The Kansas City Chiefs needed a win on Sunday to keep pace with the Buffalo Bills for the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoff picture. Thanks to a strong day from their defense and just enough production from the offense, they accomplished that goal to the tune of a 24-10 victory.
Below-freezing temperatures were the storyline of the day entering Saturday, a trend that hampered offenses across the NFL in Week 16. That rang true for the Chiefs, who were held to a season-low 301 yards of total offense. The last time they had fewer yards was Dec. 5, 2021, when they tallied just 267 yards in a win against the Denver Broncos.
Things went marginally better for the Seahawks’ offense, who racked up 333 yards from scrimmage, although that was eighth-highest total for Seattle this year.
A majority of the game’s scoring came in the first half, with Kansas City taking a 17-3 lead into the break. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for a pair of scores in the early going, connecting once with wide receiver Kadarius Toney and once with running back Jerick McKinnon.
Any momentum the Chiefs built before halftime was squelched in the third quarter, however, when they put together just two drives for a total of just 14 yards and one first down. The Seahawks, meanwhile, got the ball inside the Kansas City 35-yard line twice in that period, but they turned it over on downs both times.
“If it wasn’t for the defense playing well, that could’ve been a real issue,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said.
The out-of-sync offenses would each reach the end zone once in the fourth quarter, but an interception by safety Juan Thornhill and a last-minute stop, punctuated by a sack by defensive tackle Chris Jones, sealed the Chiefs’ win.
Mahomes finished the day 16-of-28 passing for 224 yards and two touchdowns, good for a 106.8 passer rating. That’s the second week in a row and eighth time this season he’s posted a rating over 100.
He also ran for a score in the fourth quarter.
Tight end Travis Kelce was his favorite target, catching six passes for a game-high 113 yards. Nobody else for the Chiefs had more than three receptions, with McKinnon and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster each hitting that mark.
McKinnon’s touchdown was his fifth receiving score in the last four games and his sixth overall in that stretch. Toney’s touchdown was his first since returning from a hamstring injury last week.
Kansas City’s rushing attack was held in check Saturday, posting their lowest yardage total since its Week 9 win over the Tennessee Titans.
The Chiefs had just 77 yards rushing on 22 carries, good for 3.5 yards per attempt. Rookie running back Isiah Pacheco led the ground attack with 14 carries for 58 yards, followed by eight yards on two carries for Mahomes and just seven yards on five attempts by McKinnon.
Seahawks starting quarterback Geno Smith went 25-of-40 for 215 yards in the losing effort, throwing one touchdown pass and the one interception. Seattle running back Kenneth Walker III, who was questionable for the game, led all rushers with 107 yards on 26 carries.
By virtue of winning, the Chiefs are still tied with the Bills for the best record in the AFC at 12-3, but the Bills still hold the top seed due to the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Bills won their game against the Chicago Bears on Saturday 35-13, while the Cincinnati Bengals, who are just a game back of the top spot and also hold a tiebreaker over the Chiefs, also won today. They held on to beat the New England Patriots 22-18.
Buffalo and Cincinnati will play each other next week.
The Chiefs now have a long week ahead of their next game, a New Year’s Day tilt against the Broncos. Kansas City won its first matchup with Denver 34-28 on Dec. 11. Next Sunday’s game is set for a noon kickoff.
Depending on how next week’s games unfold, the Chiefs could set themselves up as the favorites to make noise in the AFC once again.
“Our goal is to win the conference,” defensive end Frank Clark said, adding: “Then when we get to the big dance, we just crush it. That’s the goal here in Kansas City.”
For more reaction to the Kansas City Chiefs’ 24-10 overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks, check out Mic’d Up with Jake and Fulton from noon-3:00 p.m., and 580 Sports Talk with Brendan and Dan from 3-6:00 p.m. Tuesday on 580 WIBW.