Mahomes, Chiefs eye bigger things
After stunning rally, rout, Super Bowl next on the list
Late in the Chiefs’ demolition of the Texans on Sunday, the team posted a note on the video screen at Arrowhead Stadium telling fans that thanks to Chiefs’ 51-point outburst, all the fireworks used to celebrate scores were gone.
“Chiefs fans, we are sorry to report, but due to your support and the Chiefs continually finding the end zone, we have run out of touchdown fireworks,” the announcement said.
Indeed, the Chiefs engineered a historic offensive performance, led by their quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. After falling behind, 24-0, in the second quarter, Mahomes threw four touchdowns before the end of the first half to put the Chiefs in front. The barrage continued in the second half as the Chiefs scored touchdowns on a record seven consecutive possessions to put the game out of reach.
The Chiefs became the first team to win a playoff game by 20 or more points after being behind by 20 or more points.
The 51-31 victory lifted the No. 2 seed Chiefs into the AFC championship game for the second consecutive season. They will host the No. 6 seed Titans, who beat the Chiefs earlier in the season.
With a victory next Sunday afternoon at home, the Chiefs will return to the Super Bowl for the first time in a half-century.
For now, though, Chiefs fans can savor Mahomes’ feats, which, even in his third season, have at times become remarkably routine.
Kuechly retires at 28:
Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is retiring after eight seasons.
The 28-year-old Kuechly made the surprising announcement Tuesday night in a video posted on the team’s website. He said, “I think now is the right chance to move on.”
Kuechly was selected to seven Pro Bowls, named first-team All-Pro five times and was the defensive rookie of the year in 2012 and defensive player of the year in 2013. However, he suffered three concussions during his career, which may have led to his decision.
Kuechly was in tears when he was carted off the field after a concussion during the 2016 season, a striking moment that highlighted the NFL’s ongoing problem with brain injuries.
Chargers great Gates calls it career:
Antonio Gates, who became one of the most prolific tight ends in the NFL without playing a down of college football, announced his retirement.
Gates, 39, spent his entire 16-year career with the Chargers. His 116 TD catches are the most by a tight end in league history.
Gates, who didn’t play this season, will join the Chargers front office as a legends ambassador. He’s the franchise leader in receptions (955), receiving yards (11,841) and TDs.
Among tight ends, Gates’ receptions and yards are third, and his games rank fourth. He was a three-time All-Pro pick and eight-time Pro Bowler. He will be eligible for consideration for the Hall of Fame beginning with the Class of 2024.
Panthers hire LSU assistant Brady:
The Panthers hired LSU assistant coach Joe Brady as the team’s offensive coordinator, ESPN reported.
Brady, 30, was LSU’s passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach for this season’s championship run. He previously served two seasons as an offensive assistant with the Saints.
The Panthers hired Baylor’s Matt Rhule as head coach last week.