On the outlook of an upcoming season, we take a look back at some of the best games over the Chiefs run at 5 straight AFC West Championships.
I’ve been quoted saying that Chiefs fans are really spoiled. While looking back, that feeling was more than reiterated. Over this run, beginning in 2016, the Chiefs have compiled a record of 66-24, by far the best five-year stretch in team history.
During that time there have been great victories and demoralizing losses, but more than anything there has been a consistent bounce back from the club. Credit to Andy Reid and company for the constant leadership to keep the focus moving forward and taking this organization to the greatest heights in its storied history. Let’s have a look at some of the greatest games over the last five seasons.
2018: Rams 54 Chiefs 51
I get it, I just mentioned that the Chiefs have 66 wins in the last five seasons and I’m starting off with a loss. Many people have dubbed this the best regular-season game ever and if the Chiefs would have won, I would agree. This game did have it all: Over 1000 yards of offense, 3 defensive touchdowns, 7 forced turnovers, and so much more.
In a week 11 game right before both team’s bye week, NFL fans got a dream matchup between two high-scoring offenses. Two Jared Goff touchdown passes in the first ten minutes led LA to a 13-0 lead before the Chiefs got on the board with a Tyreek Hill touchdown. The teams traded field goals before Mahomes found Kareem Hunt for his second touchdown pass of the game. A strip-sack from Samson Ebukam put the Rams up six but Mahomes found Chris Conley right before halftime to tie things up.
Back and forth things would continue to go in the second half. Ebukam would get his second touchdown on a 25 yard interception in the third quarter to put the Rams up 40-30, but the Chiefs would come roaring back on 73 yard touchdown connection from Patrick Mahomes to Tyreek Hill for the second time in the game and then an Allen Bailey fumble recovery.
A second Chris Conley touchdown was sandwiched between two Jarrod Goff to Gerald Everett touchdowns that led to a chance for more fireworks, that chance fizzled in the hands of Marcus Peters as he picked off an errant deep ball. The Chiefs defense produced a stop but another interception this time by Lemarcus Joyner put things away for good.
Football purists or casual Chiefs fans may hate this game, but as a fan, it was just pure fun. The Rams would go on and win the NFC and the Chiefs would fall short of their season aspirations in the AFC championship game, but it gave a glimpse of what was to come for Chiefs fans.
2016: Chiefs 30 Broncos 27 OT
This one felt different as a fan. Luck didn’t seem to run the Chiefs way in the minds of Chiefs fans yet on this night it did. The Broncos were coming off their Super Bowl run and outplayed the Chiefs in most aspects of the game. It was a Sunday night in Denver with implications abound and the Chiefs found a way to pull it out.
In a game that was the exact opposite of the previous entry, the Chiefs and Broncos traded eight punts before the scoring got underway via a safety to put the Chiefs up 2-0. A Tyreek Hill punt return put the Chiefs up 9 before Trevor Siemian, yup he played quarterback in the NFL and had a career game against our Chiefs, found Jordan Taylor for the first of 3 touchdown passes in the game.
Tyreek Hill had a coming-out party against the Broncos, scoring on the aforementioned punt return. He also had a rushing touchdown right before halftime to give the Chiefs the lead and he scored on a 3-yard touchdown pass that set up the game heading to overtime. The Chiefs needed that touchdown and Demetrius Harris’ two-point conversion to send the game to overtime.
2016 was also the first season of the new overtime rule that allowed the Chiefs a shot after the Broncos kicked a field goal on their first drive. Cairo Santos tied it up at 27. Brandon McManus missed a shot to end it, which led to the final 34-yard doink off the left upright for Santos and the Chiefs to escape Denver 30-27. In a game that would ultimately decide the AFC West, this one is worth remembering.
2019: Chiefs 51 Texans 31
The final outcome may lead to many overlook this one, in my opinion, it was the most pivotal game over the last half-decade. Being down 24-0 early in the second quarter brought back way too many painful memories for Chiefs fans. It was easy for many in Chiefs kingdom to remember the heartache of of playoffs past and see the similarities.
It started with a swing pass for a touchdown to Damien Wilson. Then inexplicably Bill O’Brien calls a fake punt on and Dirty Dan Sorensen sniffs it out, setting up the Chiefs in plus territory. Mahomes to Kelce for a touchdown making it a ten-point game.
Minutes later, Mahomes to Kelce for a second time bringing the game within a score. The Chiefs are able to hold the Texans to a 3 and out, and for the third time in less than six minutes Mahomes finds Kelce in the end zone and the comeback is complete, before halftime.
The Chiefs would ultimately score touchdowns on 7 of 8 possessions, Arrowhead would run out of fireworks, the worries and frustrations of 25 years of playoff misery were absorbed by the Texans. This loss in hindsight has completely changed the trajectory of that franchise.
Bill O’Brien would be fired in week 5 of the 2020 season. Deshaun Watson is now fighting battles on multiple fronts, and the front office seems to be in complete shambles. On the other side, we know what has since happened with our beloved Chiefs.
2017: Chiefs 27 Broncos 24
Patrick Mahomes first start may have came in a nearly meaningless week 17 game. The Chiefs knew they were going to be the number 4 seed and had little to play for, most of the Chiefs starters were resting, including starting quarterback Alex Smith. When many would phone it in, the rookie from Texas Tech had different expectations in his first NFL game action against a hated rival.
Kareem Hunt would only play a couple of possessions to lock up the NFL rushing title for the season. Anthony Sherman would actually lead the Chiefs in rushing on this day gaining on 40 of the 72 career rushing yards he would have as a Kansas City Chief.
The Mahomes to Albert Wilson connection undoubtedly garnered Wilson another couple of million in the free-agent market the following offseason. Mahomes stat line in itself wasn’t anything great 22-35 for 284 and 1 interception. What was so special about this day was the difference in quarterback play for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Mahomes went out early in the fourth quarter with the Chiefs holding onto a 24-10 lead. Tyler Bray would leave after two drives both ending in turnovers and Broncos touchdowns. Nothing against Tyler Bray, he never deserved to be in an NFL game.
The Chiefs have had so many Tyler Bray’s and as fans we’ve endured them and for a long time that was the type of quarterback play we had come to expect. Yet instead of continuing down that road Andy Reid let Patrick Mahomes finish what he had started.
An 11-play, 67-yard drive ensued with a Harrison Butker game-winner as time expired. The legend had started and a new era of Chiefs football was about to begin.
Super Bowl LIV: Chiefs 31 49ers 20
There is nothing that I can write that hasn’t already been said about this game. The Chiefs were the epitome of a team on a mission. Being surrounded by family and friends as Patrick Mahomes found Tyreek on WASP or when he found Sammy in one on one with Richard Sherman along the sideline was a true blessing. When Damien ran his way into eternity, we could all rejoice.
The loss in the previous years’ AFC championship did not matter anymore. The misses by Lin Elliot don’t sting quite as much. The starts of Steve Bono, Elvis Grbac, Tyler Thigpen, Kyle Orton, Brodie Croyle, and Tyler Palko can be forgotten because we were now champions. 50 years between championships was way too long. But now, I think as fans and observers, we won’t have to wait nearly as long for the next one.