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Arrowheadlines: Mahomes and Kelce break playoff touchdown record

Chiefs headlines for Monday, January 22

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NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The latest

Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce connect for record 16th playoff touchdown, passing Brady, Gronkowski | The Athletic

The record-breaking touchdown came in the third quarter and was the Kansas City Chiefs pair’s second score of the night. Kelce caught his first touchdown late in the second quarter to give Kansas City its first lead over the Buffalo Bills, then caught his second in the third quarter as the Chiefs regained their lead.

From 2010 to 2021, Brady and Gronkowski wrecked defenses to the tune of 15 postseason scores across their championship tenures with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a figure that surpassed the 12 touchdowns from Joe Montana and Jerry Rice for the San Francisco 49ers.

Brady and Gronkowski reached their record in 22 postseason games, while the Chiefs’ divisional-round contest on Sunday marked Kelce’s 16th postseason game with Mahomes.

Prior to the Mahomes era, Kelce caught one touchdown in the 2017 playoffs from Alex Smith, who would be supplanted by Mahomes the following season.

NFL playoffs: What We Learned from Chiefs’ win over Bills in AFC Divisional Round | NFL.com

4. Chiefs secondary did their job.

Kansas City rang up eight plays of 20 yards or longer. The Bills had none. Josh Allen wasn’t sacked, but his longest completion in the game was 15 yards. Fifteen! The Bills didn’t have Gabe Davis, and they lost Dawson Knox and Khalil Shakir to injuries for parts of the game. But every time they tried to attack downfield, it just didn’t happen. Allen was 0 of 4 on passes traveling 20-plus yards downfield, which is especially impressive considering the Chiefs’ pass rush was non-existent for long stretches of the game. Stefon Diggs caught three passes for 21 yards and had a 7-yard run, with only one 3-yard catch after halftime. In two games against the Chiefs this season, he had seven catches for 45 yards on a whopping 19 targets. That was a big reason why the Chiefs had defensive success against the Bills, at least on the scoreboard. Things got a little dicey late, and Shakir made three huge catches among his seven grabs, and Dalton Kincaid was starting to lean on the Chiefs a bit. But again, everything was kept in front of them. The Chiefs played a ton of zone coverage with multiple high safeties, and Allen misfired on several passes where it looked like he was trying to get something — anything — going downfield.

Four Takeaways From the KC Chiefs’ 27-24 Win Over the Buffalo Bills | Arrowhead Report

Andy Reid and Matt Nagy’s offense showed major progress

Had you asked anyone before this game what the reason for a Chiefs loss would be, it’d be a safe bet to predict the vast majority picked a poor offensive showing. After all, this is the same group that cost the team several games during the regular season and looked good but limited in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Despite that, Kansas City came out firing and moved the chains with relative ease on Sunday in hostile territory.

Putting up 13 points in the opening half of play, the Chiefs ran 21 plays to the Bills’ 41 but averaged a scorching eight yards per play. That success parlayed into the third quarter, when another touchdown was scored and 11.4 yards per play was the new average mark. A tumultuous fourth quarter started with a big-time run by Isiah Pacheco, but a Mecole Hardman fumble to finish that drive and a punt on the following one slowed things down quite a bit. Although the final-frame offense was nothing to write home about, the defense clamped down when needed and paved the way for the Chiefs to survive and advance.

Where does Taylor Swift get all her Chiefs merch from? | NBC News

Some of her looks are one-of-a-kind finds or were custom made for her. Most of the Chiefs gear Swift has sported comes from local stores and independent fashion designers.

Sarah Chapelle, who meticulously documents the singer’s looks on her popular fashion blog Taylor Swift Style, wrote in an email that Swift tends to put a lot of intention into her fashion choices.

Instead of wearing official NFL merch to every game, Chapelle wrote, she often reps pieces from small and women-owned businesses, as well as brands that offer vintage options.

“Opting to spotlight these types of brands,” she wrote, “is a clear reflection of her personal values that will also hopefully have the indirect benefit of creating a market of more options for female fans of the sport, who deserve to have the opportunity to show their support for something they’re passionate about with garments that aren’t just pink washed.”

Chiefs’ Jaylen Watson Calls Out Bills Fans for Throwing Snowballs: ‘Very Classy’ | Bleacher Report

The Kansas City Chiefs dodged some snowballs and the Buffalo Bills to emerge with a 27-24 victory in Sunday’s AFC Divisional Round showdown.

Chiefs cornerback Jaylen Watson called out Bills fans for throwing those snowballs after the game:

Video showed Patrick Mahomes in particular being pelted by snowballs from fans at Highmark Stadium as he left the field with a win:

The snowy conditions in Buffalo have been a storyline all playoffs with the Wild Card Round game against the Pittsburgh Steelers being postponed for a day and fans helping clear the stadium so the games could be played.

Now they are a storyline in the aftermath of the Chiefs’ win.

League to review rule that recurred in Chiefs-Bills playoff game | CBS Sports

One of the most controversial rules in football will be reviewed by the NFL this offseason. As CBS Sports NFL lead Insider Jonathan Jones reported in December, NFL EVP Troy Vincent said the league will discuss amending the touchback rule regarding fumbling through the end zone.

This is notable, because previously, there hadn’t been much conversation among decision-makers about a potential change. When asked last year if there had been any formal discussion in recent years to change the rule, a competition committee source texted Jones saying: “None.”

This hotly debated topic came up once again during the Kansas City Chiefs’ divisional-round victory against the Buffalo Bills, when Chiefs wideout Mecole Hardman fumbled the ball at the Bills’ 1-yard line, and it went through the end zone and out of bounds. The Bills were then granted possession at their own 20-yard line.

ESPN added after this play that there’s a “good chance” the rule will be changed, and there’s momentum behind it.

Around the NFL

Eagles fire Sean Desai after defensive coordinator was stripped of play-calling duties: Source | The Athletic

Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Sean Desai, who was relieved of his play-calling duties on Dec. 17, was fired by coach Nick Sirianni, a league source confirmed Sunday. It happened days after Sirianni was scheduled to meet with owner Jeffrey Lurie following the disastrous finish of what was once a promising season. NFL Network first reported the news of Desai’s firing.

Significant staff changes were expected after Sirianni’s Eagles failed to follow through on a 10-1 start that unraveled into a 1-7 finish, including a 32-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Monday’s NFC wild-card game. Indeed, Sirianni and general manager Howie Roseman called several coaches and agents last week to compile a list of candidates to present Lurie as part of a plan to overhaul the staff in a fourth year under Sirianni.

That Sirianni chose to fire Desai indicates that Lurie has continued to entrust the future of the team under Sirianni’s leadership. Sirianni’s job status was certainly under question considering the team’s collapse. He frequently accepted the blame for the collective mismanagement of the team’s 10-1 start, which included his decision to demote Desai when the Eagles’ record dipped to 10-3 amidst the consistent dysfunction of Desai’s defense.

Lions vs. Buccaneers score, takeaways: Jared Goff, clutch ‘D’ lift Detroit to first NFC title game since 1991 | CBS Sports

Why the Lions won

Detroit’s offense took control of the game in the second half, while its defense came up with two big stops to preserve the win.

After an underwhelming first half — the teams were tied 10-10 at the break — the Lions’ offense caught fire in the second half. They did so by finding the soft spots in the middle of Tampa Bay’s defense. Goff, who threw for 99 yards in the first half, threw for 188 in the second half. A large chunk of that production came on completions to St. Brown, who had 5 catches for 59 yards in the second half after just 18 yards on 3 grabs in the game’s first 30 minutes. Tight end Sam LaPorta also came up big with 65 yards on 9 catches.

Goff’s success through the air opened things up for the Lions’ running game, which came up with a major fourth-down score on Craig Reynolds’ 1-yard plunge that gave Detroit a 17-10 lead late in the third quarter.

Tampa Bay tied the scored on its next drive as the teams headed into the final quarter tied 17-17, but the Lions countered with two more drives in the fourth that ended up in the Buccaneers’ end zone. One of the game’s biggest plays during these sequences was a 16-yard completion from Goff to St. Brown on a 3rd-and-15 play that helped set up the duo’s go-ahead score moments later.

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Instabreakdown: Chiefs’ offense explodes to outduel a hot Bills team

Offense

The main takeaway from the Chiefs’ offensive performance against the Bills was simple: the unit truly saved its best performance for the biggest moment.

The group was as efficient as it was in any game this year, hovering between eight and nine yards per play for the majority of the game. Ignoring the 26-second drive before halftime, the Chiefs scored on the first five drives of the game — and only faced three third downs through that last touchdown, which was a minute into the fourth quarter.

Running back Isiah Pacheco took advantage of impactful blocking by the Chiefs’ offensive line, totaling 97 yards over 15 rushing attempts and scoring a touchdown. Using key blocks in space from right guard Trey Smith and center Creed Humphrey, both Pacheco and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire found room on the ground; Clyde exploded for 28 yards on one play that featured a powerful double-team block by Smith and right tackle Jawaan Taylor.

Tight end Travis Kelce was very timely in the plays he made. He found space for chunk gains on each of the team’s first two field-goal drives — then took advantage of a blown coverage by Buffalo to score a touchdown, tying the record for postseason touchdowns by a quarterback-tight end combination (15). Overall, the Hall of Famer totaled 75 yards over 5 catches — and added another score later.

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