Patrick Mahomes, Defense Fuel Kansas City Chiefs’ Wild-Card Win Over Dolphins
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There have been times this season when the Kansas City Chiefs' offense didn't resemble the high-octane units of their Super Bowl champions, but on a frigid Saturday night, against a banged-up Miami Dolphins defense, Patrick Mahomes guided the Chiefs to a 26-7 wild-card victory to advance to the divisional round.
The Dolphins' offense was on a record-setting pace early in the season, but it faltered down the stretch, scoring a combined 33 points in losing the last two games of the regular season. Miami didn't convert a third down Saturday until 10:00 remained in the fourth quarter.
The Dolphins tried to blitz Mahomes like no other Chiefs opponent. They came after him on 60% of his drop backs in the first half, the highest percentage of his career. He went 8-of-15 when blitzed for 100 yards in the half. The Dolphins backed off the pressure some in the second half. Mahomes finished 23-of-41 for 262 yards and a touchdown.
Rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice had his biggest game yet with 130 yards and a touchdown on eight catches. Most often, if Mahomes was going to a wide receiver, it was Rice. He was the target on 12 of Mahomes' first 20 passes thrown to a wide receiver. Rice had 92 receiving yards in the first half.
The Dolphins' offense mustered 264 yards. Without five defensive starters, Miami's defense forced field goals on four consecutive red zone trips, but its offense couldn't capitalize.
Even with the return of running back Raheem Mostert and wide receiver Jaylen Waddle from two-game absences, the Dolphins' offense looked like a shell of the version that scored 70 points on the Denver Broncos in Week 3.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa completed 20 of 39 passes for 199 yards, a touchdown and an interception, capping off a three-game stretch of unremarkable play ahead of a pivotal offseason. The Dolphins picked up his fifth-year option, but his contract negotiations for an extension over the next few months will be monitored with great interest.
Next game: Either the Bills in Buffalo or the Houston Texans at Arrowhead.
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Gallery Credit: Seth Berkman