NFL wrapup: Patriots will face Chiefs in AFC Championship

  • Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) celebrates a touchdown with running back Damien Williams (26) during the first half of an NFL divisional football playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga) Ed Zurga

  • Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) scores a touchdown past Indianapolis Colts safety Clayton Geathers (26) during the first half of an NFL divisional football playoff game in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) Charlie Riedel

  • Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) gestures as he runs past Indianapolis Colts safety Clayton Geathers (26) and linebacker Anthony Walker during the second half of an NFL divisional football playoff game in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga) Ed Zurga

  • Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Murray (21) tackles Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Chester Rogers (80) during the first half of an NFL divisional football playoff game in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) Charlie Riedel

  • Indianapolis Colts tight end Eric Ebron (85) vaults Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller (23) during the first half of an NFL divisional football playoff game in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) Charlie Neibergall

  • Kansas City Chiefs nose tackle Derrick Nnadi (91) celebrates a tackle of Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack during the first half of an NFL divisional football playoff game in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga) Ed Zurga

  • Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid yells to fans in the stands to stop throwing snowballs onto the field, during the first half of the team's NFL divisional football playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga) Ed Zurga

  • Kyle Haraugh, of NFL Films, clears snow from a camera location at Arrowhead Stadium before an NFL divisional football playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Indianapolis Colts, in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga) Ed Zurga

Associated Press
Published: 1/13/2019 10:08:46 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes picked apart the Colts in his postseason debut, the Chiefs defense answered their chorus of critics with a stout performance, and Kansas City rolled to a 31-13 victory over Indianapolis in the divisional round Saturday to end 25 years of playoff frustration.

Mahomes threw for 278 yards while running for a touchdown, and Damien Williams ran through snow and muck for 129 yards and another score, as the Chiefs beat Indianapolis for the first time in five playoff meetings to earn their first AFC title game appearance since January 1994.

There was a lot of excitement here, the fans were awesome, the defense played amazing and the offense, we did enough to get the win in the end,” Mahomes said.

The AFC West champions will play the New England Patriots next weekend for a spot in the Super Bowl in Atlanta.

Andrew Luck was held to 203 yards passing for the Colts, while Marlon Mack was a non-factor on the ground. He had 46 yards rushing before leaving late in the fourth quarter with a hip injury.

With persistent snow turning Arrowhead Stadium into a winter wonderland, the Chiefs waltzed all over a Colts defense that nearly shut out the Texans a week ago. Mahomes and Co. scored on their first three possessions , then again just before halftime, to take a 24-7 lead into the break.

If there was any question whether this would be Kansas City’s day, it was answered when Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri missed a 23-yard field-goal try off the upright just before halftime. It was the first time in 22 postseason attempts that he’d missed from that close.

Not that the Chiefs thought they had it wrapped up.

They’ve had bigger playoff meltdowns against the Colts.

There was the 10-7 loss in which Lin Elliott missed three field goals when the Chiefs were the No. 1 seed, and the loss at Arrowhead Stadium in 2003 in which nobody punted.

Five years ago, they blew a 38-10 second-half lead against Luck and the Colts to spoil Andy Reid’s first season.

Not this time.

Not with this Kansas City quarterback.

After shattering nearly every franchise passing record, Mahomes picked up right where he left off in his regular-season finale. He led the Chiefs on touchdown drives of 90 and 70 yards to open the game, quickly identified a favorite target in Travis Kelce, and shook off a banged-up knee to scramble for a touchdown late in the first half to give his team a big cushion.

Of course, the Chiefs didn’t need it the way their defense was playing.

The Colts went three-and-out on their first four possessions, were outgained 185-12 in the first quarter, and Luck didn’t complete a pass until he found T.Y Hilton early in the second.

Their lone bright spot came when Zach Paschal recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown .

Even when the Colts caught a break and Sammy Watkins fumbled the ball to them late in the third quarter, they were quick to give it back. Dee Ford stripped Luck and fellow linebacker Justin Houston plopped on the ball, ruining another red-zone opportunity.

The Colts finally scored an offensive touchdown with 5:31 left in the game. But in the perfect summation of their lousy afternoon, their erstwhile star kicker missed the extra point.

By that point, the party in the stands already had begun.

The Chiefs had lost six straight home playoff games, including heartbreakers to Pittsburgh and Tennessee the past two years. But a proud franchise that won its only Super Bowl title with Len Dawson in 1970, and last played for a spot behind Joe Montana, is once more one step away.

LOS ANGELES 30, DALLAS 22 — C.J. Anderson rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns, and Todd Gurley rushed for 115 more and another TD in the Los Angeles Rams' first playoff victory in 14 years Saturday night.

Gurley and Anderson punished the Cowboys' normally sturdy run defense and sent the second-seeded Rams (14-3) to the NFC championship game for the first time in 17 years.

Ezekiel Elliott rushed for a TD and Amari Cooper caught an early TD pass for the Cowboys (11-7), who still haven't won a playoff game on the road in 26 years. After winning the NFC East and beating Seattle last week, Dallas lost in the divisional playoff round for the sixth consecutive time.

NEW ORLEANS 20, PHILADELPHIA 14 — The Saints got two touchdown passes from Drew Brees, two interceptions by Marcus Lattimore, and rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat the Eagles on Sunday to advance to the NFC championship game.

Using a dominant ball-control offense after a horrendous start, Brees took the Saints (14-3) on scoring drives of 92, 79 and 67 yards. And a few gambles paid off to assure New Orleans will host the Rams (13-4) next Sunday for a spot in the Super Bowl.

Los Angeles, which fell 45-35 at the Superdome in November, will try again next week, with the winner taking on either Kansas City or New England in the Super Bowl in Atlanta. The Saints' win finished off a sweep of the divisional round by teams coming off byes.

Wil Lutz added two field goals for the Saints, who last got this far in 2009, when they won the Super Bowl.

Philadelphia (10-8) will not repeat as NFL champion; no team has done so since the 2004 Patriots.




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