The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Indianapolis Colts, 31-13, to punch their ticket to the AFC Championship Game on Saturday afternoon.
Kansas City jumped out to a quick 17-point lead and never looked back as the defense held Indianapolis to just 263 yards of total offense.
Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 27-of-41 passes for 278 yards in the game, rushing for a 4-yard touchdown late in the first half. The 23-year-old quarterback – making the first postseason start of his young career – led Kansas City to points on four of the Chiefs’ first five possessions to build an early advantage.
Tailback Damien Williams was responsible for the Chiefs’ first score, maneuvering his way through defenders on an 11-yard touchdown scamper before wide receiver Tyreek Hill dashed 36 yards for a score on Kansas City’s next possession.
Hill tallied 108 yards of total offense in the contest, matching tight end Travis Kelce for the most on the team.
Mahomes found Kelce early and often in the game, connecting with the veteran pass-catcher seven times for 108 yards. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins, competing in his first game since late November, chipped in six catches for 62 yards on the day.
And, as the offense built a formidable lead, the defense certainly did its part to protect it.
Kansas City held Indianapolis to just seven offensive points in the game, yielding half of the Colts’ points on a recovered blocked punt in the end zone. Indianapolis had just 15 first downs and 263 total yards on the afternoon.
Linebacker Justin Houston was right in the middle of that defensive effort, sacking Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck twice while fellow linebacker Dee Ford chipped in a strip sack of his own.
It all helped the Chiefs hold Indianapolis – which posted the top third-down conversion rate in the NFL this season – to 0-of-9 on third down in the contest.
The Chiefs will take on either the New England Patriots or Los Angeles Chargers next weekend at Arrowhead Stadium for a berth in the Super Bowl. It will mark the first time in franchise history that the Chiefs have ever hosted the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead.