KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Andy Reid does not need to discuss legacy and historical past and all that proper now, which is ok. He is busy. We will do it for him.
Prime AFC seed Kansas City performs its finest defensive sport of the season and in flip exorcises its playoff demons.
The Chiefs are 1-11 of their previous 12 postseason video games, however they’ve been at a quarterback deficit in these video games. Not so with All-Professional Patrick Mahomes.
Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs won a vital soccer sport right here Saturday evening. Their 31-13 victory over the Colts was the franchise’s first house playoff win in 25 years — since Joe Montana was their quarterback. It got here one yr and 6 days after they coughed up an 18-point halftime lead and misplaced a house playoff sport to the Titans. At present’s win got here at the expense of the similar quarterback — Andrew Luck — who engineered a 28-point second-half comeback to beat them in a playoff sport 5 years in the past, in Reid’s first season as Chiefs coach. This was a demon-exorcising victory, and Reid knew it.
“I am into historical past; I really like historical past if it makes you higher,” Reid mentioned. “That was the essential factor for our guys — do not get caught up on all the stuff that occurred in the previous. They’re out in the group. I am not. I am locked down in my workplace, so I do not hear all that stuff, however they’re truly on the market. So simply hold it constructive and transfer ahead.”
However the transferring ahead issues while you’re speaking about the Chiefs in January — and while you’re speaking about Andy Reid in January. There have been too many collapses, too many near-misses, too many groups that had been too good to go house as early as they did, for that not to be part of these twin tales. The Chiefs all the time blow it in the playoffs. Reid all the time blows it in the playoffs. Dying, taxes and people two issues.
So the undeniable fact that Reid’s Chiefs won Saturday issues, as a result of it means they host the AFC Championship Recreation subsequent week. Win one house sport, Andy Reid, and also you go to the Tremendous Bowl for the second time in your in any other case good 20-year head-coaching profession. Win one house sport, Chiefs, and also you go to the Tremendous Bowl for the first time in 49 years. Many years of frigid frustration sit 60 good minutes away from erasure.
And this may very nicely be the staff to do it.
“This can be a new period, new staff, new mindset,” Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones insisted. “We’re altering the tradition round right here.”
They may be. Spending the week earlier than the sport on this city, I anticipated to discover Chiefs followers gnawing their fingernails to the nubs with reminiscences of final yr, 5 years in the past, all these playoff disappointments. However followers felt fairly good about this sport, and as lifelong Chiefs fan Allen Roberson advised me Wednesday evening, “Mahomes is the distinction.”
That may be younger Patrick Mahomes, the 23-year-old celebrity quarterback to whom Reid turned over his playoff staff a yr in the past with none ensures that he may deal with it. The Chiefs made final yr’s playoffs with Alex Smith at quarterback, and even after Smith’s profession yr, they traded him to Washington the week of the Tremendous Bowl, anointing Mahomes the starter after a rookie yr spent sitting on the bench.
Dan Graziano speaks with Justin Houston following his 2-sack efficiency in the Chiefs’ 31-13 playoff win towards the Colts.
The premise of the resolution made sense. The Chiefs had gone so far as they may go along with Smith at quarterback. Mahomes’ uncooked expertise elevated the ceiling for them at the most essential place, permitting Reid’s ever-busy offensive thoughts to dream greater goals than ever. It was a threat, as a result of younger quarterbacks are all the time dangerous, however Reid knew Mahomes and believed he might be particular, and he turned out to be appropriate. All Mahomes did this common season was turn into the second quarterback in league historical past (after a man named Peyton Manning) to put up 5,000 passing yards and 50 landing passes in the similar season. The probably MVP turned out to be a weekly spotlight reel of inconceivable deep passes, no-look passes, flying-out-of-bounds-and-whipping-the-ball-across-his-body passes. If the aim was to get the Chiefs to imagine in beforehand inconceivable prospects, Reid had picked the excellent quarterback to do it.
“You look final week, the rookies making their first playoff begins went Zero-Three,” Chiefs proper deal with Mitchell Schwartz mentioned. “However none of them had 50 and 5,000 like Pat had. He is simply completely different. Nothing bothers him.”
Saturday was under no circumstances Mahomes’ most unimaginable sport of the yr. He was 27-for-41 for 278 yards and, for simply the second time this yr, he failed to throw a single landing move. The Chiefs won this sport with their run sport — piling up 180 yards on 33 carries towards a troublesome Colts defensive entrance — and their protection, which sacked Andrew Luck 3 times and held the league’s finest third-down offense to Zero-for-9 on third downs.
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“Protection performed lights-out all sport,” tight finish Travis Kelce mentioned. “And offensively, we ran the ball. When you may have the lead, you’d higher have the option to run the ball late in the sport. Damien Williams (129 yards and a landing on 25 carries), man, man runs his tail off. He can end a sport off for us.”
Mahomes had his spotlight throws, however he did not dominate the sport the approach he has so many instances this yr. The Chiefs discovered different methods to win, and do not assume that is any small factor. When your quarterback permits you to dream the largest goals, you possibly can completely be the sort of staff that musters its finest effort in the largest video games.
Which is why this can be the staff that lastly delivers for Andy Reid, who’s top-10 all-time in wins and could also be the finest non-Belichick coach of his period however is 12-13 in the postseason and doubtless wants to win the Tremendous Bowl at the very least as soon as to guarantee a spot in the Corridor of Fame.
“Once you play for a coach of that caliber,” Williams mentioned, “all you are able to do is give it your all.”
Take into consideration every thing you’ve got ever heard about Reid in the playoffs — time administration, losing timeouts, refusing to run the ball when he has a lead. None of that got here into play Saturday. Reid’s Chiefs put an enormous lead on the board early and managed it nicely. Would it not have been simpler in the event that they’d scored a time or two in the third quarter? Positive. However the sport was by no means actually doubtful after halftime, and that is virtually by no means the case with an Andy Reid staff in the playoffs. These Chiefs might be strolling the “new mentality” stroll, which may imply the largest of huge issues.
“We all know we’re a part of one thing particular,” Chiefs heart Mitch Morse mentioned. “We additionally know the job’s not achieved but.”
Reid has been to the convention championship sport 5 instances earlier than, although none with the Chiefs and none since 10 years in the past with the Eagles. He is 1-Four in these video games, and that is one other itchy a part of his legacy that he’d certainly love for folks to cease mentioning. Subsequent Sunday, Reid’s Chiefs are going to take on a staff that beat them this yr — be it the Patriots or the Chargers. It is not going to be simple, partially as a result of nothing is for the Chiefs or Reid presently of yr. However this yr… this can be the yr that modifications. This can be the staff, and the quarterback, that assist stuff all that awful historical past down into the trash bin and put the focus on simply how good a coach this man is. You’re feeling like Reid deserves one among these runs. And whereas the historical past tells us not to get too far forward of ourselves, there are some fairly thrilling causes to imagine this can be the staff that makes it.