Prior to the Chiefs' Week 14 matchup with the Cardinals in Arizona, head coach Bruce Arians and several Cardinals players joined the Chiefs in wearing the "Be Berry" shirts seen the previous week to show their support.
The Cardinals received the ball first and took a 3-0 lead on a 44-yard field goal, and the Chiefs answered right back. Running back Jamaal Charles, 63 yards away from the end zone, bounced to the right off of a great block from tight end Anthony Fasano, evaded three Arizona defenders and ran it all the way to the house. The three-play drive gave Kansas City a 7-3 lead, and it was Charles' eighth game in a row with a touchdown (receiving or rushing).
The Cardinals inched closer to the Chiefs with another field goal at the beginning of the second quarter to make it 7-6, but again, the Chiefs immediately responded. This time it took a bit longer, 11 plays to be exact, but the result was the same. At the Arizona 18-yard line, quarterback Alex Smith dished it short to Charles, who ran it the whole way down the field to put the Chiefs in front, 14-6, and that was the score at half.
Arizona started the scoring in the third quarter with a 39-yard field goal, which made it 14-9, and staying in theme, the Chiefs marched right back down the field as they had the previous two times.
On third-and-10, Smith seemingly threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Fasano in the end zone, but it was called back because of offensive pass interference. On the next play, Smith threw an interception to linebacker Alex Okafor, and that sequence changed the entire game. Arizona QB Drew Stanton threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Jaron Brown to take the 15-14, and a converted two-point conversion put the Cardinals up by three.
The Chiefs' best chance at tying the game came in the fourth quarter, but a questionable fumble and turnover by TE Travis Kelce undermined that effort. The call was reviewed by the officials and confirmed a fumble, and the Chiefs dropped their third game in a row, 17-14.
Cardinals RB Kerwynn Williams, who had been elevated from the practice squad the Friday before the game, had 100 yards on 19 carries against the Chiefs.
CHIEFS GAME MVP: RB Jamaal Charles (10 carries, 91 yards, 1 touchdown rushing; 2 receptions, 20 yards, 1 touchdown receiving)
GAME FIFTEEN:KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 31, OAKLAND RAIDERS 13
Even though the Chiefs lost three games in a row, they still controlled their own playoff destiny heading into their game at home against the Oakland Raiders. All they had to do was win their final three games—at home vs. Oakland, away vs. Pittsburgh and home vs. San Diego.
Running back De'Anthony Thomas clearly received that message when he started the game's scoring with an 81-yard touchdown with two minutes and 38 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Both the Chiefs and the Raiders added field goals in the second and at the half, Kansas City led Oakland, 10-3.
In the third quarter, the Raiders quickly cut the Chiefs' lead to four off of a 33-yard field goal by kicker Sebastian Janikowski.
At that point, the Chiefs took over the game by scoring three consecutive touchdowns. First, Smith constructed a nine-play drive capped off by a 3-yard touchdown run by RB Knile Davis. Next, the Chiefs took advantage of a short field after Raiders QB Derek Carr fumbled a snap into the hands of LB Frank Zombo. Smith connected with TE Travis Kelce on a 20-yard touchdown to make it 24-6. The trio of touchdowns was then completed via a short pass to Davis, who ran the ball 70 yards up the field for his second score of the quarter.
The Raiders managed a late touchdown with less than a minute remaining a game, but by then it was too late.
The Chiefs won their first of the three necessary legs needed to make the playoffs, 31-13.
CHIEFS GAME MVP: RB De'Anthony Thomas (99-yard punt-return touchdown; 2 carries, 14 yards rushing; 1 reception, 5 yards)
Photos from the 4th quarter of the 2014 season, games 13-16.
GAME SIXTEEN:PITTSBURGH STEELERS 20, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 12
The Chiefs traveled to Heinz Field for their Week 16 matchup against the Steelers with very high stakes on the line. If the Steelers won, they would clinch a playoff berth, and for the Chiefs to remain in control of their own hunt, they needed to make sure that didn't happen.
The story of the game was the Pittsburgh defensive front that ruined the Chiefs' game plan. By game's end, the Steelers defense sacked Smith six times, preventing him from ever getting truly comfortable.
The only scoring of the first quarter was made up of two field goals, first the Steelers on their first possession and then the Chiefs. At the end of one quarter, the game was deadlocked, 3-3.
The Chiefs started the second quarter with the ball in their possession and on fourth-and-5 at the Pittsburgh 12-yard line, lined up for a field goal. Head coach Andy Reid opted to run a fake-field goal pass, and holder and punter Dustin Colquitt hit TE Travis Kelce for a first down. The only problem was that at first-and-goal from the 6-yard line, the Chiefs were forced to settle for three anyway and took just a 6-3 lead.
The Steelers answered with a touchdown, the only one of the half, on an 11-yard drive ending with a 1-yard run by RB Le'Veon Bell, who finished with 63 yards on 20 carries in the game. With 4:18 left in the second quarter, Pittsburgh led Kansas City, 10-6.
On the Chiefs' final possession of the half, they were stopped at the Pittsburgh 12-yard line once again, and Reid opted to stay aggressive and went for it on fourth-and-1 with 27 seconds remaining in the quarter. This time, the Steelers stopped the Chiefs, and QB Ben Roethlisberger kneeled the ball to end the half.
The third quarter began with the Chiefs and the Steelers exchanging punts. On the Chiefs' second drive of the quarter, they started at their own 27-yard line and drove to the Pittsburgh 28, and that's when the game changed completely. On second-and-7, Charles fumbled the football away to the defense, and the Steelers took advantage when Roethlisberger threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to WR Antonio Brown on the ensuing possession. Heading to the fourth quarter, the Steelers led the Chiefs, 17-6.
In the fourth, the Chiefs cut the game to one-possession after a 43-yard field goal from Cairo Santos, but the Steelers were unrelenting. In a six-minute drive, they brought the clock down to a little more than four minutes left in the game, and kicked a field goal to put the game back at two possessions.
While the Chiefs did manage another field goal, they could not recover the onside kick, and with Kansas City out of timeouts, the Steelers kneeled out the clock.* *
CHIEFS GAME MVP: WR Albert Wilson (5 receptions, 87 yards)
GAME SEVENTEEN:KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 19, SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 7
With the loss to Pittsburgh in Week 16, the Chiefs needed to not only beat the Chargers, but also have the Browns beat the Ravens in Baltimore and the Jaguars beat the Texans in Houston in order to make the postseason. Those already daunting circumstances became worse when QB Alex Smith was diagnosed with a lacerated spleen earlier in the week, meaning backup Chase Daniel would need to start.
For the Chargers to make the playoffs, all they had to do was win.
In the first quarter, the Chiefs struck first off of a 43-yard field goal by Santos and kept Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense controlled. At the beginning of the second quarter, it seemed for a second that the Chiefs converted their first touchdown of the season courtesy of a wide receiver but it was not to be, as Dwayne Bowe fumbled at the goal line and TE Travis Kelce picked it up and got the credit. Regardless, the Chiefs held a 10-0 lead on the Chargers.
The Chargers' fired back on their ensuing possession by way of a long, 44-yard pass from Rivers to WR Eddie Royal followed by a 1-yard touchdown run by Branden Oliver to finish the job.
The only scoring the rest of the second half was a 27-yard field goal by Santos, and at the half, the Chiefs led the Chargers 16-7.
Defense reigned supreme in the second half as only three points were scored, again courtesy of Santos, who knocked a 43-yard field goal through the uprights in the third quarter.
The player of the game was without a doubt LB Justin Houston, who wreaked havoc on Rivers all game long. Houston entered the game with 18 sacks on the season, two shy of tying Derrick Thomas' franchise record of 20. By halftime, the record was already tied, and Houston broke the record with a strip-sack fumble at the beginning of the third. Yet another sack with a little more than a minute left meant 22 sacks on the season and Houston finished the year just a half-sack shy of Michael Strahan's NFL record.
While the Chiefs didn't receive the help they needed, they won the game, 19-7, and in the process, ended the Chargers' season as well.
CHIEFS GAME MVP: LB Justin Houston (5 tackles, 4 sacks, 3 tackles for loss, 1 pass defended, 3 quarterback hits)