Ma­homes, Chiefs eye big­ger things

Af­ter stun­ning rally, rout, Su­per Bowl next on the list

Orlando Sentinel - - FOOTBALL -

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.

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