It wasn’t a dream Chiefs fans, the drought really is over! For the first time in a quarter of a century, the Kansas City Chiefs won a playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium. And they did it in dominating fashion. There were a few different factors that led to this Kansas City victory. Let’s recap this Chiefs-Colts playoff game.
Considering how well the Chiefs played on offense this season, and the hot streak that the Colts offense was riding, the Kansas City defense could not have played any better. From the talk of how Marlon Mack was going to run all over them, to the dominant Colts offensive line and the Colts ability to convert almost any kind of third down, the story of the game turned out to be the way KC’s defense played.
Part of the Colts having to throw more early than maybe they wanted to, was because of the Chiefs scoring two touchdowns right off the bat. But, there was also an urge to try and push the ball upfield after early three and outs. Indianapolis went three and out in their first four drives, gaining just 21 yards in that span. Kansas City was able to make some run stops behind the line of scrimmage. Plus, their man coverage forced Andrew Luck to either hold the ball too long and take a sack, or his throws would have a low probability of being caught. There were also a fair share of drops by the Colts receivers too.
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In the final drive of the first half, Indianapolis finally picked up a first down and was finding success by completing passes in their no-huddle offense. They did everything right on that drive except score. Kicker Adam Vinatieri torpedoed a low kick square into the left upright and missed it. So going into halftime, the Chiefs defense had gone six straight quarters without allowing a touchdown.
In the second half, the pass rush and third-down defense kept finding success. The Colts punted three more times and had a fumble lost before they eventually reached the end zone with 5:31 remaining in the fourth quarter. The touchdown was Luck’s best throw of the day, a 29-yard drop into TY Hilton‘s breadbasket. Vinatieri would miss the extra point though, and from then on the Chiefs defense would help the team finish the job to get the win.
It’s still awestruck to look at how well the Chiefs defense played based on stats. Besides one first down coming from a penalty, Kansas City only allowed 14 first downs on 11 total drives. All those three and outs early on were not the only third-down success the Chiefs defense had. Indianapolis finished 0/9 on third down conversions for the day.
From the beginning, it was going to be a long day for the Colts zone defense going up against Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes took what was given to him and hit throws downfield for the most part. Other times, Mahomes would dump it back over the middle after having to roll out of the pocket. There were no passing touchdowns for Mahomes, but his steady, efficient game paved the way for a big day from the Chiefs offense. We knew Indianapolis had struggled against tight ends, so it was no surprise that Travis Kelce enjoyed a big game. Having Sammy Watkins improved the offense’s fortunes too.
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The rushing attack worked towards a big day by receiving plenty of good blocking up front. As good as the Colts offensive line is, the Chiefs can bully defensive fronts just as well. Damien Williams led the way in rushing with 129 yards on the ground. Mahomes also did his part when he needed to tuck and run. Tyreek Hill had a good day receiving, but his 36-yard touchdown on a reverse was almost too easy for him.
The offense did stall a tad in the second half, but for the most part, they were gaining enough yards each play where nothing was too drastic for the offense to have to pick them up out of a hole.
Unlike past playoff letdowns, the Chiefs played a pretty clean game. The only couple of penalties that came at once led to the only success the Colts had in the first half: a blocked punt. There was just a little bit of miscommunication and timing issues on the blocked punt, but the Chiefs did not let that hiccup lead to a downfall.
With the 31-13 victory, the Chiefs will host the Patriots next week. For the first time ever, Arrowhead Stadium will be the home of the AFC Championship Game.
Yet another first, the Big 12 became the Big 12 Conference in 1996. 22 years later, Mahomes became the FIRST ever quarterback from a Big 12 school to ever win a playoff game.
Thank you for reading. Enjoy the Chiefs Divisional Round victory. In preparation for Championship Sunday, be sure to check out Full Press Coverage for all of your NFL needs.