Oh, baby. Ohhh, baby. Sunday night was something special.
The Kansas City Chiefs prevailed over the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round in dramatic fashion, earning a remarkable 27-24 victory that has the Chiefs just one win away from another trip to the Super Bowl. It was another all-time classic playoff meeting between the Chiefs and the Bills, and boy does it feel good to come out on top. I mean really, really good.
Playoff wins are always something special, but Sunday night’s win just tastes that little bit sweeter. Of course, there are the obvious reasons why.
First, there's the very fashion of the result: the Bills marching down the field on what felt like would be the game-winning drive only to stall before missing a field goal that could have sent the game into overtime.
Secondly, the immediate benefits: the Chiefs through to their sixth-consecutive AFC championship game and within striking distance of another Lombardi trophy, an extraordinary streak that is even more remarkable considering the seemingly insurmountable struggles on offense.
But for me, it is this third reason that makes Sunday’s win taste all the sweeter: the silencing of Kansas City’s critics.
Heading into this postseason, it felt like the Chiefs—a team that has won two of the last four Super Bowls and the one with a Hall of Fame head coach, a legendary tight end, a championship-caliber defense, and the best quarterback on the planet—had all but been written off.
Some of the criticism was justified and totally valid. Kansas City’s woes on offense—the penalties, the turnovers, and the parade of dropped passes—were, and still are, legitimate concerns that could very well be the reason K.C.’s season ends if defeat. But other knocks against the Chiefs were purely fabricated, nothing more faux narratives pushed despite the clear evidence that countered them.
There was the idea that Patrick Mahomes—a two-time league and Super Bowl MVP who has a 38-11 win-loss record on the road in his career—wouldn’t be able to win a playoff game away from home. And there was the notion that the Chiefs and not Buffalo—a team that hasn’t got a single piece of meaningful playoff success to hang its hat on and that has consistently failed at this point in the postseason—had more to prove on Sunday.
Those ideas were torn to shreds on Sunday night. Mahomes delivered another vintage playoff performance, and it was the Chiefs who rose to the challenge late as Buffalo capitulated yet again when the pressure was on and the lights were brightest.
This game meant everything to Buffalo, and the Chiefs won it anyway. This Chiefs team was too flawed, too undisciplined to win a road playoff game against a conference rival with everything to prove, but they did it anyway.
It’s crazy to think that anyone could underrate a team with a proven history of repeated success like the Chiefs have, or that anyone could question if Mahomes is anything other than the most remarkable quarterback on the planet.
This win feels so good because it means that Mahomes and the Chiefs have no more phony questions left to answer, no more false narratives to disprove to show their greatness or arbitrary achievements they need to tick off.
Hopefully now they get the credit they deserve.