For Pete's Sake

Chiefs quarterbacks have had mixed success during home playoff losing streak

How Chiefs quarterbacks have performed during playoff losing streak at Arrowhead

The Kansas City Chiefs have not won a playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium since Jan. 8, 1994. Five different quarterbacks have lost six home playoff games during that stretch.
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The Kansas City Chiefs have not won a playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium since Jan. 8, 1994. Five different quarterbacks have lost six home playoff games during that stretch.

Twenty-five years ago Tuesday, the Chiefs last won a home playoff game.

Since that victory, the Chiefs are 2-11 in postseason contests, including an ugly 0-6 record at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs have lost in a variety of ways: defensive struggles, offensive shootouts and everything in between.

But Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes told reporters Tuesday: “That’s in the past. That’s something where all of us feel like we are here now and focused on the present day. We feel like we have a different team, and that we can go out there and try to win a big football game.”

That’s music to the ears of Chiefs fans who see Mahomes, who set the Chiefs’ single-season record for passing yards (5,097) and touchdowns (50), as a potential difference-maker in the playoffs.

Ahead of Saturday’s AFC divisional playoff game against the Colts, here is a look at how Chiefs quarterbacks have fared in the postseason games at Arrowhead Stadium during the six-game skid.

Jan. 7, 1996: Colts 10, Chiefs 7

This remains known as the “Lin Elliott Game” because of the three missed field goals by the Chiefs kicker. Perhaps it should be known as the “Steve Bono/Lin Elliott Game,” because Bono had a dreadful time.

Bono completed just 11-of-25 passes for 122 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions on a night in which the wind chill was 15 below.

Things started off fine as Bono completed 5 of 8 throws for 59 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown pass to Lake Dawson, in the opening period.

After throwing three interceptions in the second half, Bono was pulled on the Chiefs’ final possession in favor of Rich Gannon, who drove the Chiefs from their 18-yard line to the Colts’ 25. However, Elliott missed a potential game-tying field goal.

Jan. 4, 1998: Broncos 14, Chiefs 10

Gannon again hovers over a game. Many fans wanted Gannon to start the playoffs after his strong play in six starts when Elvis Grbac was out because of an injury.

Instead, Grbac got the call and ... did well. He completed 24-of-37 passes for 260 yards a touchdown and no interceptions. But Grbac is remembered for the final four throws of the day. The Chiefs had a first down on the Denver 28 when Grbac threw a 1-yard pass to Kimble Anders, a 3-yard completion to Tony Gonzalez and a 4-yard pass to Ted Popson.

Facing a fourth down, Grbac’s pass intended for Dawson on fourth down in the waning seconds fell incomplete and the Chiefs lost to their AFC West rival who would go on to win the Super Bowl.

The Chiefs ran the ball 24 times for just 77 yards and Grbac had 22 of those yards in four carries.

Jan. 11, 2004: Colts 38, Chiefs 31

It’s difficult to assign blame to a quarterback in what is commonly known as the “No Punt Game,” right?

Quarterback Trent Green had a nice afternoon, completing 18 of 30 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.

The Chiefs’ Morten Andersen missed a 31-yard field goal attempt late in the first half and running back Priest Holmes lost a fumble on the first possession of the second half, and those mistakes doomed Kansas City.

The Colts had just two drives that didn’t result in points: at the end of the first half they ran out the clock. Late in regulation, the Colts lost the ball on downs and the Chiefs had the chance to run just one play before the final gun.

Jan. 9, 2011: Ravens 30, Chiefs 7

Facing a fearsome Baltimore defense, Matt Cassel never had much of a chance. He completed just 9 of 18 passes for 70 yards with three interceptions.

Cassel also was sacked three times and had a quarterback rating of 20.4.

The Chiefs led 7-3 after the first quarter thanks to a Jamaal Charles 41-yard touchdown run, but Kansas City only moved into Baltimore territory once in the second half.

In their final seven drives of the game, the Chiefs mustered a dreadful 14 total yards and were blown out at Arrowhead Stadium.

Jan. 15, 2017: Steelers 18, Chiefs 16

Quarterback Alex Smith directed the Chiefs offense to the game’s only two touchdowns, but the Steelers prevailed thanks to a ball-control offense and a key penalty.

Smith completed 20 of 34 passes for 172 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He had a pedestrian quarterback rating of 69.7.

The Chiefs trailed 18-10 with 9:49 to play in the game when they started a drive at their own 25-yard line. Smith completed seven of 10 passes for 62 yards on a drive the culminated with Spencer Ware’s 1-yard touchdown run with 2:43 remaining.

Smith completed a pair of fourth-down passes on the drive and threw for a game-tying two-point conversion. However, a holding call took the two points off the board and the ensuing pass fell incomplete.

The Chiefs never touched the ball again.

Jan. 6, 2018: Titans 22, Chiefs 21

The Chiefs took a 21-3 leading into the half but didn’t score again. They had the ball four times in the second half and gained just 56 yards after piling up 269 yards in the first half.

Smith completed 24 of 33 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns for an impressive quarterback rating of 116.2.

But in the second half, Smith was 5 of 10 for 33 yards as things fell apart.

After the Titans took the one-point lead, the Chiefs moved from their own 27-yard line to the Titans 44. Kareem Hunt ran for a 1-yard gain, Smith threw an incompletion, was sacked and then failed to connect with Albert Wilson on a long pass down the middle.

The Titans took over with 2:15 to play and the Chiefs never touched the ball again.