Chiefs

Halftime at Arrowhead: Chiefs channel early-season swagger, lead Colts in playoffs

Arrowhead Stadium cleared of snow for Chiefs vs Colts playoff game

The Kansas City Chiefs grounds crew clears the field of overnight snow before the start of Saturday's January 12, 2019 playoff football game against the Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead Stadium.
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The Kansas City Chiefs grounds crew clears the field of overnight snow before the start of Saturday's January 12, 2019 playoff football game against the Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead Stadium.

At halftime, the Chiefs lead the Colts 24-7. Here’s how we got here.

Recipe for success

Remember that streak where the Chiefs couldn’t lose a coin toss?

Maybe that luck is back. The Chiefs won Saturday’s coin toss and elected to defer — just like they’ve done every time they’ve won the toss. As in games past, the Chiefs defense came out and forced a three-and-out, and the offense followed it up with a touchdown on their first drive. This time, the score was courtesy of a 10-yard run by Damien Williams.

Though the postseason can put more pressure on a player, Patrick Mahomes came out calm and collected. He threw for 195 yards, competing 18 of 27 pass attempts in the first half. Though he doesn’t have a postseason touchdown pass yet, Mahomes did score a running TD with 1:40 to go in the half.

Punt disaster

Early on, it seemed like Dustin Colquitt might be pretty bored during Saturday’s game. The Chiefs scored on their first three possessions, but after getting backed up deep in their own territory by penalties on the fourth series, Colquitt came out to attempt his first punt of the afternoon.

As Darrel Williams and Charcandrick West both moved to the right to block the same man, Najee Goode ran up the middle, practically untouched. He blocked Colquitt’s punt, knocking it back toward the end zone. Zach Pascal recovered the loose ball, jumping on it in the end zone to score the Colts’ first points of the game.

Hill hits the jets

Tyreek Hill scored his first postseason touchdown of his career late in the first quarter, weaving through the field on a 36-yard left end to score the Chiefs’ TD of the day.

Hill capped off an eight-play, 70-yard drive with his score, weaving through defenders before breaking through contact to cross the goal line. Though Hill scored early, his connection with Mahomes didn’t look quite as crisp as it has at other times in the season.

Hill had two drops early on, one in the first and another on the first play of the second quarter.

Three-and-out

The Chiefs defense didn’t allow the Colts to pick up a first down on their first four drives, forcing four consecutive three-and-outs.

It was the first time since a regular season game against Tennessee in 2013 that the Chiefs defense forced four consecutive three-and-outs.

The Chiefs’ defense on the second drive was particularly impressive when the Chiefs got a hand on the ball in three consecutive plays as Chris Jones and Justin Houston tipped two of Andrew Luck’s passes. Then, Charvarius Ward defended Luck’s final attempt of the drive and kept Pascal from making the catch.

KC kept the Colts from picking up any first down in the first quarter, and only had 12 yards on nine plays. Luck didn’t have any passing yards.

With 1:14 until half, the Colts picked up two first downs on passes of 12 and 21 yards by Luck. From there, the Colts picked up two more first downs to put the team at 1st and 10 from the 14 with 15 seconds to go. Two plays later, the Colts missed a 23 yard field goal. The Colts quarterback finished the half completing 7 of 12 passes for 76 yards. The Colts had 91 yards of total offense in the first half. Meanwhile, the Chiefs racked up 18 first downs and 274 yards of offense.

Let it snow

The weather wasn’t as much of a factor as it seemed it would be in the pregame.

While the snow still fell steadily throughout the first half, it didn’t accumulate much on the field thanks to the heated pipes under the field. The surface of the field was slick and caused a couple falls, but the weather didn’t seem to alter the Chiefs’ game plan much — if at all.

Extra points

Sammy Watkins got in his first game action since the loss to the Rams. On his first target, Watkins recorded a 34-yard catch-and-run to set up for Hill’s touchdown. Later in the second quarter, Watkins made a one-handed snag for a five-yard gain. ... With a 30-yard reception in the second quarter, Travis Kelce has 28 postseason receptions and 380 postseason receiving yards. That gives him the most receptions by any Chiefs player in franchise history and the second most postseason receiving yards.

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Brooke Pryor covers the Kansas City Chiefs for the Kansas City Star, where she works to give readers a deeper understanding of the franchise and the NFL through daily stories, game coverage, and player profiles. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and grew up in Winston-Salem, N.C.

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