Titans aim to keep run going against Chiefs in AFC title game
Make whatever you want out of Andy Reid's postseason record.The Kansas City coach may have another reason to stray from typical tactics Sunday when the Chiefs play host to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game."Our players, some of them, have won more games against (the Titans) than I have. I'm going to bank on them," Reid said.Reid was presumably kidding, though he is 1-8 all-time in games he has directed against Tennessee.Then, too, there's his 3-5 postseason record for the Chiefs. Counting appearances with Philadelphia, he is 1-5 in conference championship games. Also, Kansas City is 0-2 all-time in the AFC Championship Game. It made two Super Bowl appearances representing the AFL and won it all 50 years ago.Ahh, but one distinct weapon Reid and the remainder of the organization banks on could help overcome any negative history. His name is Patrick Mahomes.In the divisional round, the reigning MVP engineered the first playoff comeback in which a team rallied from a 20-plus point deficit to win by 20 as Kansas City ousted the Houston Texans 51-31. Mahomes became the first NFL player to pass for 300-plus yards, rush for 50-plus yards and throw for five touchdowns in a playoff game.And yet the Chiefs quarterback takes every opportunity to credit others, including Reid, who is bidding to become the seventh coach to take two franchises to Super Bowls."He's going to dial up the plays where you can take your shots," Mahomes said.Although tight end Travis Kelce rates as his most frequent target and speedy wideout Tyreek Hill as his most dangerous, Mahomes can spread the ball to numerous teammates. And when those options aren't available, he becomes a threat to cover open space with his feet."I feel like nobody in the NFL can guard any of us," Hill said. "Man-to-man is just easy for us to beat, and if you just allow us to run through zones, it's even easier."Though seeded sixth, the Titans seem up for the challenge.They can secure the AFC title by defeating a fourth straight division champion on the road in as many weeks after winning at Houston to end the regular season, then at New England and at Baltimore in the postseason.
Chiefs DE Jones day-to-day with calf injury
Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones, who missed Sunday's AFC divisional playoff win against the Houston Texans due to a calf injury, is considered day-to-day, coach Andy Reid said Monday.Reid said the Chiefs are otherwise "pretty healthy" going into Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Tennessee Titans.Jones leads the Chiefs with nine sacks and has recorded 31 over the past three seasons. Jones (6-6, 310 pounds) had 36 tackles in the regular season and would also serve as an anchor to the run defense against the Titans' powerful Derrick Henry, who has rushed for 377 yards on 64 carries in two playoff wins.
Chiefs roar back from 24-0 down to rout Texans
Patrick Mahomes rallied Kansas City from an early 24-point deficit Sunday, passing for 321 yards and five touchdowns as the Chiefs outraced the Houston Texans 51-31 in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs at Kansas City, Mo.Kansas City moves on to host the AFC Championship Game for the second straight year -- after never before doing so -- and will face the sixth-seeded Tennessee Titans.In claiming their seventh straight victory, the second-seeded Chiefs scored 41 unanswered points bridging halftime, with 28 points in the second quarter. They generated 434 yards, and the Texas posted 442.Kansas City scored touchdowns on seven straight possessions, an NFL postseason record, after Houston bolted to a 24-0 lead barely 19 minutes into the game.Tight end Travis Kelce led the Chiefs with 10 receptions for 134 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Damien Williams also scored three touchdowns, two off short rushes.Houston's Deshaun Watson countered with 388 yards and two touchdowns passing, but the Texans fell to 0-4 all-time in the divisional round. DeAndre Hopkins snagged nine receptions for 118 yards.Mahomes generated a 28-point second quarter with four TD passes to give Kansas City a 28-24 halftime margin, marking the highest-scoring first half in NFL postseason history.
Chiefs sack leader Jones out vs. Texans
Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones will miss Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game against the Houston Texans due to a calf injury.Jones leads the Chiefs with nine sacks and has recorded 31 over the past three seasons.Jones was listed as questionable on the injury report. He reportedly worked out on the field Sunday before it was determined he wasn't healthy enough to play.Star tight end Travis Kelce (knee) is active for the Chiefs. He was listed as questionable.Kelce led Kansas City with 97 receptions for 1,229 yards and also caught five touchdown passes.
Mahomes, Chiefs with major aspirations as Texans visit
Patrick Mahomes walked off the field following a loss in the AFC Championship Game last season, and season-ending memories from college and high school crossed his mind.Mahomes had just finished his first season as an NFL starting quarterback destined to become the league's MVP and capable of taking Kansas City to heights it last experienced a half-century ago, when the Chiefs were winners of Super Bowl IV.His next thought? Get back to the postseason and cross the highest threshold."When you're that close, you want to make sure you give yourself an opportunity to get back," Mahomes said. "We've done that this year. We're in the playoffs. We understand we're still far away from our ultimate goal."That process begins Sunday in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs when the Chiefs, coming off a first-round bye, play host to the Houston Texans, a 22-19 overtime winner over Buffalo in the wild-card round.The Chiefs are the only team remaining in the playoffs that reached the divisional round a year ago. They advanced as AFC West champion for the fourth consecutive season, but only after Mahomes overcame injuries to lead a once-battered team to six straight victories."I loved it," gushed Kansas City coach Andy Reid, "because the second year (starting) is a tough year for quarterbacks -- a tough, tough year."These guys have great minds in the National Football League who are coaching the defensive side of the ball. They've had a whole offseason to study and they're going to come back with their absolute best against you, and he answered it."Mahomes' numbers are not as sparkly as last season, but he's more tested after overcoming a tender ankle, bruised hand and, most critically, a dislocated kneecap that kept him out just two games."He didn't flinch," Reid said. "He kept the same attitude, the same work ethic, and he went after it. He had a major injury that he pushed through."Other Chiefs who battled injuries included an assortment of running backs, as well as Mahomes' blind-side tackle (Eric Fisher) and swiftest receiver (Tyreek Hill). The offense still ranked second in the NFL with a 6.22-yard average per play.Defensively, tackle Chris Jones and end Frank Clark overcame injuries, safety Tyrann Mathieu asserted leadership and first-year coordinator Steve Spagnuolo shaped the group into a fierce unit that is allowing 11.5 points on average during its six-game streak.
Giants interview Chiefs' Bieniemy for head coach opening
The New York Giants interviewed Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy for their vacant head coaching position on Saturday morning.Bieniemy, 50, met with team president John Mara, general manager Dave Gettleman and vice president of football operations Kevin Abrams in Kansas City.He is the third candidate interviewed since New York dismissed Pat Shurmur on Monday, joining former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and Dallas Cowboys defensive passing game coordinator Kris Richard.Bieniemy has worked on coach Andy Reid's Kansas City staff for seven seasons, the last two as offensive coordinator, although Reid calls the plays.The Chiefs' offense led the league in points (31.5) and yards (425.6) per game in 2018 and finished fifth (28.2) and sixth (379.2) in 2019.Kansas City (12-4) hosts an AFC divisional playoff game on Jan. 12.
Chiefs rookie S Thornhill (torn ACL) out for playoffs
Kansas City Chiefs rookie safety Juan Thornhill sustained a torn ACL in the team's regular-season finale, coach Andy Reid confirmed on Monday.Thronhill was injured in a non-contact situation during the first half of Kansas City's 31-21 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.Thornhill, 24, recorded 57 tackles, three interceptions and a touchdown while starting all 16 games this season since being selected by Kansas City in the second round of the April draft.
Chiefs handle Chargers, claim first-round bye
Running back Damien Williams rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries Sunday as the Kansas City Chiefs won their sixth straight, downing the Los Angeles Chargers 31-21 at Kansas City, Mo.The Chiefs (12-4), who also relied on 174 yards passing from quarterback Patrick Mahomes, head to the AFC playoffs with a first-round bye as the No. 2 seed after Miami upset New England 27-24 and dropped the Patriots to the No. 3 seed.On three of just five touches by the Chiefs in the third quarter, Mahomes threw an interception that the Chargers (5-11) converted into a touchdown, Mecole Hardman returned a kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown, and Williams scored on an 84-yard rush.The frantic exchanges left Kansas City with a 24-14 lead.Los Angeles quarterback Philip Rivers responded by engineering an 86-yard drive capped with an 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Hunter Henry.That made it 24-21 with 5:23 left, but Kansas City answered with a 77-yard march that Williams finished with a 7-yard scoring burst. The Chiefs swept their AFC West opponents and have won 28 of their last 31 against division rivals.The 224th consecutive start for Rivers could have been the veteran quarterback's last game for Los Angeles. He becomes an unrestricted free agent in March, after going 31 of 46 for 281 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
With defense surging, Chiefs set for Chargers in finale
Pardon Patrick Mahomes if he seems to be a novice at explaining the effects of strong defensive play.The Kansas City quarterback has seldom recognized such support. The defense was the weak link last season, when the Chiefs reached the AFC Championship Game largely because of Mahomes and his offensive threats. When he played for Texas Tech, the numbers Mahomes put up -- including a record 819 total yards and 734 passing yards in an, ahem, loss -- routinely failed to overcome a shoddy defense.However, as the Chiefs (11-4) ride a five-game win streak entering a home game Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers (5-10), the defense has been key. The unit has allowed 9.6 points on average and four total touchdowns during that stretch , including no TDs in the last nine quarters."We understand that if we can go out there and put up some points,'' Mahomes said, "then they're going to hold the lead for us, and we're going to find a way to get a win."Mahomes' quick-strike capability enables Kansas City to gamble defensively with different blitzes and coverages that first-year coordinator has Steve Spagnuolo introduced."You could see the want-to early (this season),'' Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said of the defense. "The positive thinking and the want to do the right things, you saw that right away.''Newcomers such as safety Tyrann Mathieu, defensive end Frank Clark and linebacker Terrell Suggs, whom the Chiefs claimed off waivers just last week, bought in immediately and provided leadership. Mathieu was especially helpful improving an aggressive secondary.Meanwhile, Mahomes overcame ankle, knee and hand injuries. After missing two games, he has engineered a team as hot as any except the Baltimore Ravens (11 straight wins), who are assured the top seed in the AFC playoffs.The Chiefs, who clinched the AFC West title in a Dec. 8 win at New England, sit No. 3 in the conference and will play their starters Sunday. They must beat the Chargers and hope for an improbable Miami upset at New England to overtake the Patriots for the No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye.
Reports: Chiefs' RB Ware to IR; DT Williams activated
The Kansas City Chiefs placed running back Spencer Ware on injured reserve on Wednesday, ending his short stint with the team this season, according to multiple reports.The Chiefs also activated defensive tackle Xavier Williams off injured reserve. Williams, expected to add depth, had eight tackles and a forced fumble in five games before sustaining an ankle injury. Williams, 27, made 47 tackles last season, his first in Kansas City after three years with the Arizona Cardinals.Ware was signed three weeks ago as the team placed running back Darrel Williams on IR with a hamstring injury. Ware ran 17 times for 51 yards in three games before sustaining a shoulder injury.It was the 28-year-old's only action this season after the Indianapolis Colts put him on the reserve/physically unable to perform list in early August as he was recovering from ankle surgery.
Chiefs smother Bears in 26-3 win
Patrick Mahomes passed for 251 yards Sunday and the Kansas City defense continued its late-season surge as the Chiefs won their fifth straight by stifling the host Chicago Bears 26-3.After previously clinching the AFC West title, the Chiefs (11-4) still have an outside shot at a first-round bye in the playoffs.However, they will need to beat the Los Angeles Chargers in Kansas City and also have Miami upset New England in Foxborough, Mass., on the last day of the regular season to overtake the Patriots for the No. 2 seed.Tight end Travis Kelce led the Chiefs receivers with eight catches for 74 yards. Mahomes went 23 of 33 passing with two touchdowns, including a 14-yarder to running back Damien Williams with 10:05 remaining. Harrison Butker added two field goals.Chicago (7-8), already eliminated from playoff contention, did not score until the final play of the third quarter when Eddy Pineiro booted a 46-yard field goal. The Bears generated just 234 total yards.Hype throughout the week centered on the quarterbacks and how the Bears selected Mitchell Trubisky ahead of Mahomes in the 2017 draft. After engineering Chicago to the playoffs last year, Trubisky continued his struggles, going 18 of 34 for 157 yards.
Chiefs ride strong defense into Bears matchup
Even when Patrick Mahomes improvises to make throws, Tyreek Hill races to get open and Travis Kelce sheds coverage, the offense cannot do it all for the Chiefs.Kansas City tried that last season and came within an overtime coin toss of the AFC championship. Yet it became clear that a successful postseason also demanded defensive improvement.With the Chiefs (10-4) qualified for the playoffs based on a fourth consecutive AFC West title, their defense continues to make an impressive late-season push. That unit will attempt to flex its muscle again Sunday on the road against the Chicago Bears (7-7)."Ultimately, it is just playing well on first and second down, understanding that we do have some guys up front that can really wreck a game," Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu said. "On the back end, we are truly confident in what we can do and in our abilities."The Chiefs have won four consecutive games while allowing opponents an 11.3-point average. Their greatest concern, a rush defense ranked 26th in the NFL, yielded just 90 yards on average during that stretch.Even more exciting is the addition of veteran Terrell Suggs, a former All-Pro the Chiefs claimed off waivers Monday to add depth after defensive end Alex Okafor tore a pectoral muscle in Kansas City's win over the Denver Broncos a day earlier.Kansas City's postseason potential thanks to Mahomes, and an encouraging conversation with coach Andy Reid, convinced Suggs to join the Chiefs."It's hard to turn down (playing with) the reigning MVP and a playoff team," Suggs said, "and just the exciting things they're doing, this atmosphere."Kansas City likely will to be content to keep Suggs fresh and choose his spots. However, other newcomers such as Mathieu and defensive end Frank Clark came in and immediately took ownership of a unit that couldn't get Mahomes the ball in overtime in last season's loss to the New England Patriots for the AFC title.
Reports: Chiefs lose Okafor, claim LB Suggs off waivers
After losing defensive end Alex Okafor for the season to injury, the Kansas City Chiefs claimed former Arizona Cardinals linebacker Terrell Suggs off waivers, multiple media outlets reported Monday.Citing a source, ESPN reported that Okafor sustained a torn pectoral muscle on Sunday, when the Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos 23-3. Injured while sacking Broncos quarterback Drew Lock, Okafor has 22 tackles, including five sacks, in 10 games this season, his seventh year in the NFL but first with the Chiefs. He has missed four games due to injuries with the Chiefs.Suggs, who played 16 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens before joining the Cardinals this season, said last week he would "strongly consider" not reporting to a team other than the Ravens, according to ESPN.A source told ESPN that the Ravens passed on claiming Suggs, 37, because they were last in the waiver wire order and it "wouldn't make sense." He had 37 tackles, 5.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in 13 games for the Cardinals, who released him on Friday. It was his first season in his home state of Arizona.
Mahomes, Chiefs romp over Broncos in snow
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 340 yards and two touchdowns in the snow Sunday as the Kansas City Chiefs won their fourth straight, stuffing the Denver Broncos 23-3 at Kansas City, Mo.Snow began accumulating three hours before kickoff and persisted throughout the game. That didn't prevent Mahomes from going 27 of 34, though he threw an interception, as the Chiefs (10-4) continued their quest for a first-round bye in the playoffs after already clinching the AFC West title.The victory was the ninth straight for Kansas City over Denver (5-9), which generated just 251 yards (139 in the first three quarters) coming off back-to-back wins in the first two starts by rookie quarterback Drew Lock.Travis Kelce became the first tight end in NFL history to record 1,000 yards receiving in four consecutive seasons. He snagged 11 catches for 142 yards. The Chiefs totaled 419 yards.Mahomes went 7-for-7 engineering a touchdown on the first series of the second half, spotting Kelce and Tyreek Hill three times each. Hill scored on a 5-yard grab. Mahomes then scrambled to find Sammy Watkins for a two-point conversion to complete the game's scoring.Lock, a second-round pick from Missouri, grew up just 15 miles from Arrowhead Stadium in Lee's Summit, Mo. He passed for 208 yards in his homecoming, going 18 of 40 with an interception.Denver wide receiver Courtland Sutton passed the 1,000-yard receiving mark with four catches for 79 yards.
Mahomes eyes improvement as Broncos, Lock visit Chiefs
The last three performances by Patrick Mahomes have been quite pedestrian by the standards the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback set a year ago, when he earned MVP honors in the NFL.Mahomes passed for three touchdowns collectively, with two interceptions, while going 60 of 101 for an average of 213.3 yards.Yet the Chiefs (9-4) won each game and clinched a fourth consecutive AFC West title. Now they are competing for seeding in the playoffs, beginning with a Sunday clash at home against the Denver Broncos (5-8).While Kansas City is ecstatic that its defense is stepping up to play a vital role, its quarterback is being harsh on himself."It's just not execution at a high enough level, and it starts with me,'' said Mahomes, who bruised his throwing hand Sunday vs. the Patriots but practiced in full on Wednesday. "It's how I've always been, ever since I was in high school. I kind of rely on my arm and these back-foot throws. Those are all cool, but you want to make sure you're still doing the fundamentals.''He will do so within the framework of the entire playbook, to hear Andy Reid tell it. The Chiefs coach insisted he will not shape a game plan with an eye on the playoffs by holding anything back over the last three weeks of the regular season."It's full steam ahead. That's how we roll,'' Reid said. "As far as saving plays, we've got enough plays. We shouldn't have to save any. You go play, and if you want another one, we've got a pretty good file.''A case in point came last Sunday in the Chiefs' 23-16 win at New England. Travis Kelce scored on a 4-yard rush off an RPO as the quarterback in the Wildcat formation. Yes, the same Kelce who needs just 11 yards to become the first tight end in NFL history with four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons as a receiver.Although Kansas City has won eight straight against Denver and dropped only two of its last 27 matchups against division rivals -- including a 30-6 rout at Denver on Oct. 17 -- the Broncos are 2-0 since rookie quarterback Drew Lock was inserted as starter.
Chiefs QB Mahomes nursing bruised hand
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is dealing with a bruised right hand, coach Andy Reid announced Monday.X-rays were negative on the throwing hand of Mahomes, who landed awkwardly while attempting to complete a pass during Sunday's 23-16 victory over the New England Patriots."Patrick's hand is OK. It's bruised up pretty good, but there's no break," Reid said.
Chiefs stop Brady's late charge, survive Patriots
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 283 yards Sunday, and the Kansas City Chiefs clinched their fourth consecutive AFC West title by outlasting the New England Patriots 23-16 at Foxborough, Mass.The result snapped New England's 21-game home winning streak (counting postseason outcomes), the longest home string in franchise history. The Patriots (10-3) lost their second straight game overall and dropped a full game behind Baltimore, which has the head-to-head tiebreaker, in the race for the AFC's top seed.Tom Brady drove the Patriots 68 yards to the Kansas City 5 on their final possession, but Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland broke up a fourth-and-3 pass intended for Julian Edelman in the end zone with 1:06 remaining.The Chiefs (9-4) scored 23 consecutive points and went up 23-7 on a 41-yard field goal by Harrison Butker early in the third quarter.After that, Kansas City had a punt blocked, lost a fumble and went three-and-out twice as the Patriots rallied behind their stingy defense. The blocked punt, by Nate Ebner, enabled the Pats to end a string of six scoreless possessions, as they needed just two plays to cover 19 yards and crawl within 23-13.A 29-yard field goal by New England's Nick Folk with 11:42 remaining was the last of the scoring. Patriots wideout N'Keal Harry appeared to score a touchdown four plays before the field goal, but he was incorrectly ruled out of bounds, and New England was out of challenges.Mahomes completed 26 of 40 passes with one touchdown and one interception, hitting tight end Travis Kelce for seven catches and 66 yards. Brady countered with only 169 passing yards, going 19 of 36 with a score and a pick.
Chiefs RB Damien Williams (ribs) ruled out vs. Patriots
Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams has been ruled out for this weekend's road game against the New England Patriots.LeSean McCoy, rookie Darwin Thompson and the returning Spencer Ware are expected to handle the backfield responsibilities for the Chiefs (8-4) on Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET) against the Patriots (10-2).Williams injured his ribs in Kansas City's 24-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in Mexico City on Nov. 18 and has not played since. The 27-year-old has 309 yards rushing and three touchdowns this season to go along with 23 receptions for 156 yards and a score.McCoy, 31, leads the Chiefs with 410 yards on the ground and four rushing touchdowns. He also has 27 receptions for 177 yards and a score.
It's Mahomes vs. Brady as Chiefs visit Patriots
Rather than dwell on what wrinkles Bill Belichick might concoct for a matchup, Andy Reid prefers to focus on what the Kansas City Chiefs do best."When you play Bill and the Patriots," said the Kansas City coach, "you're going to get something different. That's where you bank on your own scheme."The strategy paid no dividends for the Chiefs a year ago when they dropped two matchups against the reigning Super Bowl champions. Another opportunity unfolds Sunday when Kansas City (8-4) visits New England (10-2) at Foxborough, Mass.The Patriots won 43-40 at home during the 2018 regular season and 37-31 on the road in overtime in a memorable AFC Championship Game. New England won the OT coin toss and kept the ball in Tom Brady's hands as he engineered the decisive touchdown, while Patrick Mahomes watched helplessly on the Chiefs sideline.In those losses, Mahomes and Co. managed just nine first-half points collectively. Kansas City rallied in both games, then failed to protect fourth-quarter leads."The biggest thing I learned is to not get rattled," said Mahomes, "and kind of see what (the defense) is and realize it might be an unscouted look, then get us into the best play there is."Those improvisational skills could come in handy considering two versatile threats, Baltimore's Lamar Jackson and Houston's Deshaun Watson, are the only QBs to beat the Patriots' rock-solid defense this season.One noteworthy development last year found the Kansas City tandem of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce limited to four catches in the playoff rematch after combining for 12 catches in the regular-season loss.Not that Belichick is relying on past performances to contain either threat. He sounded amused when asked if Hill was the fastest player in the NFL."Does anyone not think he's the fastest player in the league?" Belichick asked rhetorically. As for Kelce, "you can call him whatever you want," Belichick said, "he's one of the best receivers in the league."Reid delivered a similar response when it was inferred that Brady is over the hill and misses the usual array of productive receivers he has had at his disposal.
Chiefs RB Williams (hamstring) placed on IR
The Kansas City Chiefs placed Darrel Williams on injured reserve Thursday with a hamstring issue, ending the running back's season.Defensive back Alex Brown was moved from the practice squad to the 53-man active roster, while wide receiver Gehrig Dieter was added to the practice squad.Williams, 24, was injured in Sunday's 40-9 victory over the Oakland Raiders when he appeared hobbled after a play where he did not take on any contact. He finished the season with 141 yards and three touchdowns on 41 carries in 12 games. He also caught 15 passes for 167 yards and one score.