After an explosive first drive by the Colts and T.Y. Hilton, the Colts never lost control. Andrew Luck finished the game 19-of-32 for 222 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. The Texans couldn’t get anything going on offense, with Deshaun Watson finishing the game 29-of-49 with 235 yards, one touchdown, and one pick.
Now, the Colts will go into one of the toughest places to play in the NFL, Arrowhead Stadium, to try and knock off one of the most exciting offenses we’ve ever seen.
This game should be better than most think it will be.
As good as the Chiefs have been during the regular season, they finished the season losing two of their last three. Granted, both of those losses came by a combined eight points to the Chargers and Seahawks, who are both playoff teams.
But the Colts have been hot. After starting off the season 1-5, they finished 10-6, and continued that dominance on Wild Card Weekend. Since Week 7, they’ve averaged 28 points.
And that Chiefs defense, well, isn’t very good.
The Chiefs’ defense was 31st in the NFL in total defense, and 24th in points allowed (26.3). Bill Connelly, Big Football Brain at this here website, wrote about each playoff team’s biggest weakness.
The Chiefs’, of course, was their defense:
Even in a year of offensive renaissance, Kansas City stood out. The Chiefs scored 565 points, 38 more than anyone else and the third-most of all time behind only 2013 Denver (606) and 2007 New England (589). They released running back Kareem Hunt and lost receiver Sammy Watkins to injury, but if they hadn’t, they might have caught at least New England.
Neither of those teams won the Super Bowl in their respective year, though, and both had significantly better defenses than these Chiefs do. The 2013 Broncos ranked 15th in Defensive DVOA, and the 2007 Pats ranked 11th. These Chiefs were 27th heading into Week 17. They have the most efficient offense but the fourth-least efficient defense, they are first in big plays created in open play and third-worst in big plays allowedin open play, et cetera.
If you make a mistake and fall into a third-and-long, Kansas City will absolutely capitalize: they are seventh in third-and-long success rate allowed and fifth in blitz downs sack rate. Chris Jones and Dee Ford combined for nearly 30 sacks this year. But for that to matter, you have to fall into third-and-long first. And considering Kansas City could end up facing Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, and either Drew Brees or Jared Goff in the playoffs, one of those guys will indeed potentially avoid those blitz downs altogether.
I’m going to add Andy Luck into that list.
But let’s chat about this Chiefs offense and Patrick Lavon Mahomes II for a moment.
They’re really, really good. Pat Mahomes and his ability to make throws that none of us thought possible, is a big reason for their success.
In his first year as a starter, Mahomes had 5,097 yards, 50 touchdowns (just the third such season in NFL history) and 12 interceptions. He made things look so easy, that he started throwing no-look passes:
Go ahead and put Mahomes in the Hall of Fame RIGHT NOW. pic.twitter.com/6JWqATKFT6— 50 Sent (@ClayWendler) December 9, 2018
When you have a cannon of an arm like Mahomes does, that’s nice. It’s even better when you have one of the fastest people on the planet as one of your wide receivers in Tyreek Hill.
This was from the preseason, which doesn’t count. I also don’t care that it doesn’t count, because this football went 68.6 yards through the air to Hill. 68.6!
This throw by Patrick Mahomes is ridiculous. 70 yards in the air pic.twitter.com/SuWGVXwW1X— 360°FantasyFootball (@360FFB) August 18, 2018
Yep, they’re good.
Of course, we have to bring up what happened the last time these two met in the postseason.
I’m not a big fan of bringing up old games and the implying that it could possibly have anything to do with a game in the present. Historically, the Chiefs don’t do well against the Colts in the playoffs:
HOWEVER, we can’t talk about a Colts-Chiefs matchup without mentioning their last playoff game in 2014. The Colts completed the second-largest comeback in NFL playoff history, after being down 28 points in what was only Andrew Luck’s second season in the NFL.
T.Y. Hilton caught the game-winner in that one, which came with just under five minutes to go in the game:
It’s not likely that this will happen, but if we get another classic, we can point back to this and claim that history Told Us So.
This has the potential to be one of the best games of the Divisional Round.
Or, Pat Mahomes can show why he’s probably going to be the NFL MVP.