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What we learned about the Chiefs in the Super Bowl bye week

Taking a look at the week of January 25 on Arrowhead Pride...

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NFL: NOV 29 Chiefs at Buccaneers Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Five things we learned as the Chiefs repeated as AFC champions

After the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Buffalo Bills 38-24 to win their second straight AFC title, our Matt Stagner listed seven winners and three losers from the victory. The Arrowhead Pride Nerd Squad featured the team’s defensive performance among their three big takeaways of the game. In his rapid reaction, Pete Sweeney noted the similarities between Sunday’s game and the win over the Houston Texans in the 2019 postseason. And John Dixon had a quick take on the coming Super Bowl matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But I will take 25-year-old Patrick Mahomes over 43-year-old Tom Brady. I will also take Travis Kelce over Rob Gronkowski. I’ll gladly accept Tyreek Hill over Mike Evans. I have no problem with Harrison Butker over Ryan Succop. And I’ll take Tyrann Mathieu over just about anybody. Yes... Tampa Bay’s edge rushers would worry any team — but if we really needed to worry about that, the San Francisco 49ers would be the defending world champions.

So... see you in Tampa, Tom. When the game begins, Patrick will likely be thinking of it as the overtime period of the 2018 AFC Championship game. Good luck with that, Buccaneers.

Report: Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher tore his Achilles during AFC title game

But there was bad news from the game. We had confirmation on Monday.

Kansas City Chiefs starting left tackle Eric Fisher has torn his Achilles, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The Chiefs offensive lineman left the AFC title game against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said that the injury “didn’t look good” during his post-game press availability with the media. Rapoport’s report confirms that. Fisher will not be available for Kansas City in two weeks as they play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV.

Andy Reid roundup: Four takeaways from the Chiefs head coach

By Monday’s lunch hour, Chiefs coach Andy Reid and his assistants were already hard at work preparing for the Buccaneers.

“We’ve dug in on them this morning and tried to get a jump on that,” said Reid. “We understand that it’s a little bit chaotic with all the media obligations and the things that go on during these next couple weeks, so we’re trying to get a jump on it as best we can before complete chaos hits.”

This is the method the Chiefs used to prepare last year for the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. Kansas City practiced and planned like the game was the Sunday before the Super Bowl.

“What you see is a team that’s not making many mistakes that’s got a high level of execution going on offensively and defensively,” added Reid on the Bucs. “A variety of looks on both sides of the ball, solid on special teams, and you can see where Tom’s (Brady) leadership on the offensive side is showing. He’s playing at an extremely high level. For somebody his age, it’s unbelievable. I mean, it’s unbelievable for a 25-year-old to be doing what he’s doing, let alone a 43-year-old.”

Report: Chiefs’ Sammy Watkins, Le’Veon Bell ‘expected to be ready’ for Super Bowl LV

Tuesday brought word that two of Kansas City’s veteran contributors would likely be ready to play in the championship.

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins and running back Le’Veon Bell are “expected to be ready” to be ready to play in Super Bowl LV, according to a new ESPN report from Dianna Russini.

Watkins, 27, suffered a calf injury in the Chiefs’ Week 16 game against the Atlanta Falcons, and he has not played since. Watkins was a limited participant in practice leading up to the AFC title against the Buffalo Bills, but he was ultimately ruled out in what was believed to be a game-time decision.

Bell, 28, has a knee injury that is believed to date back to the Chiefs’ Week 15 game against the New Orleans Saints. Bell was listed on the injury report but practiced fully the following week — but then he missed practice time leading up to the Chiefs’ Week 17 game. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said Bell’s knee swelled up last Wednesday, and he did not play against the Bills.

Chiefs sign offensive tackle to reserve/future contract

Then Kansas City made a roster move for 2021.

On Tuesday, the Kansas City Chiefs signed offensive tackle Prince Tega Wanogho to a reserve/future contract for 2021.

A sixth-round draft pick for the Philadelphia Eagles last spring, the 6-foot-5, 308 pound Wanogho started as a defensive end in high school — but was converted to an offensive tackle at Auburn, becoming their full-time starter for his final two collegiate seasons. He spent 2020 on the Eagles’ practice squad, getting only a few special teams snaps in the Week 17 game against the Washington Football Team.

When their season ended, the Eagles chose not to sign him for a reserve/future contract of their own, making him a free agent. The Chiefs added him to their practice squad on January 16 and then released him on Monday. In what has become a familiar pattern during the postseason, the team signed him to a reserve/future deal the next day.

Report: Bucs and Chiefs’ Super Bowl LV uniform colors revealed

On Wednesday, we learned that even though they would be the designated (and actual) home team, the Buccaneers would be wearing their road uniforms for the championship game.

The NFC champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers will wear their white jerseys with pewter pants in Super Bowl LV, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

That means the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs will wear their red home uniforms, just as they did in their Super Bowl LIV win over the San Francisco 49ers last season.

Film review: It seems 2019’s Juan Thornhill has returned

Then Matt Lane took a look at the second-year safety’s impressive film from Sunday’s win.

Thornhill’s ability to attack plays downhill, read the field and (most importantly) cover enough ground as a single deep safety opens up the entire playbook for Spagnuolo.

Thornhill is playing exceptionally well in these playoffs and his isolated play is helping tilt games in the Chiefs’ favor. The speed, coverage ability and aggression have been huge for the Chiefs in big moments, but it’s the added versatility that may be the biggest boost.

What Thornhill allows Spagnuolo is to run any defensive play call he could ever want because he does something else no one on the team can, which is play a single-high safety. The defensive back trio of Mathieu, Sneed and Thornhill is simply one of the best in the NFL, and it showed up big time against the Bills in the second straight conference title win.

Social media criticism has fueled Chiefs’ Super Bowl run

On Thursday, Chiefs players were surprisingly forthcoming about what they do on the Internet.

Most athletes will tell the public that they don’t pay attention to television shows or social media interactions that discuss each game and team. Everyone knows that isn’t true in all cases — so it was refreshing when Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones was glaringly honest about the topic in his Thursday media availability.

“Honestly, I get a lot of motivation from Twitter,” Jones told reporters. “I read everything, I might not ever speak on it but I read and see everything — and I take it personally. I take it very, very personal. No matter if it’s good or bad, I just take it to heart. I wear my emotions on my sleeves when it comes to that type of stuff. I’m not an opinionated person but when people have an opinion on me or how I play, I tend to take it personal.”

Reports: Willie Gay suffers knee injury, won’t play in Super Bowl LV vs. Bucs

Friday brought bad news.

Kansas City Chiefs rookie linebacker Willie Gay Jr. won’t play in Super Bowl LV against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after having emergency knee surgery, according to WCBI’s Jon Sokoloff. Sokoloff covers Mississippi State Football.

610 Sports Radio’s Carrington Harrison confirmed the report and added the detail that Gay tore his meniscus at Chiefs practice on Thursday.

The Chiefs drafted Gay, 22, in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft. He suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 17 against the Los Angeles Chargers and had missed the Chiefs’ first two playoffs games. There was hope within the Chiefs that with the additional week, he may be able to suit up for the Super Bowl.

Patrick Mahomes says new home basketball court will be ‘for the kids’

Then we told you about the reigning Super Bowl MVP’s conversation with NBC Sports’ Dan Patrick.

Mahomes joked that with his new contract, he was going to be around Kansas City “for a few years,” so he’s putting down some roots. He’s bought a “plot of land” in the area, where he is going to build a house. It will have some... uhhh... extra amenities.

“I’m going to have a half-football field so I can get some work in with some guys out there. I’ll have a basketball court — but don’t tell Brett Veach.” Mahomes chuckled, speaking of the Kansas City general manager’s concern he could be injured. But he covered himself quickly. “That’s not for me, that’s for the kids. It’ll have a little golf stuff out there as well.”

Mahomes didn’t volunteer how he would be able to have a complete workout on a field that’s just 50 yards long; it seems like he’d have to save his longer passes for the Chiefs’ practice facility.