It has been 50 years since the Chiefs last appeared in the Super Bowl. The drought is over. The Lamar Hunt trophy has returned home.
Chiefs Slow Start
The offense got out to another slow start and put the team in a ten-point hole…twice. Yet, once again, Patrick Mahomes and company refused to go down.
On the second drive for the Chiefs offense, they started to settle down a bit. They faced a fourth and two but promptly converted thanks to a strong possession catch by Travis Kelce. A couple of plays later, Tyreek Hill scored on an eight-yard sweep play. On the next possession, after moving downfield through the air, Mahomes hit Hill for a twenty-yard touchdown.
The offense got the ball back with two minutes before halftime. They quickly moved the ball down the field with chunk pass plays. Then, with twenty seconds left and 27 yards to go, Patrick Mahomes made magic. The Titans forced pressure, and Mahomes started to roll left. The “right” thing to do would have been to throw the ball away to save time and get to the next play. Mahomes forced two missed tackles in the backfield and started to run with the ball. He started to tiptoe the sideline as other defenders closed in.
Once again, the “right” thing to do would have been to run out of bounds to stop the clock. Then have one more shot at the endzone before the half. Except, Mahomes doesn’t live by standard football rules. We’ve seen that his entire career. He continued to play his own way and cut back into the field. He broke two tackles at the ten-yard line and then dove in for a touchdown. It is a play that will be remembered in NFL history. It is the play that propelled the Chiefs to the Super Bowl.
Putting the Game Away
In the third quarter, the Chiefs implemented the Titans strategy of grinding away the clock. They were able to grind away the third quarter with only two possessions. The second possession went into the fourth quarter and ended with a touchdown run by Damien Williams. The nail was in the coffin.
On the next possession, the Chiefs put away any doubt. Patrick Mahomes heaved the ball to Sammy Watkins for a 60-yard touchdown. The touchdown isn’t what stood out on that play. The moment before the ball left Mahome’s hand; you could hear the stadium let out a collective yell of “Sammy.” It was incredible.
Heading into the AFC Championship Game, the main storyline was Derrick Henry and how he would abuse the Chief’s defense. Someone forgot to tell the Chiefs that King Henry was going to run all over them. Henry carried the ball 19 times for 69 yards. It was the first time since week nine that Henry was held under 70 yards, it was the second time since week nine that Henry was held under 100 yards, and it was the first time since Week 15 that Henry was held to under 180 yards. Henry’s historic run started in Week 10 against the Chiefs when he rushed for 188 yards. The Chiefs started his historic run, and they ended his run.
The Titans got out to a good start going up 10-0. After the Chiefs first touchdown, the Titans matched it and made it 17-7. The offense completely died in the second half, though. The Chiefs defense shut down the run and forced the Titans to pass it. The defensive line started getting consistent pressure in the second half. Chris Jones and Terrell Suggs were played strategically, instead of the entire game, and when they were in, they made their presence known. Frank Clark and Tanoh Kpassagon combined for three sacks.
Two of the biggest plays on the day took place on defense. What stood out the most for the defense was the physicality that they played with. It was a physicality that Kansas City has not seen in several years. The first play came on a Ryan Tannehill scramble in the third quarter. It was third and long, and as he got near the first down marker, Daniel Sorenson stopped him in his tracks.
The second play came in the second half as well. The Titans threw a screen to receiver Corey Davis. Tyrann Mathieu read the play and was there to hit Davis immediately. The hit sent Davis back four yards. The physicality that the defense brought to this game stood out more than anything else.
It is hard to put into words what this victory meant to Kansas City. This is a fan base that has not seen a championship team since 1969. The AFC championship trophy brandishes the name Lamar Hunt, the Chiefs founder, yet the trophy has not been home in 50 years. Most of this fan base wasn’t alive the last time the Chiefs played in the Super Bowl.
The last five decades have been filled with anguish and heartbreak. There are generations of Chiefs fans that have never seen a championship team. As the clock struck double zeroes, fans embraced each other with tears in their eyes. All the previous heartbreak and pain fell by the wayside. There was no race, religion, or gender barriers. All the everyday struggles briefly melted away as all of Chiefs kingdom felt like champions.
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