Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs crosses the goal line for the games second touchdown. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images) By Jacob Bogage Jacob Bogage National sports writer and blogger Email Bio Follow January 12 at 5:33 PM Mahomes returns for Chiefs: And he looks to be moving fine in the pocket.
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Chiefs add a field goal: Harrison Butker’s kick from 39 yards out was perfect, but Kansas City is showing some concern for Patrick Mahomes, who appeared to injure his knee at the end of the 14-play, 53-yard drive. He completed the drive, but was limping in the pocket on the final play and looked to be in pain while hobbling the field. (17-0, Kansas City, 12:13 second quarter)
Chiefs eyeing an early blowout: Kansas City’s offense was able to move the ball very effectively in the first quarter. The Chiefs produced 185 yards of total offense, including 112 for Patrick Mahomes on 8-of-14 attempts. They start the second quarter with a second-and-8 and the Colts‘ 29-yard line. (14-0, Kansas City, start second quarter)
Chiefs Drives Colts Drives Touchdown — 5 plays, 90 yards Punt — 3 plays, 7 yards Touchdown — 8 plays, 70 yards Punt — 3 plays, 0 yards Field goal — 14 plays, 53 yards Punt — 3 plays, 5 yards Chiefs get tricky: Patrick Mahomes pitched to wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who ran 36 yards through the Indianapolis defense for another touchdown. It capped an eight-play, 70-yard drive that was spurred by Kansas City Coach Andy Reid’s decision to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the Colts‘ 36-yard line. Damien Williams ran over the right guard for 11 yards, setting up the flip to Hill for the touchdown. (14-0, Kansas City, 6:38 first quarter)
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Not gonna catch the @cheetah 💨 #LetsRoll #NFLPlayoffs
📺: #INDvsKC on NBC pic.twitter.com/SUvQHKeIHH
— NFL (@NFL) January 12, 2019 Chiefs strike first: The snow doesn’t seem to be bothering Kansas City’s offense. Patrick Mahomes is 3-for-3 through the air already for 61 yards and Damien Williams chugged in from 10 yards out for a score on the Chiefs‘ first drive. (7-0, Kansas City, 10:05 first quarter)
Damien Williams jukin' the whole defense 🔥
Touchdown, @Chiefs ! #LetsRoll
📺: #INDvsKC on NBC pic.twitter.com/QPIiZjHhLl
— NFL (@NFL) January 12, 2019 Pregame analysis: Snow continues to fall as the Colts and Chiefs approach kickoff at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
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Snow is still dumping on KC. There should be snow falling for the start of the Chiefs game! Snowy football games are just the best. pic.twitter.com/yDVyunjlZ8
— Matt Serwe KETV (@MattSerweKETV) January 12, 2019 Snow is still falling. @Chiefs vs @Colts . @KCStar @SportsDailyKC pic.twitter.com/iNntD5DBYm
— John Sleezer (@jsleezer) January 12, 2019 Whether the misery ends or continues today, all I know is that The Snow Game is gonna be epic. pic.twitter.com/mjBtNXa3TR
— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) January 12, 2019 The Colts versus Chiefs matchup might be the most intriguing game of the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, at least if you like innovative offense. After Indianapolis thumped Houston in the wild card game , the Colts look like contenders. They have won five straight games and 10 of their last 11. They’re outscoring opponents 302-171 in that stretch, and quarterback Andrew Luck — finally healthy — has been a revelation .
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Indianapolis’s defense held Houston’s tailbacks to 29 total yards on eight carries and forced Deshaun Watson to be a scrambler, then an unwilling runner. The improvement of the defense, in addition to that of the offensive line, has been a major story this season, highlighted by the success of 2018 draft picks Quenton Nelson and Darius Leonard. Nelson, a guard, and Leonard, a linebacker, became the first rookie teammates to be named first-team all-pro since 1965.
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The Colts will face a big challenge this week in trying to contain Chiefs‘ gunslinger Patrick Mahomes. He leads an explosive offense that averaged an NFL-best 35.3 points per game, and he threw for a league-leading 50 touchdowns. He is considered the favorite to win league MVP in just his first season as a starter
[ ‘We got it done!’: The inside story of how Patrick Mahomes landed with the Chiefs ]
But Kansas City’s defense, which allows 26.3 points per game, could be a major liability if the Colts get rolling
“Will the Chiefs’ defense cost them a championship?” NFL analyst John Clayton asked in his weekly column . “I think it will, and so do many people around the NFL I’ve spoken to. They believe in Mahomes. They believe in [Chiefs Coach] Andy Reid. But the defense can’t stop the run, and it has major problems in pass coverage.”
Kansas City also doesn’t have history in its favor. The Chiefs’s last home playoff win came against the Los Angeles Raiders in 1991
And teams with playoff newcomers at quarterback have often struggled in such situations. As The Post’s Matt Bonesteel noted this week , teams with first-time playoff starters have gone 8-15 this decade, and 14-32 since 2002
One thing we can be sure of is that the elements will play a factor come kickoff. It’s been snowing in Kansas City since Friday night, with anywhere from 4.5 to seven inches of accumulation and light snow expected throughout the day, per The Kansas City Star . Wind chills at Arrowhead Stadium could drop into the lower to mid 20s
A view from the Arrowhead Stadium parking lot. There’s a stadium in there someplace pic.twitter.com/d6e5EZmeQ8
— Les Carpenter (@Lescarpenter) January 12, 2019 When: Saturday, 4:35 p.m. Eastern
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City
How to watch on TV: NBC
How to stream online: NBCSports app
Odds: Chiefs -5
What’s next: The winner advances to the AFC championship game on Jan. 20, playing the winner of Sunday’s matchup between the Chargers and the Patriots. If the Chiefs win, that championship game would be in Kansas City. If the Colts win, that game would be on the road
Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck has the Colts rolling after a dominant win against the Texans. (Michael Wyke/AP) Matchup to watch: Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill vs. Colts defensive backs Clayton Geathers and Malik Hooker
Don’t be surprised if the Colts don’t even attempt to play man coverage on a single snap against the Chiefs this weekend. The played 65 snaps of man coverage during the regular season, the second-lowest total in the NFL, and unless you have cornerbacks who can run a 4.3-second 40-yard dash, that’s usually the correct coverage to play against Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs’s speedster racked up 562 yards against man coverage this season — third-most in the NFL — at a ridiculous 19.4 yards per catch
It’s not like teams fared amazingly against Hill playing zone, either, though. The Chiefs will regularly counter soft zones by sticking Hill in the slot and letting him get a free run at the safeties. The speed with which he gets to the second level of the defense and quickness with which he breaks off his routes is a nearly impossible task for most safeties to match. He racked up 597 yards from the slot against zone coverage — the most in the NFL
Clayton Geathers and Malik Hooker have been successful matching up with slot receivers down the field so far this season, having allowed all of five catches between them. Hill presents a rare challenge, however, and on one play he can completely change the game. — Mike Renner, Pro Football Focus
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