The last time the Kansas City Chiefs won a playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium, it was Jan. 8, 1994. Led by Joe Montana, the Chiefs won on an overtime field goal by Nick Lowery. Lowery is now 62 years old.
Pat Mahomes had just finished his second major-league season, pitching for the Minnesota Twins. About 20 months later Mahomes had a son, Patrick II.
There has been a lot of heartache for Chiefs fans since that playoff win, particularly at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs were dealt six straight home playoff losses. That’s an NFL record. From 1994 to Saturday they had one playoff win, period, against an overmatched Houston Texans team in the wild-card round three seasons ago.
None of that will matter with two more wins. The Chiefs, who blew a second half lead in a home playoff game against the Tennessee Titans last season, kept mauling the Colts in a dominant 31-13 win, snapping that NFL record streak of consecutive home playoff losses. There would be no crazy, heartbreaking loss on Saturday. The Chiefs won, and for the first time ever, Kansas City will host a conference championship game.
The New England Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers couldn’t have watched Saturday’s game on a snow-littered field and been too excited about the prospect of going to Arrowhead Stadium next Sunday. The Chiefs’ home stadium is loud, perhaps the loudest outdoor venue in the NFL (we hear your objection, Seattle fans). Cars were lined up outside the stadium on Saturday, hours before parking lots even opened. For next week’s AFC title game, fans might start to line up on Monday.
The crowd next Sunday will be insane, as it hopes to see the Chiefs get to the Super Bowl for the first time since Super Bowl IV. And this Chiefs team, led by dynamic future MVP Mahomes, is just as intimidating after what it did to the Colts.
Chiefs started fast against Colts
The first drive let everyone know what kind of game it would be. As they’ve done most of the season, the Chiefs were practically unstoppable right out of the gate.
There was an 11-yard pass to Tyreek Hill, a 16-yard play to Travis Kelce, then 34 yards to Sammy Watkins. The drive ended with a really nice 10-yard run by Damien Williams. The Chiefs led 7-0 and it was surprisingly easy. The entire afternoon ended up being easy.
This is what the Chiefs have done all season. Mahomes became the second quarterback ever to throw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in a season. Mahomes is fantastically talented, but he also has countless weapons to work with, and Reid has done an outstanding job with Mahomes and the offense.
The concern with the Chiefs late in the season was whether their defense could keep pace, and that was no problem on Saturday.
Chiefs defense dominated entire game
It’s rare to see a good offense look as bad as Indianapolis did on Saturday. Through the first 28 minutes against the Chiefs, the Colts had 21 yards and no first downs. The only points they had into the fourth quarter came on a blocked punt.
The Chiefs’ pass rush often bothered Andrew Luck, which was shocking considering how well the Colts protected Luck all season. Kansas City allowed virtually nothing in the run game. And when Luck did have time to throw, his receivers got no separation.
In a way it seemed reminiscent of the 2006 Colts. That year, a bad Indianapolis defense simply flipped a switch and played very well through the playoffs, as that team led by Peyton Manning brought home a Super Bowl. The Chiefs defense hadn’t looked this good all season, and then against a hot offense led by Luck, it suddenly looked great.
Before we talk about the Chiefs pulling a 2006 Colts, they have to win an AFC championship game against the Chargers or Patriots next Sunday. But that game will be at Arrowhead Stadium. And with the way the Chiefs looked on Saturday, they’re going to be tough to beat.
Chiefs fans have waited a long time for this. Rest up your vocal cords Kansas City, you have a big game coming next week.
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