The Kansas City Chiefs bulldozed their way into the post season on the back of an offensive juggernaut led by their MVP level quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Kansas City ended the regular season first in points per game (35.3) and yards per game (425.6), third in passing yards (309.7) and a middling 16th on the ground (115.9).
The offense stuffed the stat sheets as Mahomes became only the second quarterback to throw for over 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns. Tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill both went for over 1,300 yards and set several franchise records in the process.
That firepower saw Andy Reid’s squad score 35 or more points in nine regular season outings, reach the 40 mark on five occasions, with a solo game where they put up over 50 – and, unbelievably, they lost that game 54-51.
In their 31-13 Divisional round victory over the Indianapolis Colts, the Chiefs exhibited something which had seldom been seen from the team throughout the regular season: championship level defense.
During the regular season KC ranked 31st in yards allowed per game (405.5) and pass yards (273.4), 27th in rushing yards given up (132.1) and 24th in points per game (26.3). They surrendered 30 or more points in five contests and finished a lowly 28th in sacks with just 26 through 16 games.
It was a pleasant surprise, then, when defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s unit constantly bothered the usually reliable Indianapolis offensive line and forced three sacks of Andrew Luck. The former Stanford man didn’t get the protection he had become accustom to and his performance suffered for it.
It was not the usually high-flying passing attack that did most of the damage against the Colts. All four of the KC touchdowns came on the ground, and behind the solid production of Williams (25 rushes, 129 yards and a touchdown) Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy were able to keep the Chiefs balanced.
Against the New England Patriots their defense will get another timely boost as All-Pro safety Eric Berry is set to return for the AFC Championship contest. Berry played just two games during the regular season due to battling a heel injury but has been cleared to go in the Chiefs biggest game of the season.
During their week six clash against Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium Kansas City fell to a 43-40 defeat, but did recover from a 24-9 halftime deficit to trail by only a point entering the fourth quarter.
On that day Mahomes had one of his poorer outings in the first half as he tossed two interceptions, with the Patriots turning one of those picks into a touchdown on the ensuing drive.
The second year signal caller bounced back to launch a 67 yard score to Hill and added a 75 yard touchdown to Hill.
If Sutton’s defense is able to maintain the level they played at last week, with the addition of Berry, they provide the kind of bend-but-don’t-break defense which gives their steamrollering offense every chance against playoff Tom Brady.