The Kansas City Chiefs held on to defeat the Indianapolis Colts 31-13, and they will host the winner of the other AFC Divisional Round playoff game between the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots next week in the AFC Championship Game.
In a matchup of two of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks, it was Patrick Mahomes (27-for-41, 278 yards) who bested Andrew Luck (19-for-36, 203 yards, touchdown), as the Chiefs went wire to wire after scoring on a five-play, 90-yard drive on the first possession of the game for the win. The Chiefs quickly built a 17-point lead, and the closest the Colts would get after was 10 points toward the end of the first half after a Zach Pascal touchdown following a blocked punt.
It will be Kansas City’s first appearance in the AFC Championship Game since 1993; a 30-13 loss against the Buffalo Bills. It will be head coach Andy Reid’s sixth all-time appearance in a conference championship game (all five as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles), and he is 1-4 in his previous trips, with his only victory coming in January 2005.
Chiefs AFC Championship Date & Time
Date: Sunday, January 20, 2019
Start Time: 6:40 pm ET
For the first time in the 47-year history of Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City will host the AFC Championship Game. It has been a long time coming for the Chiefs faithful, who have seen their team fall at home in the Divisional Round several times in the last 26 years and hadn’t seen a win at Rrowhead Stadium since 1994.
2003 against Peyton Manning and these same Colts, and 2016 against the Pittsburgh Steelers are two games recently that immediately jump out to mind. Reid’s decision to trade Alex Smith this past offseason and hand the reigns of the team to second-year quarterback Mahoems has provided immense dividends for his football team. Despite not throwing a touchdown pass in the win against the Colts on Saturday, Mahomes was instrumental in making several key plays on the run, allowing Damien Williams to eclipse 100 yards (129) on the ground.
Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s defense, led by a ferocious pass rush from Justin Houston and Dee Ford, also did a tremendous job of slowing down Luck and the Colts, although the unit collectively shot themselves in the foot on several occasions throughout the game. The lack of Marlon Mack and a running game earlier in the game killed Indianapolis drives.
Colts head coach Frank Reich never made any attempt to adjust, and his team paid the consequences. Indianapolis finished with 15 total first downs, and an astonishingly awful 0-for-9 on third downs in the entire game.