The Kansas City Chiefs are AFC Championship bound for the fifth-straight season, despite what looked like a devastating injury to Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs’ defense had one of its best performances of the season, pressuring Trevor Lawrence and forcing two crucial turnovers in the fourth quarter. Here are the takeaways from the AFC Divisional win.
Never Take Patrick Mahomes for Granted
The Kansas City fans were looking unstoppable in the first quarter, sustaining a long drive where Mahomes missed one pass and completed another TD to Travis Kelce. The next drive was not as great, Mahomes looked like he was ready for another classic performance, but Arden Key landed on the ankle of Patrick Mahomes, almost derailing his game and the Chiefs’ season.
But Mahomes gutted out a performance to help them get over the top, finishing with 195 yards and 2 touchdowns to help secure a fifth-straight AFC Championship Game appearance. Watching Mahomes gut out a game-sealing drive in the fourth quarter on one leg was something most Chiefs fans will never forget, he was magical. Hitting receivers and only missing on two throws until the touchdown jump pass to Marquez Valdez-Scantling.
If Mahomes is limited and still gets the offense to score points, the Chiefs are still one of the best teams in the league. Kansas City now has a week to get ready and suitable for the AFC Championship game, it will be interesting to see what the offense will look like going forward. Expect to see a lot of quick passing and running the ball, Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon were impressive this past week, and watch for them to carry the offense going forward.
The Chiefs’ Defense is Playing Their Best Football
The Kansas City Chiefs defense has really never been its strength, the Chiefs have always had top-tier talent on their defense, but they are more of a bend but don’t break defense. This defense took offense to that against the Jaguars, holding the Jaguars to 20 points and forcing two crucial fourth-quarter turnovers.
The secondary and pass rush really looked sharp throughout the day, Trevor Lawrence never looked comfortable and the defensive backs were able to deflect passes. L’Jarius Sneed and Frank Clark were dominant all day, Clark got another playoff sack and Sneed was making big plays in the run-and-pass game.
If the defense can keep this pace up and get pressure and play solid coverage on the back end, Kansas City might be really hard to stop.
Special Teams are Still a Worry
For the entire season, the biggest question for the Chiefs has been the special teams unit. Harrison Butker and the other Chiefs’ kickers have missed the most FGs and PAT’s in the league this season. Over the last two games, the Chiefs’ kicking operation has been really smooth and clean. They haven’t missed a field goal or PAT against the Raiders and the Jaguars, and it seems like they have figured out what they needed to fix.
But, the kick return coverage against the Jaguars was one missed tackle away from being six points. It seems like the Special Teams for the Chiefs will continue to be the most significant question mark due to the lack of discipline. Dave Toub is probably going to be relieved of duties after this season due to the poor play of his special teams’ units and he should be fired if Special Teams are the one reason the Chiefs don’t win a championship. There’s no excuse for his lack of consistency and stubbornness in the return game, if they can’t clean this up, the Chiefs’ season will be over.