KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes picked apart the Colts in his postseason debut, the Chiefs’ defense answered their critics with a stout performance, and Kansas City rolled to a 31-13 victory over Indianapolis in the divisional round Saturday to end 25 years of playoff frustration.

Mahomes threw for 278 yards while running for a touchdown, and Damien Williams ran for 129 yards and another score as the Chiefs beat Indianapolis for the first time in five playoff meetings to earn their first AFC title-game appearance since January 1994.

The AFC West champions will play the winner of Sunday’s game between the division-rival Los Angeles Chargers and the New England Patriots next weekend for a spot in the Super Bowl in Atlanta.

Andrew Luck was held to 203 yards passing for the Colts, while Marlon Mack was a non-factor on the ground. He had 46 yards rushing before leaving late in the fourth quarter with a hip injury.

With persistent snow at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs waltzed all over a Colts defense that nearly shut out the Texans a week ago. They scored on their first three possessions, then again just before halftime, to take a 24-7 lead into the break.

If there was any question whether this would be Kansas City’s day, it was answered when Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri missed a 23-yard field-goal try off the upright just before halftime. It was the first time in 22 postseason attempts that he missed from that close.

Not that the Chiefs thought they had it wrapped up. They’ve had bigger playoff meltdowns against the Colts.

There was the 10-7 loss in 1996, when Lin Elliott missed three field goals when the Chiefs were the No. 1 seed, and the 2003 loss at home that had no punts.

Five years ago they blew a 38-10 second-half lead against the Colts to spoil Andy Reid’s first season.

Not this time. Not with this quarterback. After shattering nearly every franchise passing record, Mahomes picked up right where he left off in his regular-season finale. He led the Chiefs on touchdown drives of 90 and 70 yards to open the game, quickly identified a favorite target in Travis Kelce, and shook off a banged-up knee to scramble for a touchdown late in the first half to give his team a big cushion.

Of course the Chiefs didn’t need it the way their defense was playing. The Colts went three-and-out on their first four possessions, were outgained 185-12 in the first quarter, and Luck didn’t complete a pass until he found T.Y Hilton early in the second.

Their lone bright spot came when Zach Paschal recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown.

The Colts finally scored an offensive touchdown with 5:31 left in the game. But in the perfect summation of their lousy afternoon, their erstwhile star kicker missed the extra point.

By that point the party in the stands already had begun for the Chiefs, who had lost six straight home playoff games.


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