KANSAS CITY, Mo. – All season, the prolific Kansas City offense had been putting the Chiefs in position to capture the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
It took their defense — and some good fortune — to finally clinch it.
Patrick Mahomes threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Demarcus Robinson with just under two minutes to go Sunday, then watched his defense force Younghoe Koo's 39-yard field-goal try to tie the game. And when the Pro Bowl kicker faded it right with 9 seconds remaining, the Chiefs had escaped, 17-14.
Not to mention the Chiefs got their club-record 10th straight win and and the AFC's lone first-round playoff bye.
“The defense played their tail off to give us a chance,” Mahomes said later, “and the offense found a way to score when we needed to. That's just the championship swagger to know how to win a game even when you don't play well.”
Mahomes finished with 278 yards passing and two touchdowns along with an interception for the reigning Super Bowl champions, who won their league-record seventh straight one-possession game. Travis Kelce had seven catches for 98 yards and a score, giving him 1,426 yards for the season, breaking George Kittle’s record for an NFL tight end.
“The real record I'm proud of,” Kelce said, “is this is the first time the Chiefs have ever been 14-1.”
The Falcons (4-11) certainly made it tougher than most people expected. They took the lead when Matt Ryan hit Laquon Treadwell for a 5-yard touchdown with 4:33 to go, then answered Mahomes' touchdown pass to Robinson by marching right down field again. But after forcing Ryan into throwing three straight incompletions, they watched Koo head onto the field — and promptly miss for only the time this season.