KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- After 25 years, the streak is broken. Kansas City raced to an early lead and never looked back, beating Indianapolis by a final score of 31-13 in Saturday's AFC Divisional Round game.
It was the Chiefs’ first home playoff win since defeating Pittsburgh in 1993. A drought outdating 19 of the players on Kansas City’s current roster. A drought that started with, and now ends with, the Colts.
The history behind what happened on this snowy Saturday afternoon is undeniable. Kansas City will host its first AFC Championship game in the 59-year history of the franchise next Sunday.
For many Chiefs fans Saturday marks a point of vindication for the decades of heartbreak and turmoil that preceded it. For the team? It was just another game.
“I don’t think our guys worried about [the drought] too much,” coach Andy Reid said. “I don’t get caught up in that. We gotta take it one at a time here.”
Now the Chiefs (13-4) are have all sights set on the Lamar Hunt trophy. If this was any indication, the team will have to rely on Bob Sutton’s defense to get it.
Following a third-quarter turnover, that’s what saved them. Andrew Luck (19 of 36, 203 yards, 1 TD) had the ball on the Chiefs’ 20-yard line, down 24-7. It was in that moment that a familiar anxiety swept through the crowd, the playoff breakdown was imminent.
But instead, strong secondary play caused Luck to hold onto the ball and allowed linebacker Dee Ford (4 TK, 1 SK) to record a sack that knocked it loose. It would be recovered by Kansas City. Ballgame.
Bob Sutton, whose name was nearly synonymous with the phrase “hot seat” just two months ago, likely saved the Chiefs’ Super Bowl hopes.
“Bob Sutton has done a phenomenal job,” Reid said. “He had a gameplan and the guys were all in, they jumped in and went.”
The defense that ranked last in yards allowed, points surrendered and penalties in the regular season would hold the league’s fifth-best offense to 263 yards, 15 first downs and just one penalty on the season’s biggest stage.
From there all the Kansas City offense had to do was hold on.
As everyone expected, it was the first-year starter out of the Big Twelve conference who carried the weight. That’s right, running back Damien Williams.
Williams posted a career-high 129 rushing yards on 25 carries, including one touchdown run.
“They was on a roll but we on a roll too,” Williams said. “They came to our house and we had to lay it down.”
Williams’ performance was part of a season-high 180 rushing yards performance by the Kansas City offense. Three other players (Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Darrel Williams) also posted a rushing touchdown.
That rushing touchdown accounted for Mahomes’ only points on the evening, though the Chiefs’ offense had no problem airing the ball out. Mahomes would finish 27 of 41 with 278 passing yards and zero interceptions.
His primary target was tight end Travis Kelce. Kelce had seven receptions for 108 receiving yards, the sixth time he’s broken 100 yards receiving this season.
For the next eight days, the players head to their film room, the fans to their jobs. It will be mundane. A week will go by with no chatter of curses or ghosts, because a playoff win has finally arrived.
A new era of Chiefs football has arrived.