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Chiefs at Dolphins score: Kansas City clinches AFC West despite Patrick Mahomes' three interceptions
Kansas City has also temporarily claimed the AFC's No. 1 seed
Stop me if you've heard this one before: the Chiefs found themselves trailing by 10 points before rallying to win a game in Hard Rock Stadium. That was the case 10 months ago in Super Bowl LIV, and it was again the case on Sunday, as the defending champions spotted the Dolphins a 10-0 lead before rallying for a 33-27 win.
Despite Patrick Mahomes' three interceptions (he had two on the season entering Sunday's game), the Chiefs scored 30 unanswered points before two late touchdowns by Tua Tagovailoa cut the Chiefs' lead to just six points with 4:25 left. The two teams then traded field goals before the Chiefs recovered the Dolphins' onside kick with 16 seconds left.
The Chiefs, who won their fifth consecutive AFC West division title, received 393 passing yards from Mahomes, whose six-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce gave the Chiefs a 14-10 halftime lead. His 44-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman's 67-yard punt return for a score 62 seconds later, and Chris Jones' safety of Tagovailoa gave the Chiefs a 30-10 lead entering the fourth quarter. But after Xavien Howard started the fourth quarter with an end zone interception of Mahomes, the Dolphins scored 16 of the game's final 19 points, as Tagovailoa scored three touchdowns while throwing for a career-high 316 yards.
Here's a closer look at how the Chiefs were able to win their second game in Miami in 2020.
Why the Chiefs won
While it wasn't his best game, Patrick Mahomes still made several incredible plays to get the ball to his playmakers. Speaking of playmakers, the Chiefs again received big contributions from Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Hill, whose 32-yard run in the second quarter got the Chiefs on the board, came down with a key fourth down catch that set up Harrison Butker's late field goal. Kelce, who entered the weekend No. 2 in the NFL in receiving yards, caught eight passes for 136 yards.
Kansas City received another stellar performance from safety Tyrann Mathieu, whose second quarter interception of Tagovailoa (his first career interception) set up the Chiefs' go-ahead score. Mathieu, after recording two interceptions during the season's first 10 games, now has four interceptions over the past three games.
Whey the Dolphins lost
Miami failed to take full advantage of their two early interceptions of Mahomes, as the Dolphins scored just three points off of those turnovers. Jason Sanders missed a 45-yard kick shortly after Byron Jones recorded the Chiefs' first interception of Mahomes. And without running backs Myles Gaskin and Matt Breida, and with three rookies on their offensive line, the Dolphins struggled to run the ball (80 yards and 33 carries) while relying too much on Tagovailoa, who fell to 4-2 as Miami's starting quarterback.
The Dolphins' defense, which had little issue applying pressure on Mahomes early, were not able to provide that pressure on a consistent basis during the second half. The Dolphins' defense did receive solid efforts Howard and Jerome Baker. Howard, who has now recorded an interception in five straight games, leads the NFL with nine interceptions. Baker, who finished the game with 2.5 sacks, recorded a 30-sack sack of Mahomes in the first quarterback that set up the game's first score: Tagovailoa's seven-yard touchdown pass to Mike Gesicki. Gesicki, whose 29-yard touchdown pulled the Dolphins to within 13 points at the start of the fourth quarter, left the game with an apparent shoulder injury during the fourth quarter.
The Chiefs were ahead 30-10 and were threatening to add to their lead before Howard came down with a one-handed interception of Mahomes, who was trying to get Hill his third touchdown of the game. The Dolphins then scored the game's next two touchdowns on Gesicki's second touchdown catch and a one-yard touchdown run by Tagovailoa.
Play of the game
In a game that featured a slew of big plays, it was two from tight ends that may have raised the most eyebrows. The first play comes courtesy of Gesicki, who managed to catch his second touchdown of the game between two defenders. Gesicki, who caught just 10 passes from Weeks 8-11, has caught 16 passes and four touchdowns over the past three games.
Kelce, whose recent five-game stretch is the most prolific run by a tight end over that span since 1970, made this spectacular 32-yard catch on a third-and-one play near the end of the third quarter. The Chiefs did not parlay Kelce's catch into points, however, as the drive ended with Howard's interception.
"Hats off to them. They did a lot of great things as far as contesting plays and flying around the football ... We'll have to execute better if we want to continue to win football games, but proud of how our defense responded and were able to keep us in the game." -- Mahomes to CBS Sports' Tracy Wolfson on a Dolphins defense that forced four turnovers in a losing effort
Kansas City will travel to New Orleans to face the Saints in what could possibly be a Super Bowl preview. New Orleans entered the weekend as the NFC's No. 1 seed if the postseason started today. The Dolphins, who despite Sunday's loss remain on the inside of the AFC playoff picture, will stay at home against the 6-6 Patriots, who defeated the Dolphins 21-11 back in Week 1.
The Chiefs win, but a very impressive effort in defeat by the Dolphins. Miami, in the end, did not take full advantage of their four forced turnovers. They also need to figure out a way to be more consistent moving forward, as the Dolphins have become a team that struggles to play well for a full 60 minutes. The Chiefs, despite not playing their best game, are 12-1 and are temporarily ahead of Pittsburgh as the AFC's No. 1 seed.
Mahomes able to find Hill on fourth down. Dolphins are out of timeouts but have the two-minute warning coming up. The Chiefs are in field goal range, and can pretty much ice it with a field goal.
Not sure what the Dolphins are trying to do here. Their secondary was playing 10 yards off the line of scrimmage on the last two plays, which allowed Mahomes to complete passes to Edwards-Helaire and Hardman.
Tua scores, as the Dolphins have made this a one-score game. Howard's interception appears to have shifted the complexion of the game. He's been pressured most of the game, but Tua is six yards away from his first ever 300-yard game. The Dolphins' defense will have to get one more stop if Miami can have a chance to complete the comeback. The Chiefs went conversation on their last drive. I think they'll try to run it again on this drive.
Patrick Laird has come up big on this Dolphins possession. He's found some running room inside and also came up with a nice second down catch that set up Tua's first down run on the next play. Dolphins are now less than 10 yards from making this a one-possession game.
Tyrann Mathieu has had a great game. Made an interception earlier and just came up with a BPU that prevents what would have been a big completion from the Dolphins. Hard to believe he had trouble finding a team two offseasons ago.
That's not good. Mike Gesicki looks like he hurt his shoulder after being tackled on the sideline.
What a game for Jerome Baker, who now has 2.5 sacks after taking down Mahomes on third down. Dolphins have a chance to make this a one-possession game here. Dolphins don't have a rushing attack, but it didn't really matter on that last drive. I'd look for the Dolphins to keep their up-tempo offense going, but I think the Chiefs will start rushing him again after taking it easy on that last possession.
Dolphins turn Howard's interception into a touchdown, as Tua hits Gesicki on a 40-yard reception, his second score of the game. Dolphins are now behind by just 13 points with 12 minutes left. But their defense is going to have to come up with another stop here. I would imagine the Chiefs will eschew the running game and let Mahomes atone for his third interception. It would be wise to run the ball more with Bell and CEH, but something tells me Mahomes wants to get back to work here.
Xavien Howard comes down with his ninth pick of the season and a pick in his last five games. Incredible. Dolphins defense has now forced four turnovers today but have scored just three points off of those turnovers.
Here's a look at that recent completion from Mahomes to Kelce.
Chiefs were down 7-0 after one, up 14-10 after two, and now up 30-10 after three. Mahomes is up to 333 passing yards, with Kelce up to 136 yards on eight catches. According to Jim Nantz, Kelce's current five-game statistical run is the best run for an NFL TE since 1970. The Dolphins did a great job getting pressure on Mahomes in the first quarter but haven't been able to sustain that pressure.
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