TIMELINE: How the Kansas City Chiefs made it to Super Bowl LV
TAMPA, Fla. (KY3) - Fifty years separates the Kansas City Chiefs from their latest Super Bowl title to their previous one. By the end of Sunday, that could change to just a difference of one year.
Kickoff for Super Bowl LV is less than 12 hours away as the Chiefs take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Chiefs will have a chance at their third Super Bowl title. This comes after finishing the regular season with a 14-2 record, clinching a fifth straight AFC West division title and winning two playoff games at home to reach the Super Bowl.
Kansas City could become the first repeat champions since 2004. Here’s a brief timeline of their season with a historic feat on the line:
WEEK 1 (September 10, 2020)
Chiefs 34, Texans 20
In a playoff rematch from the previous season, Chiefs open the new season with a home opener victory. Four players reached the end zone, including running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in his NFL debut.
WEEK 2 (September 20, 2020)
Chiefs 23, Chargers 20
Chiefs rally late to avoid an early-season upset in Los Angeles. Kansas City reaches overtime after being held to nine points through three quarters. Harrison Butker was the offensive hero, connecting for a pair of 58-yard field goals, including the game-winner in overtime.
WEEK 3 (September 28, 2020)
Chiefs 34, Ravens 20
Two MVP quarterbacks go head-to-head for Monday Night Football, and Patrick Mahomes takes the spotlight. He finishes with 385 passing yards, connects for passing touchdowns to four players and adds a red zone rushing score to top Lamar Jackson and company.
WEEK 4 (October 5, 2019)
Chiefs 26, Patriots 10
A game delayed due to positive COVID-19 tests from the Patriots also marked the first time Patrick Mahomes would take them on without Tom Brady. Only a field goal separated the foes early in the fourth quarter, but two quick scores over 10 seconds changed the narrative. One came on a pick-six play from Tyrann Mathieu, a fitting end for a game in which the defense led the way to victory.
WEEK 5 (October 11, 2020)
Raiders 40, Chiefs 32
A minor setback proved critical for the Chiefs to make adjustments moving forward. The Chiefs blew a two-possession lead late in the first half. The Raiders, taking on the Chiefs in their first game as a Las Vegas team, did not relinquish, taking a 16-point lead late in the fourth quarter and holding off a late-game surge from the Chiefs. It marked the end of a 13-game winning streak dating back to Week 10 of the 2019 regular season.
WEEK 6 (October 19, 2020)
Chiefs 26, Bills 17
The Chiefs bounce back from their first loss in a preview of the eventual AFC Championship matchup. Travis Kelce sparked the offense with a pair of touchdowns, while Clyde Edwards-Helaire breaks out for a season-high 161 rushing yards.
WEEK 7 (October 25, 2020)
Chiefs 43, Broncos 16
Arguably the most complete Chiefs game of the season results in a season-high 43 points. The division clash was the only one this season to include a passing touchdown (Tyreek Hill), a rushing touchdown (Clyde Edwards-Helaire), a defensive touchdown (Daniel Sorensen) and a special teams touchdown (Byron Pringle). The highlight play was Pringle’s touchdown, a 102-yard sprint on a Broncos kickoff.
WEEK 8 (November 1, 2020)
Chiefs 35, Jets 9
After a stretch of tough opponents, the Chiefs finally had a chance to relax and experiment on offense against a winless Jets team. Tyreek Hill finished with his first multi-touchdown performance of the season, while Patrick Mahomes had a season-best five-touchdown game.
WEEK 9 (November 8, 2020)
Chiefs 33, Panthers 31
It wasn’t the flashiest of victories for the Chiefs, but a strong second half paved way for victory in the season’s first match with an NFC opponent. Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill both enjoyed big games, both posting 100-plus yards together for the first time in 2020. The Panthers tried valiantly to pull an upset, but missed a 67-yard field goal to come out on top as time expired.
WEEK 10 (BYE)
WEEK 11 (November 22, 2020)
Chiefs 35, Raiders 31
Primetime game and a primetime situation. The Chiefs paid their first visit to Las Vegas seeking revenge over the Raiders for their lone loss of the season. A back-and-forth contest featured five lead changes, including four in the fourth quarter.
The Raiders pushed the Chiefs to the brink of another upset, taking a three-point lead with 1:43 remaining. However, it was plenty of time for Patrick Mahomes to lead a clutch drive of his own, finding Travis Kelce for a touchdown with 26 seconds left to retake the lead. Kansas City prevailed to stretch its division lead to three games, a considerable difference from what would have been a one-game lead had the Raiders won.
WEEK 12 (November 29, 2020)
Chiefs 27, Buccaneers 24
Another statement win in what would eventually prove to be a Super Bowl LV preview. It wouldn’t have been possible without a historically fast start from the Chiefs. Tyreek Hill torched the Buccaneers defense for two touchdowns and 203 receiving yards in the first quarter, one of only three players to reach such a combination in one quarter since 1980. Hill added another touchdown in the third quarter.
Tom Brady, taking on the Chiefs for the first time without a New England Patriots uniform, outplayed Patrick Mahomes as the game progressed, leading a 24-10 run after being shut out in the first quarter. Still, Kansas City held off the late surge with strong clock management in the closing minutes. Mahomes also finished with a season-best 464 passing yards, largely helped by Hill’s career performance.
WEEK 13 (December 6, 2020)
Chiefs 22, Broncos 16
Coming into the game with 10 straight victories over the division rival Broncos, a franchise-best 11 would not come easily. Denver held the Chiefs to a season-low nine points in the first half, none which came via touchdown. Harrison Butker stepped up with five field goals, the Chiefs defense was stout and Travis Kelce connected for Kansas City’s only touchdown in a third consecutive one-possession victory.
The Chiefs clinched a playoff berth with the victory and moved to a tie for first place in the AFC one night later as the then-undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers dropped their first game of the season.
WEEK 14 (December 13, 2020)
Chiefs 33, Dolphins 27
The Chiefs overcame some early mistakes against a hungry Dolphins team surprisingly in the mix for a playoff spot. It was the only game this season in which Patrick Mahomes had multiple interceptions. After falling behind 10-0, Kansas City rallied for 30 unanswered points between the second and third quarters. Tyreek Hill scored on a rushing and receiving touchdown, while Mecole Hardman had a 67-yard punt return in the mid-game surge.
The Dolphins responded with a 17-point fourth quarter, but the Chiefs held on to stay undefeated in road games in Florida this season. Kansas City officially clinched the AFC West with the victory and took sole possession of first place in the AFC after another Pittsburgh Steelers loss.
WEEK 15 (December 20, 2020)
Chiefs 32, Saints 29
The final road game of the year capped off a travel-heavy portion of the Chiefs’ schedule that featured four road games in five weeks. Although the quarterback matchup of Patrick Mahomes vs. Drew Brees gained attention, both relied on several playmakers in the back-and-forth effort. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce found the end zone in the first half, followed by scores from depth pieces Mecole Hardman and Le’Veon Bell.
The script didn’t go exactly as planned for Kansas City. The Chiefs squandered a lead early in the third quarter, lost running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire to injury and allowed two late touchdowns from Brees to keep New Orleans in striking distance. Regardless, Kansas City managed the clock well in the final minutes and finished with a perfect road record for the first time since 1966.
WEEK 16 (December 27, 2020)
Chiefs 17, Falcons 14
Taking on their final non-conference opponent of the regular season, the Chiefs would once again be in store for a close contest. Both defenses came prepared, both limiting the high-powered offensive opponents to one touchdown in the first half. Travis Kelce put Kansas City on the scoreboard in the final minute of the opening half, finding a way to set a new career-high in touchdown passes and top 100 receptions for the second straight year on the day where the offense mainly struggled.
The Falcons reclaimed the lead on a red-zone touchdown with 4:33 remaining. On the following drive, Kansas City shaved nearly three minutes off the clock and Demarcus Robinson played hero with a go-ahead touchdown. Once again on the brink of a potential upset, the Chiefs held off a late drive from the Falcons, who missed what would have been a game-tying field goal with 14 seconds left that likely would have forced overtime.
Kansas City survived to win their seventh straight game by one possession, which also marked ten straight victories overall for the second time across two seasons. More importantly, the Chiefs clinched the AFC’s top playoff seed and a first-round bye to rest their regulars.
WEEK 17 (January 3, 2021)
Chargers 38, Chiefs 21
With no major implications on playoff seeding, the Chiefs rested their starters, including Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, in the regular season finale. Despite finishing the regular season on a loss, the game offered some valuable experience for reserve players. Darwin Thompson finished with a pair of touchdowns, while Byron Pringle also found the end zone in Chad Henne’s only start of the season.
With a first-round bye in effect the following week, most starters had three full weeks between game action to rest and recover from injuries.
NFL Divisional Round (January 12, 2020)
Chiefs 22, Browns 17
The first-ever playoff match between the Browns and Chiefs was certainly a memorable one. Patrick Mahomes opened the game in dominant fashion with a rushing score, leading the Chiefs to either a touchdown or field goal in each of their first four possessions. Kansas City’s defense stepped up with some big plays early, forcing a fumble recovery and an interception while holding Cleveland to one field goal in the first half.
A scary moment emerged in the third quarter when Mahomes exited the game after a hit. He was ruled out and evaluated for a concussion nearly halfway through the quarter, leaving the team’s fate up to reserve quarterback Chad Henne and the defense. The Chiefs ended that drive with a critical field goal, extending their lead to 22-10.
The Browns tested Kansas City’s defense in the next drive, which stretched eight-plus minutes between the third and fourth quarters, eventually resulting in a touchdown to make it a one possession game. Henne threw a pick on the next drive, creating a tall task for the Chiefs defense to hold off a swing in momentum. Cleveland punted with nearly four minutes remaining, which was just enough time for the offense to run out the clock. A fourth-and-one pass to Tyreek Hill with 1:14 left lifted Kansas City to victory formation, helping the Chiefs advance to their third straight AFC Championship contest.
AFC Championship Game (January 19, 2020)
Chiefs 38, Bills 24
Rematch time between the Buffalo Bills, but much different circumstances. While the Chiefs played host this time around, the Bills rolled into the game on a then league-best _-game winning streak. Buffalo controlled the pace in the opening quarter, rolling out to an early 9-0 lead.
Mecole Hardman opened a 21-3 run in the second quarter with Kansas City’s first score. Darrel Williams and Clyde Edwards-Helaire found the end zone for rushing touchdowns. Patrick Mahomes, just days after being cleared from concussion protocol, sparked the offense with three touchdowns and no interceptions for the third time in a conference championship game.
After taking the lead midway through the second quarter, the Chiefs would never relinquish. Travis Kelce delivered with two insurance touchdowns in the second half, while the defense limited the Bills from making several big plays on third downs and pressured opposing quarterback Josh Allen on nearly half of his dropbacks. Despite a somewhat sluggish start, it was a strong finish in which talents shined on both sides of the ball.
Up next: A rematch with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kickoff for Super Bowl LV is set for 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
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