KANSAS CITY – Patrick Mahomes passed for 294 yards and three touchdowns while adding 53 yards and another score rushing Sunday, as the Kansas City Chiefs advanced to their first Super Bowl in 50 years by downing the Tennessee Titans 35-24.
Mahomes rallied the Chiefs from a 10-point, first-half deficit to their eighth straight victory by going 23 of 35, while also rushing eight times. The win in the AFC Championship Game was the first in three appearances for Kansas City, which lost in overtime to New England at home last year.
“It’s amazing, it really is,” Mahomes said. “To be here in Arrowhead, these people really deserve it. We’re not done yet; we’re going to get it.”
Sammy Watkins caught seven passes for 114 yards, including a 60-yard bomb from Mahomes with 7:33 remaining for the last of four unanswered touchdowns, giving Kansas City a 35-17 lead. Damien Williams added 45 yards rushing, including a touchdown, and five receptions.
The Super Bowl appearance will be the third for the Chiefs and their first since winning Super Bowl IV as AFL champions. Andy Reid will become the seventh coach to guide two franchises to the Super Bowl, after taking Philadelphia to Super Bowl XXXIX, where the Eagles lost to the Patriots.
“We love every minute of this and we appreciate every minute of this, but it’s not done,” said Reid, who held aloft the AFC championship trophy, named after team founder Lamar Hunt. Reid encouraged the crowd to yell, “Chiefs,” while interviewed during the postgame presentation.
Hunt’s wife, Norma, and son, Clark, the Chiefs CEO, accepted the trophy.
Playing behind throughout the second half, Tennessee was unable to untrack Derrick Henry, who had at least 182 yards in each of the three previous games, all road wins against AFC division champs.
Henry finished with 69 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. He had enjoyed eight 100-yard performances in the previous nine games.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill added 209 yards passing, going 21 of 31 with two touchdowns. A 22-yard TD pass to Anthony Firkser with 4:18 remaining cut the lead to 35-24, but Tannehill was sacked on fourth down to end the Titans’ last possession.
“That’s what we were able to do coming in,” Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel said of his team’s run game. “We weren’t (running the ball), but I felt like we competed all the way to the end.’
Mahomes broke three tackles scrambling for a 27-yard touchdown with 11 seconds left in the first half to help Kansas City rally from a 10-0 deficit for a 21-17 halftime lead.
“When you have all these weapons, and you only bring a three-man rush, it gives me room to run it,” Mahomes said. “I love being here with this team, and all these guys make things a lot easier.”
Mahomes also threw for two first-half touchdowns, both to Tyreek Hill, as the Chiefs recovered from a three-and-out on their first series. They scored TDs on three straight possessions bridging the two quarters.
“The best quarterback in the National Football League is right here. He does it every time,” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said.
Henry carried 16 times in the first half for 62 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown that gave Tennessee a 10-0 margin barely nine minutes into the first quarter.
Tannehill also passed for a TD, a 1-yard lob to offensive lineman Dennis Kelly on a tackle-eligible play to cap a 15-play drive that took 9-plus minutes.
–Field Level Media