Chiefs continue to find ways to win despite 7 close calls in a row

Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is tackled by Atlanta Falcons Foyesade Oluokun during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Falcons’ kicker Younghoe Koo stepped up to make a field goal at a distance he hadn’t missed all season on down 3, it was, “Here we go again.” That was until fans saw the kick tail off in the Arrowhead wind.

“I saw it kind of angle off and I was like oh my God, I know he’s not going to miss this, like his first missed kick to tie the game, but it gives us the win,” Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay Jr. said.

There’s a level of anxiety and nervousness when watching the Chiefs over the past seven games. The 14-1 team hasn’t beaten a team by more than six points since the Jets on Nov. 1.

  • Nov. 8: Chiefs – 33, Panthers – 31
  • Nov. 22: Chiefs – 35, Raiders – 31
  • Nov. 29: Chiefs – 27, Buccaneers – 24
  • Dec. 6: Chiefs – 22, Broncos – 16
  • Dec. 13: Chiefs – 33, Dolphins – 27
  • Dec. 20: Chiefs – 32, Saints – 29
  • Dec. 27: Chiefs – 17, Falcons – 14

“It was crazy how the sequence just happened and then he goes down and miss the kick after I score,” Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson said. “It was a great day for us.”

Robinson is right. The Chiefs win at Arrowhead ensured home field advantage for the remainder of the playoffs. That’s the good news.

The, it’s not bad but I could see why you’d be concerned, news is it did not come easy against the previously 4-10 Falcons squad. The Chiefs defense was up to task, especially the rookies, L’Jarius Sneed and Willie Gay Jr.

“It was a lot of fun being able to play as much as I did,” Gay Jr. said. “You know, we were building on this week, and it wasn’t perfect for me, but we came out with the win.”

They also needed some big breaks. Tyreek Hill chased down an interception on what could have been a pick six, and AJ Terrell dropped what could have been a game sealing interception.

“I got to focus on getting myself better to help out the team, but at the end of the day, the defense played their tail off to give us a chance, and the offense found a way to score a TD when we needed to,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes said.

Tight end Travis Kelce acknowledged fans’ discomfort with the score, but he said it’s not as simple as a good record versus a bad record.

“They think that we should just go out there and dominate every single game and every single play, and that’s not reality,” Kelce said. “You have to respect the guy across from you, and sometimes you just have to find a way to win a football game.”

Kelce made history against the Falcons as the first tight end to have two seasons with 100 receptions and the most receiving yards in a single season by a tight end. But those weren’t the most important record for him.

“It’s cool to be a part of, but the record I’m proud of right now is it’s the first time the Chiefs have ever been 14-1,” he said.

With the No. 1 seed clinched, the question becomes who plays next week. Andy Reid says no decisions have been made yet on that front. But it’s a luxury to have now that the road to the Super Bowl goes through Kansas City.

“If we need to rest someone, obviously it gives us that opportunity, but I look at it the other way. It gives us an opportunity to get some guys in that haven’t played much,” Reid said.

Chiefs wrap up the regular season next Sunday against the Chargers.

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