At 7 p.m. Saturday night, it was four degrees below zero — with a wind chill of 27 below — on GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. But the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins still met for the Wild Card playoff game that would send one of them to the Divisional round of the NFL playoffs. In the coldest game ever hosted by the franchise, the Chiefs defeated the Dolphins 27-6, keeping their hopes alive for a second consecutive Super Bowl victory.
The Chiefs opened the game on offense, starting with a pair of dropped passes before tight end Travis Kelce grabbed the game’s first reception for a first down. But then Kansas City leaned into the running game — Isiah Pacheco had four carries for 39 yards — and the Chiefs took a 7-0 lead with quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ 11-yard touchdown pass to wideout Rashee Rice.
The Kansas City defense forced a three-and-out — and then the offense went three-and-out after beginning its second drive at its own 44-yard line. The Dolphins managed a couple of first downs — but after a penalty moved them back into a third-and-5, Kansas City safety Mike Edwards intercepted Tua Tagovailoa’s under-pressure pass.
The Chiefs went right to work. A 23-yard pass to Rice put them well into Miami territory. But the drive ultimately stalled on a third-and-6 at the 10-yard line. Harrison Butker’s 28-yard field goal extended Kansas City’s lead to 10-0 during the first minute of the second quarter.
Miami responded with two straight passes to former Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill — the second one a 53-yard catch-and-touchdown-run that made the score 10-7. Mahomes opened the next drive with a 23-yarder to Kelce and later converted a fourth-and-5 with a 28-yard run that put the Chiefs in the red zone. But after a touchdown pass to Rice was nullified with a penalty against right tackle Jawaan Taylor, Kansas City had to kick another field goal to make the score 13-7.
On the next drive, the Chiefs’ defense got a big stop on a fourth-and-2 with 4:31 left in the half. Then the teams traded three-and-outs. With 1:43 left, Kansas City got the ball at its own 39. On a third-and-11, Mahomes found Rice for a 39-yard reception to reach the red zone — but the drive stalled. Butker’s 32-yarder gave the Chiefs a 16-7 halftime lead.
Kansas City forced another three-and-out on the opening drive of the third quarter. Then Mahomes got out to midfield with a 20-yard pass to tight end Noah Gray. Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire moved the team into the red zone with a tough, determined 12-yard run. Mahomes scrambled for 13 — and broke his helmet while being tackled. But then the drive stalled — and Butker’s 21-yarder gave the Chiefs a 19-7 lead with 5:32 left in the third quarter.
The Kansas City defense got a stop on the next Miami drive. Then Mahomes led a 14-play drive that consumed over seven minutes and ended with Pacheco’s 3-yard touchdown run that gave Kansas City a commanding 26-7 lead with 11:06 left in the game. Miami used almost five minutes of the remaining time with a 58-yard drive that ended on downs when Tagovailoa’s fourth-and-16 pass was short of the sticks.
The Chiefs went three-and-out — and then the Dolphins used up another 1:36 of the remaining clock to once again give up the ball on downs. The Dolphins got one more possession after an Edwards-Healire fumble — but ran out of time to seal Kansas City’s 26-7 win.