July 27, 2021
Patrick Mahomes: Kansas City Chiefs clinch playoff spot after grinding out victory over Denver Broncos

Patrick Mahomes: Kansas City Chiefs clinch playoff spot after grinding out victory over Denver Broncos

A shock Week 5 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders says otherwise, but on current form, the reigning NFL champion looks Super Bowl bound for the second successive year.
A 22-16 win against the Denver Broncos on Sunday sealed their place in the playoffs for a franchise record-equaling sixth successive year.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes averages nearly 2.5 passing touchdowns every game he plays this year, but threw just one touchdown against the Broncos, to Travis Kelce.

Tight end Kelce racked up 136 receiving yards alongside his touchdown, putting his tally for the season at over 1,000 yards.

According to NFL research, no other tight end in NFL history has five total seasons of 1,000 receiving yards.
The Broncos led for much of the game, but, as Kelce said afterwards, football is “the ultimate team game.” And when this offense isn’t able to blow away its opponent, the rest of the team steps up.

Fifteen of the Chiefs’ 22 points were scored by kicker Harrison Butker alone.

Additionally, on the defense, All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu had a standout game with two interceptions, including one to end the game as the Broncos marched down field in the dying seconds of the final quarter.

Curiously, the Chiefs had a touchdown ruled out in the second quarter after officials incorrectly believed the ball had touched the ground as Tyreek Hill caught it in the endzone. Had the call been challenged by head coach Andy Reid, their margin of victory would have been far more evident.

Saints marching on and record-breaking Rodgers

Elsewhere in the league, the absence of Drew Brees has failed to halt the Saints’ march to the playoffs. After victory against the Atlanta Falcons, the 10-2 Saints are the first team in the NFC to seal a berth in the playoffs.

Saints quarterback Taysom Hill had two passing touchdowns alongside 83 rushing yards against the Saints’ bitter rivals. Hill has been referred to as the “Swiss Army Knife” quarterback owing to the multitude of ways he has been employed by the Saints across not just the offense, but the defense and special teams too.

The Swiss Army Knife quarterback Taysom Hill has secured two wins in two games as starter with Drew Brees out injured.
Hotly pursuing the Saints in the NFC are the 9-3 Green Bay Packers. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers had three passing touchdowns in the Packers’ victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, taking him to 400 career passing touchdowns.

In doing so, Rodgers became the quickest player to do so, reaching the milestone in only 193 games. The previous record holder, Brees, had taken another 12 games to break 400.

Rodgers also became the first quarterback to have five 35-touchdown seasons.

In his characteristic wry but humble fashion, Rodgers played down his achievements after the game.

“Those are fun milestones for sure,” Rodgers said. “I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to hold on to the second one. There’s some really good young quarterbacks I’m guessing are amassing some numbers in that vicinity. But it does speak to the consistency over a long period of time that I’m very proud of.”
Aaron Rodgers, right, became the quickest quarterback to reach 400 career passing touchdowns on Sunday, doing so in just 193 games.

The other surprise of Sunday was the Cleveland Browns bringing up their ninth win of the season, guaranteeing a winning record for the season.

The team have only done so three times since 1990, and have only reached the playoffs twice in that time. At 9-3, the Browns have the third best record in the AFC, and joint-fourth best across the entire NFL, giving them an excellent chance of making the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

If they can win two of their remaining four games, they will have their best season record since 1994.

Jets celebrate tank

The Browns will feel good about their chances of a historic season finish; in one of their four remaining games they will face the 0-12 New York Jets.

The Jets nearly had their first win of the season on Sunday, in a tightly fought game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

A Hail Mary pass to Henry Ruggs III sealed the win against the 0-12 New York Jets for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Down by four, with 13-seconds left on the clock, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr threw a “Hail Mary” pass that was caught by rookie wide receiver Henry Ruggs III to win the game.

The Jets played a “zero blitz” defense, committing eight of 11 defenders to chasing the quarterback rather than defending the endzone.

After the game, Jets safety Marcus Maye criticized coaching staff for the play call.

“That situation, just has to be a better call,” Maye said. “We gotta execute, but you gotta help us out at the same time.”