of the game’s early highlights with a 16-yard play. Kansas City went 66 yards in 10 plays. And wide receiver Tyreek Hill added eight more as the first quarter came to a close.

Kansas City took off as the second quarter began. Hardman redeemed himself by running in for the touchdown. His TD run made it 9-7. The Bills added no points on their drive, but the Chiefs did. A crucial catch by Kelce took the Chiefs to 1st and goal. Then running back Darrel Williams ran down the middle, extending the ball across the goal line for the score. The Chiefs went up 14-9.

Their quarterback shined on the ensuing drive. Mahomes, in trouble, heaved the ball just as he was being spun around for a tackle. Somehow, he located Kelce for 11 yards. On the next play, he improvised again, throwing to Hill for 33 yards. Kelce got the ball next and dove for the end zone, landing at the one-yard line. That set up a touchdown run for RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Kansas City came back from a nine-point deficit to take a 21-9 lead.

The Bills reached the end zone on their drive. 1st and goal quickly became 3rd and goal. Quarterback Josh Allen was chased by the Chiefs defense and threw the ball away. On 4th and goal, Buffalo elected to go for a field goal. That kick was good. The score was 21-12 at the half.

In the second half, both offenses converted their drives into points. The Chiefs and Bills traded field goals early in the third quarter. Then the Kansas City offense exploded. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill took off for 71 yards (!!!). He got to the 4-yard line.

A holding call on Bills defender White resulted in 1st and goal. Mahomes cashed in with an underhand pass to Kelce for the touchdown. Harrison Butker nailed the extra-point kick to make it 31-15. With their backs against the wall, the Bills tried to narrow the growing lead. But Allen got picked off by Rashad Fenton.

With the lead and the ball, Kansas City got to work. Williams dashed into the end zone. Kansas City 1st and goal AGAIN. After an incompletion, a pass to Tyreek Hill went just outside his hands. For a minute, it looked like the Chiefs might have to settle for a field goal. But then Mahomes tossed the ball to Kelce, who caught it and practically walked into the end zone. That touchdown made it a three-score game. 38-15.

Things got very ugly as the fourth quarter wound down. The Bills finally managed to score, making it 38-21. They went for a two-point conversion that was no good. They did recover an onside kick — the first one in a championship game since 2014. But Allen was sacked on 3rd down. Chiefs’ Alex Okafor was involved on the tackle. Allen threw the ball at Okafor’s head in frustration.

Bills guard Jon Feliciano shoved Okafor, and then Bills tackle Dion Dawkins shoved Okafor as he was going down. Players had to be separated, and the refs had a lengthy conference to determine penalties. In the end, Feliciano, Dawkins, and Allen were all penalized; only one Chief was flagged. Yet somehow — in yet another display of laughable NFL officiating — all those penalties offset. The Bills were allowed to try a field goal, which they successfully did.

The score was 38-24 at that point, and that’s where it stayed. The Kansas City Chiefs won, qualifying for their second consecutive Super Bowl. Patrick Mahomes is now the first NFL quarterback to start in two Super Bowls before age 26, according to CBS Sports. Travis Kelce (who had two touchdowns) broke the record for most receptions (13) in a Conference Championship game.

The Chiefs are headed to their second straight Super Bowl. They will play Tampa Bay in Florida on Sunday, Feb. 7.

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 Best Saints for Ninth Straight Win

By Terrance Turner

Dec. 20, 2020

It got close late, but the Kansas City Chiefs got the win today in New Orleans. The Chiefs edged the New Orleans Saints to win today’s highly anticipated match, 32-29. It was the Chiefs’ ninth straight win. That gives them a record of 13-1 for the season — the best record in the NFL.

According to Sports Illustrated, the Saints won the opening coin toss and gave the Chiefs the first opportunity with the ball. “Patrick Mahomes and company came out with a good play to start the drive, getting a first down quickly. However, the Saints defense was able to counter and get off the field on a 3rd-and-5 after Mahomes couldn’t hit Tyreek Hill. Drew Brees officially returned to the field for New Orleans, but the team’s first drive resulted in a three-and-out after he couldn’t get Tre’Quan Smith for the conversion.”

The second Chiefs drive resulted in their own three-and-out. The Saints had an early interception on Mahomes, courtesy of Marcus Williams. But an illegal contact penalty by Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins wiped that out. Jenkins followed up by making a 5-yard tackle for loss on a Tyreek Hill catch. New Orleans would hold firm on the next plays, forcing a punt after a great pass breakup down field from C.J. Gardner-Johnson on Mecole Hardman.

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees got picked off by L’Jarius Sneed, giving the Chiefs the ball. They cashed in a few plays later. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes found tight end Travis Kelce for a big third-down conversion and then scrambled 13 yards to the Saints’ 11-yard line. Then he found wide receiver Tyreek Hill for a 5-yard touchdown, giving the Chiefs a 7-0 lead.

They would add to that lead later. After a three-and-out by the Saints, the Chiefs took over and scored again. Mahomes connected with Kelce for a touchdown early in the second quarter. That gave Kansas City a 14-0 lead as the quarter got underway. (Kelce’s 10 touchdowns this year tie a career high.) The Saints got the ball. QB Drew Brees found WR Emmanuel Sanders for a 51-yard completion. Three plays later, he connected with Taysom Hill for the touchdown. That TD capped a 7-play, 66-yard drive for New Orleans and put them on the board, 14-7.

With 10:21 left in the quarter, both teams embarked on unsuccessful drives. Both teams ended up having to punt. Andrus Peat got hurt on the Saints drive and limped his way to the locker room. After another unsuccessful drive, Chiefs punt returner Demarcus Robinson got stripped of the ball. It went out of the end zone, resulting in a safety. The score was 14-9 at the half.

In the third quarter, the Saints went 75 yards in 4 plays, per SI. They hit paydirt when Brees hooked up with running back Latavius Murray for a 24-yard scoop-and-score. That gave them the lead, 15-14. But a two-point conversion attempt was no good. So it remained a one-point game in the New Orleans Superdome…but not for long.

On their drive, Mahomes stunned viewers and announcers with a dramatic scoring play. He launched a narrow pass to receiver Mecole Hardman, who caught the ball, planted his foot, and then dragged the other to make the catch. At first it appeared that the catch and been out of bounds, but upon replay it was clear that Hardman — somehow — had made the catch. It put the Chiefs ahead 21-15.

There was a wild sequence in the fourth quarter. Saints defender Cameron Jordan tangled with #77 from the Chiefs and was flagged for unnecessary roughness. The referee later added that Jordan had thrown a punch, which connected. Jordan was disqualified from the game. On the very next play, Mahomes tossed the ball to running back Le’Veon Bell, who rushed in for the touchdown. Kelce surged into the end zone for a successful two-point conversion. That gave them a commanding 29-15 lead.

The Saints would score afterward, courtesy of RB Alvin Kamara. That made it 29-22. But the Chiefs tacked on a field goal (by Harrison Butker) to extend the lead. The Saints countered with another score of their own, but it was too late. The Chiefs won, 32-29.

This was a significant game on several fronts. This was the first meeting between quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees. It was Brees’ first game back in nearly a month — he suffered 11 fractured ribs and a punctured lung (!!!) in the last game he played. And his return was against a quarterback his own kids love.

Reporter Tracy Wolfson said that Brees’ three sons want Chiefs jerseys for Christmas — one boy wants a signed jersey from Mahomes, another a jersey from Hill, another from running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Speaking of Edwards-Helaire, he suffered what looked like a gruesome leg injury towards the end of the game. But it may not be as severe as it appeared: he reportedly has a high-ankle sprain and a strained hip. Edwards-Helaire may be rehabbed in time for next month’s divisional playoff game.

Update (Dec. 21, 2020): Both Mahomes and Kelce have been selected for this year’s Pro Bowl. They are among seven Chiefs to be voted into the game; the Packers and Seahawks also have seven players apiece. Kelce is also nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, which honors players for excellence on the field and for their volunteer/charity work.

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.”

Tyreek Hill Helps Chiefs (Barely) Beat Buccaneers

Terrance Turner

The offensive fireworks were in major supply as the Kansas City Chiefs played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today. At Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida, the two teams battled mightily for advantage in a hard-fought match. But it was the Chiefs who would prevail — barely.

The Chiefs scored first with a field goal. On a subsequent drive, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes stunned viewers with a 75-yard pass to wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Then Mahomes connected with Hill again! Hill made a huge catch, ran past defenders, and backflipped into the end zone for a touchdown that put Kansas City up 17-0.

But the Buccaneers weren’t going down without a fight. Mahomes hurled a pass to make it 1st and goal, but he fumbled the ball after a tackle by Berry. The Bucs recovered and launched their own drive. Holding penalties on both teams ensued. But the drive nonetheless generated four first downs. Bucs Tight end Rob Gronkowski made a pivotal grab near first down and then caught a dramatic 29-yard pass that set up 1st and goal. Then Ronald Jones scored a touchdown after a long-legged run to the end zone.

The Chiefs regained possession and got to business on a workmanlike drive. Demarcus Robinson gained 10 yards on one play and nine on another;; Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce had nine yards on one play and eight on the next. A field goal by Harrison Butker made it 20-7 at the half.

The Buccaneers got the ball to start the second half. They soon began a field-goal drive of their own. A highlight-reel completion by Gronkowski went 48 yards and enabled a chip-shot field goal. Bucs kicker Ryan Succop drilled a kick through the uprights to make it 20-10.

After a tense moment of jawing between Brady and Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones, the Chiefs took over. After an improbable nine-yard run by running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Mahomes took off on a 17-yard run. That opened the door for a touchdown. Mahomes found Hill AGAIN for a 21-yard score. This was Hill’s third touchdown of the day.

Hill finished the day with 13 catches for three touchdowns and 269 yards — the most ever versus the Bucs, according to writer Greg Auman. Mahomes would finish with 462 yards and three touchdowns.

The Bucs had a feast-and-famine drive. Brady threw a stellar 46-yard throw to Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin — then threw an interception. But the Chiefs failed to capitalize on the takeaway; they went three-and-out on their drive. Brady was later intercepted again, by Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu. But once again, the Chiefs did nothing with the turnover, going three-and-out.

The Bucs took advantage of that offensive stagnation. On 4th and 3, Brady found Mike Evans for a 31-yard touchdown. They nearly got the ball back after Mahomes was intercepted. But Tampa Bay defender Jason Pierre-Paul was flagged for roughing the passer. That left Mahomes with no picks; today Mahomes threw for 462 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions.

A first-and-goal stand by the Chiefs was gradually undone by two holding penalties (both on lineman Eric Fisher). Then the Chiefs began racking up defensive penalties: Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark was penalized TWICE for roughing the passer, costing the team valuable yardage. Those fouls placed the ball near the goal line, and the Bucs cashed in when Brady located Evans for their second TD of the day.

The Chiefs took over with just four minutes left and deftly worked the clock. On 3rd and 7, Mahomes threw to Hill — who saved his team by making the catch for a crucial first down. The Chiefs let the remaining time run out, strategizing successfully to manage the clock. That helped them seal a narrow victory. The Chiefs won, 27-24.

The Chiefs improve to 10-1. The only team with a better record in the NFL is the 10-0 Pittsburgh Steelers (who play the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday night). The Buccaneers fall to 7-5 after losing their second straight game, according to USA Today.