Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs find themselves in a position that's become familiar in the Andy Reid era -- playoff bound. Reid's Chiefs have now secured their eighth consecutive playoff season and their seventh consecutive AFC West title, all in the last ten seasons since Coach Reid was placed at the helm. What was once believed to be a dreaded Kansas City playoff curse has now become a joyful, optimistic, familiar postseason feeling. And once Mahomes joined the roster, that feeling reached new heights.
Since Texas Tech's star quarterback made Kansas City his home five years ago -- the Chiefs have repeatedly held tight to the AFC West title, played in four AFC Championship games, made a back-to-back Super Bowl appearance in four seasons, and finally won a Super Bowl for their devoted fans after a 50 year drought. The upcoming playoff battle for the Super Bowl marks the fifth year of Mahomes' magic in Kansas City and this 14-3 Chiefs team feels primed for another banger postseason.
The franchise has only achieved an impressive 14-win regular season record two times in its storied history -- including this year. It's already been a regular season overflowing with record-breaking, career-best performances and MVP caliber leadership from Mahomes. Let's take a look at the excellence coursing through the red and gold roster.
Mahomes Magic Equals Breaking Records
Patrick Mahomes is pretty good at football, we all know it, because it's undeniable. Denying how good Mahomes is at football would be like saying Michael Jordan wasn't that exciting to watch on the hardwood. The Chiefs quarterback extends plays in unfathomable circumstances and has an unreal ability to pass the ball in ways we'd only seen in video games. He's a special kind of quarterback and this year he's having a record breaking season. Most recently, Week 18's matchup against their divisional rivals, the Oakland Raiders, earned Mahomes another notch on his already impressive career belt.
The Kansas City gunslinger now holds the record for the most combined offensive yards in a single season in NFL history. Mahomes secured the throne by surpassing the prior record holder, Drew Brees, for a dynamite combined passing, rushing, receiving yardage of 5,614. Brees now trails the Chiefs front man by 52 yards. The top five single season offensive yard record-making arms belong to Peyton Manning's 2013 season at the third spot, Tom Brady's 2021 season at the fourth and Mahomes' own 2018 season rounding out the top five.
That?s. Our. Quarterback.
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) January 8, 2023
The fan favorite quarterback also leads the league in passing yards this season with 5,250. The second place passer, Justin Herbert finds himself lagging 511 yards behind Mahomes. Based on the Los Angeles Charger signal caller's average passing yards per game this season, Herbert would have needed to suit up for at least two more additional games to catch Mahomes. The Kansas City leader has, to put it simply, been absolutely dominating this season.
The bye week will be a welcomed rest for the young quarterback as he gears up for his fifth playoff appearance in his first five years playing for the shield. Mahomes has been leading the Chiefs into the playoffs since his debut starting season in Kansas City and has an intimidating 8-3 record in the playoffs. The league's current leading passer is helping build a legacy of winning for a franchise whose fans spent the better part of five decades cursing and exasperatedly watching the losses build and the shortcomings stack.
This year, it's not just Mahomes breaking records and firing up the fan base -- oh no. In a season that began with relentless questions about the effectiveness of Kansas City's offense sans Tyreek Hill and the reliability and power of their defensive line, countless players have delivered applause worthy, record breaking regular season performances.
Playmakers, Playmakers, Everywhere You Look
I think we can finally, unequivocally -- let's never bring it up again -- agree that the Kansas City Chiefs can run a successful, hard-to-cover, jaw dropping offense without Tyreek Hill. In fact, this season, the Chiefs have more weapons than ever. Everywhere you look there are playmakers, on both ends of the field too; throwing points on the board and dragging opposing quarterbacks to the ground. I think it's fair to say it's been a downright blast watching Kansas City this season.
Offensively there is the obvious draw, Travis Kelce, who is having his own hot ticket season. This year Kelce joined the ranks for most receptions for a tight end in a single season, with 110 receptions he tied with Jason Witten's 2012 season at the No.2 spot. Kelce also took over another top five spot on the most receiving yards in a season for a tight end list with 1,338 yards this regular season. Three out of the five spots held on that record belong to the Super Bowl winning tight end.
Kelce isn't the only Chiefs offensive weapon breaking records this season. Running back Jerick McKinnon is having a historic season. The relentless running back put a bow on his regular season story with his ninth receiving touchdown. McKinnon became the first running back in over twenty years, since Marshall Faulk in 2001, to tally nine receiving touchdowns in a single season. The Kansas City touchdown maker also touts six-straight games with a touchdown catch this season -- the longest streak for any running back in NFL history.
The historical hits just keep coming and Kansas City's defense is tackling both the NFL and franchise records. Week 18's battle against the Raiders placed a bold exclamation point at the end of a surprisingly stellar regular season for Coach Spagnola's defense.
Nick Bolton laid down a nasty 16 combined tackles against Oakland Week 18, granting him the title of most tackles in a single season in Chiefs franchise history. The explosive linebacker recorded 180 tackles this season and is guaranteed to be a nuisance to the Chiefs future playoff opponents.
Teams forced to face Kansas City in the playoffs are bound to be worried about sack nation himself, Chris Jones. Jones, I'm sure you've guessed the commonality by now, is also having a historic season. The sack monster delivered a single season 15.5 sacks, tying his own career high from 2018, and demolished the Raiders quarterback Week 18 with six hits and 2.5 sacks -- a single game achievement for the record books. Jones has managed to help lead a defensive line and its newest editions to a 55 sack season, the second-most in franchise history and the second most sacks of any defensive line this season. The most shocking aspect of the punishing 55 sack season is that last season Kansas City's D-line landed themselves in the 29th spot in the league, with only 31 sacks. It's clear that the new additions on the defensive side, like rookies George Karlaftis and Trent McDuffie, have helped invigorate the Chiefs defense.
Patrick Mahomes often fires up his teammates before a game by shouting "Be a playmaker. Playmaker on three. One. Two. Three..." and being joined by a deep, guttural and sincere unified reply from his team "Playmaker!" This season the Chiefs seem to be in lock step with one another. Every player is giving their best and delivering. If Kansas City can keep their record-breaking playmaking rolling into the postseason, it will be hard to stop them from making their third Super Bowl appearance in four years.
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