The Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins played in the fourth-coldest game in NFL history on Saturday night, with a kickoff temperature of minus-4 and wind chill of 27 below zero.
The more motivated team, though, was evident from the start. Kansas City’s offense was efficient, while the defense held down an explosive Miami offense throughout as the Chiefs took a 26-7 Wild Card home victory in the NFL playoffs.
There were plenty of standouts.Quarterback Patrick Mahomes added to his sparkling postseason résumé, throwing for 262 yards with a pair of scrambles in critical situations. Rookie Rashee Rice had eight catches for 130 receiving yards in his playoff debut, while Isiah Pacheco was tough to bring down while adding 89 rushing yards. Defensively, linebacker Nick Bolton made critical stops while leading the Chiefs with 10 tackles. George Karlaftis had 1 1/2 sacks, and Charles Omenihu pushed back the pocket for a QB pressure that led to a Mike Edwards interception.
The Chiefs led 16-7 at halftime, though offensive mistakes kept them from being even further ahead. Travis Kelce had three first-half drops. A Jawaan Taylor block-in-the-back penalty wiped away a Rice touchdown, while a bad snap by center Creed Humphrey killed a third-down play in the red zone that resulted in a field goal.
KC still had plenty of production outside those gaffes. Rice had six catches for 92 yards with a score before the break, while Pacheco averaged 5.4 yards per carry as the Chiefs offensive line won the physicality battle early. Defensively, the Chiefs were excellent outside of one play. Former Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill broke free past cornerback Trent McDuffie in the second quarter, bringing down a 53-yard touchdown reception in his first game in KC as a visiting player.
The Chiefs were especially effective on the most essential downs; Miami was 0-for-4 on third-down conversions and 0-for-1 on fourth downs during the first 30 minutes of play.
Hill finished with five catches for 62 yards with a touchdown in the return to his former home stadium. With the win, KC will play a to-be-determined opponent next week. If Buffalo
beats Pittsburgh on Monday afternoon, KC will travel to face the Bills next week. If the Steelers win that game, KC would host the Houston Texans.