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In win against Dolphins, Chiefs find strength in overcoming adversity

The season’s 12th win wasn’t an easy one, but Chiefs stars say it simply reflects their ability to rally together when the chips are down.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Miami Dolphins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

After the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Miami Dolphins 33-27 on Sunday afternoon, the Chiefs were AFC West champions for the fifth consecutive season. It wasn’t an accomplishment that head coach Andy Reid wanted to take lightly.

“They don’t give those away,” he told reporters in Miami. “They give the hats away, but they don’t give these championships away. So I’m proud of the guys for that.”

Reid acknowledged that there is still work to be done in order for the team to bring home another Super Bowl championship, but that what the team has accomplished this far deserves recognition.

“It’s a nice accomplishment by the whole organization,” he said. “This isn’t one person or anything else. This is a whole organization — from the Hunt family down to [team president] Mark Donovan and [general manager] Brett Veach. Everybody has had a piece of this.”

That was certainly true on the field during Sunday’s game. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw three interceptions for only the second time in his career — and wide receiver Mecole Hardman gave up a fumble. But thanks to the Chiefs defense — which scored a safety after the fumble — Miami was able to gain only eight points from those four turnovers.

“It says a lot about this football team in general,” said Mahomes after the game. “It talks about how it’s not just an offense, it’s not just a defense, it’s not just special teams. We’re a complete football team that finds ways to win in every single way.”

By early in the second quarter, Mahomes had been intercepted twice — and the Chiefs had fallen behind 10-0.

“I mean, it’s 80 something degrees outside — and l’m putting the defense back on the field over and over again,” said Mahomes. “They’re finding ways to get stops and [keep] us in that ball game so the offense can get points.”

In fact, that was the moment when the Chiefs offense exploded. In just over 11 minutes of game time, the team scored 21 unanswered points from Tyreek Hill’s 32-yard touchdown run and a pair of touchdown passes to Hill and Travis Kelce. And then after the defense forced a three-and-out, Hardman’s 67-yard punt return for a touchdown extended the scoring streak to 28 points — all in just 12:26.

“These things don’t come easy,” said Mahomes. “You have to battle every single offseason, you have to battle every training camp — [and] during the season, you go through adversity.”

“It is what it is — how you’re going to handle adversity,” said Kelce. “Are you going to start pointing fingers, or are you going to man up and just do what you can do to help the team win?”

Kelce credited offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy for rallying the team on the sideline.

“I think Coach Bieniemy’s one of the best in the league when it comes to keeping everybody together and rallying the troops — especially when we’re seIf-inflicting ourselves.” he said.

Kelce pointed out that because the team has so many players who can make plays on the field, it’s easy to try to do too much.

“Sometimes we try and be — or try and do — one thing more,” he noted. “Or something more than who we are — and it’s uncharacteristic. Coach Bieniemy does a great job of reeling us all in and keeping our composure.”

The way they have responded in bad moments has become a hallmark of this Chiefs squad — one that overcame multi-score deficits in every one of last season’s playoff games to win the team’s first championship in 50 years. For Mahomes, the meaning is clear.

“It just shows that we have a veteran group of guys that really understand that we just have to make sure that we keep each other accountable — and keep playing for the guy next to you — and we can find ways to win football games.”

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