Chiefs stick to game plan for AFC ti­tle

Antelope Valley Press - - SPORTS - By DAVE SKRETTA

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs ad­vanced to their first Su­per Bowl in 50 years by do­ing things de­cid­edly their way.

They let Pa­trick Ma­homes and their po­tent of­fense wing the ball all over the field, never wor­ry­ing for a mo­ment that they were be­ing too cava­lier. They stuffed the line of scrim­mage to take away Ten­nessee run­ning back Der­rick Henry, then did just enough in pass de­fense to en­sure the Ti­tans’ Ryan Tan­nehill didn’t beat them through the air.

It sounds like a sim­ple for­mula, but it’s one the Chiefs have fol­lowed all sea­son, even when they trailed the Tex­ans by 24 points in the di­vi­sional round and when they trailed the Ti­tans by 10 in the AFC championsh­ip game.

“I think it’s that never give-up men­tal­ity,” Ma­homes

said. “It’s that we’re go­ing to go out there and give our best ef­fort ev­ery sin­gle play and really had to take ad­van­tage of ev­ery sin­gle play the rest of the game. We don’t care if we’re down 10-0 or if we’re up 100, we’re go­ing to go out there and ex­e­cute and do ev­ery SANTA

thing we can to have suc­cess on ev­ery sin­gle play.”

The Chiefs cer­tainly had their share of suc­cess in their 35-24 vic­tory on Sun­day.

Ma­homes was 23 of 35 for 294 yards and three touch­downs while run­ning for 53 yards and an­other score — a mem­o­rable 27yard run in which he cut at the side­line, chugged up field and bowled over a trio of tack­lers at the goal line.

The Chiefs were 6 of 10 on third down, al­low­ing them to con­trol the ball and keep it out of the hands of Ti­tans run­ning back Der­rick Henry. In fact, they matched Ten­nessee in time of pos­ses­sion, a big win given their propen­sity for quick scores.

On de­fense, the Chiefs took the Ti­tans out of their run-run-run game plan. Henry man­aged just 7 yards af­ter half­time, and he never once car­ried the ball in the fourth quar­ter be­cause of Kansas City’s big lead.

“Some­thing we have been preach­ing though is chas­ing per­fec­tion and im­prove­ment,” Chief safety Daniel Sorensen said “You see that show up and res­onate as the sea­son has gone on, and now we’re go­ing to strive to get bet­ter as we go into th­ese next two weeks. That’s our fo­cus.” WHAT’S WORK­ING The of­fense is hum­ming and the de­fense has been play­ing as well as any in the NFL since Week 10. In other words, just about ev­ery­thing is work­ing, whether it’s the pass­ing game with

Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins or the run­ning game with Damien Wil­liams or the de­fense, led by new­com­ers this sea­son in Tyrann Mathieu and Frank Clark.

WHAT NEEDS HELP Spe­cial teams have hardly been spe­cial in the play­offs. The Chiefs had a punt blocked and fum­bled a punt re­turn in the di­vi­sional round, and they al­lowed Ti­tans punter Brett Kern to throw a pass to Amani Hooker for an easy con­ver­sion on a fake punt Sun­day. It was par­tic­u­larly em­bar­rass­ing given it was 35-17 in the fourth quar­ter and just about every­one in Ar­row­head Sta­dium was look­ing for the fake — ex­cept the 11 guys on the field wear­ing red.

STOCK UP

Clark brashly talked about shut­ting down Henry all week, pro­vid­ing the Ti­tans plenty of bul­letin board ma­te­rial. But he came through with aplomb. Clark helped hold Henry to 69 yards rush­ing while pro­vid­ing plenty of pres­sure on Tan­nehill, even sack­ing him late in the game to put an ex­cla­ma­tion point on the win.

STOCK DOWN Dave Toub, the Chiefs’ spe­cial teams co­or­di­na­tor, has been among the best in the business for years, and as re­cently as last off­sea­son got some in­ter­est for head coach­ing jobs. But his units have strug­gled through­out the post­sea­son, and a mis­take in the third phase of the game in the Su­per Bowl could be the dif­fer­ence against the 49ers.

As­so­ci­ated Press

HARD­WARE — The Chiefs’ Pa­trick Ma­homes cel­e­brates with his team af­ter win­ning the NFL AFC Championsh­ip game against the Ten­nessee Ti­tans on Sun­day, in Kansas City, Mis­souri.

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