KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This was a little something different for Patrick Mahomes. He’d played football in the rain before. He’d played football in sleet before. Certainly, having played both high school and college ball in Texas, he’d played through searing, unforgiving heat before.
Snow? That was a new one.
“I thought it was pretty cool,” Mahomes said.
That’s a catch-all for so much of what Mahomes does: Left-handed throws? Cool. No-look passes? Cool. Weather conditions that would make an Eskimo angry? Cool.
“The wind wasn’t really blowing that badly, so I could still throw the ball hard,” Mahomes said after leading the Chiefs to a 31-13 divisional-round playoff win over the Colts at frigid Arrowhead Stadium. “I knew as long as the receivers could keep their feet under their shoulders, they’d be fine, and they made some great catches.”
Mahomes, as usual, made some great throws. It wasn’t as awe-inspiring as some of the performances he turned in across what will almost surely be an MVP-level regular season, but he was still terrific: 27-for-41, 278 yards, one rushing touchdown. Not incidentally, he outplayed Colts quarterback Andrew Luck by a wide margin.
“He was what we’ve come to expect,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “I thought he played very well.”
He helped get Kansas City off to a fast start by completing his first three passes on the Chiefs’ first drive, the last one a pretty 34-yarder to Sammy Watkins that set up, on the very next play, a 10-yard rushing touchdown by Damien Williams.
After the Chiefs’ defense forced a three-and-out Mahomes drove K.C. right down the field again, aided by a key Indianapolis offsides penalty on third down. The quick 14-0 lead set a tone that neither team deviated from the rest of the way. The Chiefs were in control of game from the opening kickoff, and played that way.
“We hit pretty fast and got some points on the scoreboard quickly,” Mahomes said. “We’re such a different team when we have confidence. We want to play every single game with that same mentality.”
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Mahomes’ lone score came with his legs, which was both a physical relief — he was hobbled with a sore knee early in the game — and a direct one for his team. After the Colts recovered a blocked punt in the end zone to close a 17-0 gap to 17-7, Mahomes led the Chiefs on a 10-play, 75-yard drive, capped when the quarterback scrambled to the outside and made a successful dive at the pylon for a 24-7 lead.
Now, Mahomes and the Chiefs must wait to see who they will host next week in the AFC title game. Not surprisingly, if Mahomes has a rooting interest, he wasn’t sharing.
“No preference,” he said. “They’re both really good teams with lots of experience. We’re just excited for the opportunity to play the game at home, with a chance at the Super Bowl.”