Chiefs beat Colts to reach AFC title game
The Kansas City Chiefs ended their 25-year NFL playoff drought by seeing off the Indianapolis Colts 31-13.
Patrick Mahomes starred in his postseason debut as the Chiefs claimed their first playoff win at home since January 1994.
Mahomes threw for 278 yards while running a touchdown to lead the Chiefs to the AFC title game – their first since 1994 – against either the Los Angeles Chargers or New England Patriots.
Here are three takeaways from Saturday's triumph.
Chiefs explode in most impressive offensive half to date
This Chiefs offense is historically great. Kansas City broke 25 franchise records on offense this season with Mahomes leading the way as he set nine on his own and helped the team break another six. But Saturday's performance in the first half may be their most impressive to date on the season.
First this must be presented: While Kansas City torched Indy in the first half, the Colts came into the game having shut down a talented Houston Texans offense the week before, and with a defense that was leading the league in fewest points allowed for the better part of the second half of the season.
Despite that, Kansas City went out and scored touchdowns on their first two drives of the game, added a field goal on the third and scored one last touchdown on the half. Oh yeah, and they did all of that without a single Mahomes passing touchdown.
And also, they did it in freezing temperatures on a wet ground with snow falling for most of the first quarter. Kansas City's first half was incredible.
Luck posts line worthy of Peterman
For 28:18 of the first half, Andrew Luck was not Andrew Luck. He was more like Nathan Peterman.
That is not to say he became the butt of every joke on NFL Twitter, but it does mean he really struggled to start the game. Through the Colts' first four drives, Indianapolis picked up 21 total yards and went three and out four times.
Had Indy failed to drive the ball down the field in the two-minute drill, he would have accomplished something only Peterman had "accomplished" this season: he would have gone an entire half without picking up a single first down.
Peterman was the only man in the NFL to do that this season when the Buffalo Bills failed to pick up a first down in the first half of their season opener against the Baltimore Ravens. Luck was not at his best in the first half as the Colts were held scoreless.
Ford set tone from the start
What Dee Ford did on the Colts' first possession is why it can be great to kick off to start the game. The Chiefs linebacker immediately stuffed Marlon Mack on a running play that did more than just give Indianapolis a loss.
After stopping Mack, the Colts ran two straight pass plays that ended up short of a first down, and then on the next possession, Indy threw three straight passes. Ford's ability to get to Luck off the edge completely influenced Frank Reich's play-calling. By the time the Colts recovered, Kansas City were up 17-0.
He continued to bring pressure off the edge all game long which would not allow Indy to get their run-pass option game going and the offense struggled to do anything for the rest of the game. Then for good measure, Ford had a strip sack at the end of the third quarter to remind everyone that this game was his.