Breaking News: Are you saying that Patrick Mahomes is going to be the best NFL player ever?


It’s the postseason, which means it’s time for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to elevate his team after one of the worst statistical performances by a Kansas City offense during his tenure.




The Chiefs averaged just 21.8 points per contest, the team’s lowest output since Mahomes became the starting quarterback in 2018. And he averaged a career-low 7.0 yards per passing attempt and finished with a career-high 17 giveaways.

The offensive struggles weren’t all his fault, of course. According to Next Gen Stats, Chiefs receivers had a league-high 34 drops.

But that’s all over now. Starting Saturday night, the Chiefs will begin their quest to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls in more than 20 years.

“Everything you’ve worked for during the season is on the line,” Mahomes told reporters this week. “That’s basically it. Everybody is in the same position. But when you put in the time and effort every day, and you spend time away from your family, it’s for these moments.

“It excites me to have that pressure on you, and to be able to go out there and try to perform at the highest level.”

Despite Kansas City’s surprising struggles on offense, the Chiefs managed to finish 11-6 and win an eighth straight AFC West title — largely due to Kansas City’s defense. Led by longtime defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, the Chiefs held opponents to 17.3 points per game, No. 2 in the NFL. They also finished second in the league in sacks (57) and held opponents to 289.8 total yards per game, again No. 2 in the NFL.

Because of Kansas City’s dominance on defense, offensive coordinator Matt Nagy said his group has changed its approach, playing more of a field-position game, trying to curb turnovers — the Chiefs have turned the ball over 28 times this season but just twice in the past two games — and accepting that it’s OK at times to punt.

“We still want to be aggressive,” Nagy said. “We still want to attack the way we’ve always attacked. And that’s not going to change. That’s [Andy Reid’s] DNA. That’s who we are. That’s not going to change with Patrick.

“With that though, there’s evidence over the years of teams having this type of mentality: being able to stay aggressive but be smart. And now that we’re in the playoffs and it’s a one-and-done, understanding that it’s complementary football at its greatest right now.”

Saturday night’s AFC wild-card contest at Arrowhead Stadium against the visiting Miami Dolphins is expected to be one of the coldest playoff games in recent memory, with snow and single-digit temperatures predicted at game time.

According to FOX Sports Research, Mahomes has a 4-0 record in games when the temperature is 18 degrees or colder, including 1-0 in the postseason.

“At the end of the day, you go out there and play,” Mahomes said. “And if you win, you can call yourself a snow-game guy. I’m going to have to continue to find ways to win these games.”

Reid said his team will practice in the elements this week to prepare for the frigid conditions on Saturday.

“If we can go out, we’ll go out,” Reid told reporters. “I know we’ve got a little snow out there. I like being on the grass, as opposed to the artificial surface, more than anything.

“I just say get ready for the game. Let’s do that. I don’t really care what goes on out here. We’re not having a snowball fight.”

Saturday’s game also will be a homecoming for former Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill. He faced Kansas City for the first time earlier this season, a 21-14 setback for the Dolphins in Germany.

Kansas City won the Super Bowl after trading Hill to Miami last season. But this year, the Chiefs missed the speedy playmaker. Kansas City’s go-to player on offense, tight end Travis Kelce, did not reach the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the first time since 2015.

But Mahomes thinks the Chiefs’ regular-season struggles will help them in the postseason.

“We play in a lot of big games,” he said. “We play games on short rest, night games — whatever it is. I think just having that experience is going to help us. Having those games where everything is not going your way, and you have to find a way to pull through and get a win. A lot of guys on this team have done that.

“So, the step up that you always see when you get to the playoffs, it will be a step up. But I think we can make it a little smaller because we’ve been in games like this. … Just continue to rely on our experience and see what happens.”

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.