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NFL

The Chiefs Are A Machine

12:23 PM EST on January 22, 2023

Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-20 on Saturday, and it never felt that close; the Chiefs looked as efficient as ever. It was not without drama though, as Patrick Mahomes got tangled up between Jaguars defenders Arden Key and Corey Peters on a play near the end of the first quarter that resulted in an injury to his right ankle. Despite some visible pleading and frustration, Andy Reid sent Mahomes to get an X-ray done and get the ankle looked at and brought in backup QB Chad Henne, who marched them 98 yards for a touchdown to extend their lead. The 37-year-old obviously didn't bring much dynamism, but he was able to keep them more than afloat in his time on the field. While Mahomes is obviously the driver of this offensive machine, Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy have put together something that can still function without its QB1 at anything near 100 percent.

After tests came back negative for a broken bone, Mahomes was able to return in the second half, hobbling around on one leg to put the game away. He stayed in the pocket, with some trepidatious footwork and an inability to get much off his back foot. After the Jaguars scored on a Travis Etienne run to make it a three-point game, Mahomes sliced the defense up bit by bit to score what would turn out to be the game-winning touchdown on a pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.

With the win, the Chiefs have now reached their fifth straight conference championship game, tying the Raiders of the 1970s and the Brady-Belichick Patriots. Reid, the best coach of his generation, gets his 20th career postseason win. Mahomes continues his streak of never losing before the conference title game, which is just absolutely insane.

The KC offense may not be the nuclear bomb it was with Tyreek Hill, but it can still kill with a thousand little cuts, and the defense is just good enough that they don't have to score a million times either; two late takeaways, including a heck of an interception by rookie Jaylen Watson, snuffed any late comeback hopes. The Jags comported themselves well and even had some great moments, but they were ultimately too young and too overmatched for a game like this just yet. There's nothing for them to be ashamed of, though: many a good team has fallen in front of the Chiefs' steamroller.

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