The Kansas City Chiefs are headed to the AFC Championship Game this Sunday following a convincing defeat of the Indianapolis Colts, 31-13, in the Divisional Round this past Saturday.
Here are 10 interesting notes about the victory.
1. The Chiefs will host the AFC Championship Game for the first time in the history of Arrowhead Stadium
This Sunday’s contest will mark the Chiefs’ first appearance in the AFC Championship Game since the 1994 postseason, when Kansas City fell to the Buffalo Bills on the road. In fact, this will be the first time that Arrowhead Stadium has ever hosted the conference title game.
The New England Patriots will be Kansas City’s opponent on Sunday in what will be their eighth-straight trip to the title game. The Chiefs and Patriots join the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints as the final four teams still playing football this postseason, which is historic in its own right.
The Patriots have been a model of success over the years, but it’s worth mentioning that New England is 0-3 on the road in the AFC Championship Game since 2006.
2. Kansas City jumped out to an early lead over Indianapolis
The Chiefs found the end zone on each of their first two possessions to build a formidable lead early in the contest. Kansas City amassed 185 yards of total offense in the first quarter of play, which ranked as the fifth-most by any team in a first quarter this year (regular and postseason).
Of course, lighting up the scoreboard early is nothing new for this particular group of players.
The Chiefs went on to score 31 points in the game, tied for the second-most in a postseason game in franchise history.
3. Tailback Damien Williams was right in the middle of that fast start
Williams maneuvered his way through Colts’ defenders on a 10-yard touchdown run to tally Kansas City’s first score of the game. It was Williams’ seventh touchdown in his last five games.
The veteran tailback went on to pick up a team-high 154 yards of offense on the afternoon, rushing for a career-high 129 yards on 29 carries with another 25 yards on five catches through the air. It marked the second-most yards by a single player against Indianapolis this season, trailing only DeAndre Hopkins.
4. Like usual, wide receiver Tyreek Hill made a huge play
Hill took a handoff on the Chiefs’ second possession and scampered 36 yards for a touchdown to add to Kansas City’s advantage.
It was just another day at the office for the league’s top big-play threat.
The speedy Hill finished the day with 108 yards of total offense, hauling in a team-high eight catches for 72 yards.
5. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes also found the end zone with his legs
Mahomes scrambled for a 4-yard touchdown late in the second quarter to give Kansas City a 17-point lead heading into halftime. The scoring dash made some history as well, marking the first rushing touchdown by a quarterback in a postseason contest in franchise history.
And, when coupled with the efforts of Williams and Hill, the Chiefs collectively made their way into the record books yet again.
Additionally, the Chiefs set a franchise postseason record with four rushing touchdowns in the game. Rookie tailback Darrel Williams was responsible for the fourth score, plowing ahead late in the game for the first postseason touchdown of his young career.
6. Tight end Travis Kelce also put together a highly productive game
Kelce caught seven passes for a team-high 108 yards in the game, picking up a first down on six of his seven receptions. It marked the second-most first-down catches in a postseason game in Chiefs’ history.
7. The defense, meanwhile, stepped up in a big way
Kansas City’s defense held Indianapolis – which owned the fifth-best scoring offense in the NFL since Week 7 - to just one offensive touchdown on Saturday, and it didn’t occur until late in the fourth quarter.
The Colts mustered just 91 yards of offense and four first downs heading into halftime and finished the game with only 263 total yards. For context, the Chiefs had 274 yards already following the second quarter.
8. That stout defensive performance held the Colts without a third-down conversion
Indianapolis entered Saturday’s game with the best third-down conversion rate in the NFL, moving the chains on 48.6 of their third-down opportunities this season. Additionally, the Colts converted 9-of-14 third downs in their Wild Card Round victory over Houston.
That trend came to an end at Arrowhead on Saturday.
The Chiefs held Indianapolis to 0-for-9 on third down in the game, which doesn’t happen very often in the playoffs.
9. Linebackers Dee Ford and Justin Houston each had strong games
Houston, playing in his sixth-career playoff game, tallied two sacks, a pass defensed and a fumble recovery on the afternoon while Ford notched a strip sack.
Ford’s sack, which came at the most opportune of times right after a Kansas City turnover, transpired in the blink of an eye.
According to Pro Football Focus, the Chiefs recorded a ridiculous 20 pressures on the afternoon against the top statistical offensive line in the NFL, which yielded just 18 sacks on the year.
10. It was a statement victory that has the Chiefs just a win away from the Super Bowl
Kansas City is now just one victory at Arrowhead Stadium away from playing for a world championship, and the experts seem to like the Chiefs’ chances.