Sunday’s beatdown of the Pittsburgh Steelers confirmed yet another theory of mine: My Chiefs PTSD is very, very real and Patrick Mahomes is the medicine.
Mahomes and the Chiefs defense sent Ben Roethlisberger to the glue farm with a massive 42-21 blowout on Sunday Night Football in which Mahomes put up a comical 30-39, 404 yard, 5 TD, (tipped) INT stat line and unceremoniously buried the aged-out Big Ben dynasty once and for all.
But it wasn’t all gravy. I had pure rage running through me as T.J. Watt scampered into the endzone on a botched wildcat handoff*. There was that voice in the back of my mind, gnawing at me, drumming up memories of Marcus Mariota, Dee Ford, Lin Elliot, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. They were quickly suppressed.
*A note about the wildcat formation: Ban it. Get rid of it. It’s the biggest loser formation in football history. It was created by a team who literally did not have a quarterback, let alone three of the greatest players to ever play their position in the history of football. The all-time yards per attempt for plays run out of the wildcat has to be less than four yards.
Anyway, as I sat all day on the couch and watched the Dallas Cowboys horrendously bumble their way to an 11th straight postseason appearance without advancing to the NFC Championship in one of the most mind-bogglingly horrendous coaching disasters in playoff history, my anxiety started to rise. Favorites are hard to beat on wild card weekend. Historically, this weekend stinks. Good games are hard to come by for the most part. Glad the NFL expanded this round. Every now and then, there’ll be some good ones and sometimes, they’ve involved the Chiefs shitting down their leg.
The true Chiefs pants shitting was historically reserved for the divisional round, but Mahomes in the playoffs isn’t business as usual. The Bills are up next. They throttled the Chiefs in September. I mean, throttled them. My appearance on the State Your Line podcast the night after captured my thoughts on that game perfectly. That was rock bottom for the Chiefs this season, and quite honestly, where the turnaround began. The defense found something in the second half and was a bad Frank Clark roughing the passer call from stopping the Bills for the fourth straight time, giving Patrick the ball back down 11 points with plenty of time left in the third quarter. The Bills still ran the Chiefs out of their own stadium by 18 points.
Chris Jones didn’t play in that game. Just saying.
When you look back at that game, the Chiefs defense looks like an entirely different unit. Willie Gay played 25 snaps. Daniel Sorensen played EVERY DEFENSIVE SNAP. Jarran Reed had his lowest snap count of the season.
But the turnaround started that night. The Chiefs sat at 2-3 after that game. Since then, they’ve lost two games. The matchup at Arrowhead Sunday has symmetry to it. I’m sure Mitch Holthus will have an opening monologue about the golden ratio or divine proportions or the ancient city of Cebolla to really bring it all together Sunday night.
There’s a predisposition to watch Chiefs playoffs games through your hands. We’re in Patrick’s fourth postseason. It’s been nothing but magic. Shelve the nerves. The Bills path to LA requires them to win twice in one season at Arrowhead. Against Patrick Mahomes and a full scale Chiefense revival.
Patrick Mahomes has never lost to the same opponent twice at home in the same season. The last time he lost to the same team twice in one season was the Patriots in 2018. I don’t want to talk about it.
I love this matchup. I love all of the matchups the rest of the way for Kansas City. Every step of the way is an opportunity for this team to prove that the team at the beginning of the year was an apparition. They have the opportunity to slug it out with Josh Allen this weekend. Beyond that, they have vengeance on the horizon against a Cincinnati and Tennessee.
It’s a different team in many ways. Short memory. Let’s get it done. We have the Master himself.