KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This time, Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs took care of business.
A year after falling short with an overtime home loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game, the Chiefs treated the Arrowhead Stadium faithful to a 35-24 victory Sunday over the Tennessee Titans. In so doing, Kansas City punched its ticket to the Super Bowl for the first time in the last 50 years.
The stretch is the longest between two Super Bowl appearances for a single team in NFL history.
The Chiefs did need to climb out of an early hole to secure the victory. For the second time in as many weeks, they spotted their opponent a double-digit first-half lead before coming to life. Tennessee’s 17-7 advantage midway through the second quarter — powered by Derrick Henry’s eight carries for 32 yards and a touchdown — wasn’t as dramatic, however, as the 24-0 deficit Kansas City faced in the divisional round against the Houston Texans.
Mahomes and Tyreek Hill connected twice in the first half on a pair of touchdown passes: an 8-yard score on a jet sweep and then a 20-yard strike. Then Mahomes ripped off a 27-yard touchdown run down the left sideline with 11 seconds left in the second quarter to give the Chiefs a 21-17 advantage, their first lead of the day.
Kansas City never trailed again. Despite a quiet first half, Damien Williams rushed for 45 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown on 17 carries. And the Chiefs defense limited Henry, who averaged 188.5 yards the previous two weeks, to 69 yards for the day on 19 carries.
Mahomes finished with a stat line of 23-for-35 passing for 294 yards and three touchdowns, as well as six carries for 56 yards and a touchdown.
The Chiefs will play the winner of the Green Bay Packers-San Francisco 49ers NFC championship game in Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2.