Even when things look bleak and their backs are against the wall, the Kansas City Chiefs almost always find a way to win. At this point, that's not a fluke.
"Here we go again. Same old Chiefs." Those phrases have been uttered countless times by those who have experienced so much heartbreak at the hands of their favorite team over the years. Things are different now. The Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs are capable of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. In fact, we can now expect them to. The world caught yet another glimpse of that newfound confidence on Sunday night as Mahomes led a game-winning drive in the final minutes against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Despite a good showing from the offense, the Chiefs defense made Chiefs fans uneasy. After a six-yard touchdown run by running back Le'Veon Bell, Vegas took the field and executed a 12-play, 75-yard drive that used up 4:11 of clock. The series culminated with a one-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to 17-year veteran tight end Jason Witten with just 1:43 left in the game. It also gave the Raiders a late 31-28 lead. Once again, though, Mahomes and company were able to defy the odds.
The Chiefs may be at their best when they need to score points. The team's entire playoff run earlier in the year was only made possible because of some historic comebacks. A two-minute drill with Mahomes on the field is like taking candy from a baby. It shouldn't be that easy, and it may upset some people, but it's pretty much a sure thing. That was evidenced by the Chiefs marching 75 yards down the field in 75 seconds, capped off by a Mahomes-to-Kelce connection of 22 yards for the game-winning score.
Head coach Andy Reid knows he has something special in his young signal-caller.
"I'd take him over everybody, and I’m lucky to have him... When you're behind, he can make things happen," Reid said after the game. "This could've easily went the other way and it didn't. And it's because they bear down."
The Chiefs' legendary coach has a sense of unwavering confidence in the NFL's best player and the current front-runner for league MVP honors. Mahomes reciprocates that confidence in his teammates.
When asked about what he was thinking as soon as the Carr-to-Witten touchdown occurred, Mahomes' answer was simple.
"That we were going to score," Mahomes said. "I just didn't know if that was going to be overtime or we were going to win it."
With some of the best weapons in the league at his disposal, along with poise that is extremely rare for such a young player, Mahomes led what was a relatively "boring" comeback drive. There weren't mishaps. Nothing seemed rushed. It was a textbook instance of a team that had been there before and had all the quiet confidence of Super Bowl champions.
Opposing teams are capable of punching the Chiefs in their mouth. That same Raiders team did so in Week 5, escaping with a 40-32 victory. No squad can come back from every deficit it faces. With that said, Kansas City comes pretty close. In the last calendar year, the Chiefs have just one single loss to Vegas on their resume. The stockpile of wins hasn't come without trials and tribulations, either.
A 24-0 hole to start the Divisional Round playoff game against the Houston Texans. A comeback from being down 10-0 and 17-7 to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game. Facing a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV. Those are just three times the "same old Chiefs" narrative has been put to rest. Even this season, there have been some tests the team has managed to pass with flying colors.
The Los Angeles Chargers led until the Chiefs forced overtime and then ended up winning back in Week 2. Mahomes and the offense couldn't get anything going in the first half of a Week 4 matchup against the Cam Newton-less New England Patriots, then scored a pair of touchdowns to put the game away in the second half. Heading into the bye week, the Carolina Panthers put up an impressive fight at Arrowhead and lost by just two points. It hasn't always been pretty, and that's okay.
Embrace the ugly games. The Chiefs have done so and are better because of it. While the process is important, it can be improved in between games. The result cannot be changed. This isn't the same old Chiefs team that can't respond to adversity. It looks adversity in the eye and overcomes it with precision. Nothing is guaranteed, but this bunch has earned everyone's full trust in even the most troubling of times.