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Chiefs roll past Colts to advance in NFL playoffs
Patrick Mahomes threw for 278 yards and ran for a touchdown to lead the Kansas City Chiefs over Indianapolis 31-13 Saturday, snapping a 25-year NFL home playoff win drought.
The victory took the top-seeded Chiefs into next week's American Conference championship game at Kansas City against Sunday's winner between the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots.
"We played a great 'team' football game," Mahomes said. "The defense did amazing and the offense did enough to get the win in the end."
The Dallas Cowboys visit the Los Angeles Rams later Saturday in a National Conference semi-final, with the winner advancing to face either top seed New Orleans or defending champion Philadelphia.
Winners of the January 20 conference finals will meet February 3 in Super Bowl 53 at Atlanta.
The Chiefs will host a conference final for the first time in Arrowhead Stadium's 47-year history with hopes of a win to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1970.
"We've got two more to go," Mahomes said. "I'm happy we're playing the next one here in front of our home fans."
Pre-game snow left field conditions tricky but the Chiefs, who had lost six home playoff games in a row since their last win over Pittsburgh in 1994, were on solid footing from the start.
Mahomes directed touchdown drives on Kansas City's first two possessions to seize command while the Colts managed only 12 yards in the opening quarter.
The Chiefs moved 90 yards on five plays in three minutes with Damien Williams scoring on a 10-yard run and Kansas City then marched 70 yards in eight plays with Tyreek Hill rambling 36 yards to the end zone as the hosts grabbed a 14-0 edge.
Mahomes briefly grabbed his right knee after a second-quarter tackle, leaving 75,000 spectators at Arrowhead Stadium holding their breath, but he continued and the Chiefs moved ahead 17-0 on Harrison Butker's 39-yard field goal.
The Colts, who won 10 of their prior 11 games, answered with a blocked punt touchdown recovery, Najee Goode smothering a punt by Kansas City's Dustin Colquitt with Zach Pascal recovering the ball in the end zone for an Indianapolis touchdown with 5:56 remaining in the second quarter.
It was the first blocked punt suffered by Colquitt in five years.
Kansas City responded with a 10-play, 75-yard drive capped by a 4-yard touchdown dive by Mahomes into the front right corner of the end zone, lifting the Chiefs ahead 24-7 at half-time.
Mahomes, who passed for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns this season, threw for 195 yards in the first half, the most in a playoff debut since 2003.
Indianapolis moved the ball to the Chiefs 5-yard line in the dying seconds of the second quarter but Adam Vinatieri's 23-yard field goal attempt clanked off the left upright, becoming the shortest miss of his 20-year career.
Colts linebacker Darius Leonard forced a fumble and recovered at the Chiefs' 20-yard line late in the third quarter, but two plays later, Kansas City's Dee Ford knocked loose a fumble from Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and Justin Houston recovered to end the Indy threat.
"We just wanted to continue what we started this season," Ford said. We wanted to keep it rolling."
Luck connected with T.Y. Hilton on a 29-yard touchdown pass with 5:31 remaining but Vinatieri was wide right on the conversion kick and the Chiefs led 24-13.
The Chiefs answered with a clinching touchdown drive, Darrel Williams scoring on a 6-yard run with 2:23 remaining to seal the Colts' fate.