a 24-7 lead into the break.
If there was any question whether this would be Kansas City’s day, it was answered when Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri missed a 23-yard field-goal try off the upright just before halftime. It was the first time in 22 postseason attempts that he’d missed from that close.
Not that the Chiefs thought they had it wrapped up. They’ve had bigger playoff meltdowns against the Colts.
There was the 10-7 loss in which Lin Elliott missed three field goals when the Chiefs were the No. 1 seed, and the loss at Arrowhead Stadium in 2003 in which nobody punted.
Five years ago, they blew a 38-10 second-half lead against Luck and the Colts to spoil Andy Reid’s first season.
Not this time.
Not with this Kansas City quarterback.
After shattering nearly every franchise passing record, Mahomes picked up right where he left off in his regular-season finale. He led the Chiefs on touchdown drives of 90 and 70 yards to open the game, quickly identified a favorite target in Travis Kelce, and shook off a banged-up knee to scramble for a touchdown late in the first half to give his team a big cushion.
Of course, the Chiefs didn’t need it the way their defense was playing.
The Colts went three-and-out on their first four possessions, were outgained 185-12 in the first quarter, and Luck didn’t complete a pass until he found T.Y. Hilton early in the second.
Their lone bright spot came when former Old Dominion receiver Zach Pascal recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown.
Even when the Colts caught a break and Sammy Watkins fumbled the ball to them late in the third quarter, they were quick to give it back. Dee Ford stripped Luck and fellow linebacker Justin Houston plopped on the ball, ruining another red-zone opportunity.
The Colts finally scored an offensive touchdown with 5:31 left in the game. But in the perfect summation of their lousy afternoon, their erstwhile star kicker missed the extra point.
By that point, the party in the stands already had begun.
The Chiefs had lost six straight home playoff games, including heartbreakers to Pittsburgh and Tennessee the past two years. But a proud franchise that won its only Super Bowl title with Len Dawson in January 1970, and last played for a spot behind Joe Montana, is one more one step away.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid was summoned to the corner of the stadium during the two-minute warning in the first half to implore fans to stop throwing snowballs on the field. Earlier in the half, one almost hit Colts punter Rigoberto Sanchez while he was kicking.
Colts: Center Ryan Kelly (knee) left late in the fourth quarter. Free safety Malik Hooker (foot) and defensive end Tyquan Lewis (knee) were inactive, while strong safety Mike Mitchell (calf ) was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. That left the Colts defense without some key pieces.
Chiefs: Safety Eric Berry (heel) and running back Spencer Ware (hamstring) were inactive, though Berry — the team’s emotional leader — broke down the pregame huddle in the north end zone.
Frank Zombo of the Kansas City Chiefs holds his hand up in the air after Adam Vinatieri of the Indianapolis Colts misses a field goal at the end of the first half during the AFC divisional playoff game.