KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A disastrous play call in which the Kansas City Chiefs got a little too creative gave the Pittsburgh Steelers their only first-half touchdown, and it simultaneously ignited Patrick Mahomes and Co. on a barrage that saw them score five times in just over 11 minutes.
And with that, the Chiefs cruised through their playoff opener 42-21and took another step toward their quest for their third Super Bowl appearance in as many years.
The Chiefs advance to the divisional round, where they will host Buffalo in a rematch of their Week 5 showdown, which the Bills won. The Steelers, meanwhile, see their season, and likely the Ben Roethlisberger era, end with an unceremonious blowout defeat.
A Chiefs drubbing of the offensively challenged Steelers certainly didn’t come as a surprise. The oddsmakers pegged Kansas City as 12-½ point favorites.
However, the first quarter of Sunday night’s contest instead had the makings of a defensive struggle. The Steelers punted on four straight possessions while the Chiefs punted on three of their first four, and saw a tipped pass on the third lead to an interception.
Perhaps seeking to ignite their stagnant offense, the Chiefs lined up in the second half for a direct snap to wide receiver Mecole Hardman, who fumbled on his exchange to Darrell Williams, and Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt scooped up the loose ball and returned it 26 yards for the first touchdown of the game.
Then Mahomes and the Chiefs offense roared to life with…