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June 14, 2024

Chiefs Dominate Dolphins in Frigid Conditions to Advance in Playoffs

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Jan 14, 2024

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Miami Dolphins 26-7 on Saturday in brutally cold conditions at Arrowhead Stadium. The game, which had a kickoff temperature of 5 degrees Fahrenheit, ranks as one of the coldest in NFL history.

Game Played Despite Dangerous Cold

There was talk leading up to the frigid matchup that the game could potentially be postponed due to the extreme weather. However, the NFL ultimately decided to proceed with the original schedule after consulting with medical experts. The Chiefs did make some modifications to their gameday policies to help protect fans from the cold.

Some of the accommodations included:

  • Allowing fans to bring in blankets and battery-operated coats/socks/gloves
  • Distributing hand warmers and face masks
  • Serving free hot chocolate and coffee

Stadium personnel worked diligently leading up to the game to prepare the stadium and field. This included running heating coils underneath the playing surface.

Despite concerns over fan and player safety, the show went on. The contest wound up being the 4th coldest game in league history at 5 degrees.

Kansas City’s Defense Sets Tone Early

The Chiefs defense has caught fire over the past couple months after struggling early in the season. That dominant form was on full display right from the start against Miami.

Kansas City set the tone by forcing a quick three-and-out to open the game. The Dolphins picked up one first down on their next drive before being forced to punt again. Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes engineered a 12-play, 57-yard drive that resulted in a field goal and an early 3-0 Chiefs advantage.

The KC defense forced punts on each of Miami’s first five possessions. The Dolphins finally broke through just before halftime when Tua Tagovailoa found Jaylen Waddle for a 42-yard completion. But the drive would stall and Miami settled for a field goal.

Team 1st Quarter 2nd Quarter Halftime
Chiefs 3 3 6
Dolphins 0 3 3

The Chiefs have one of the highest-scoring offenses in the NFL, but it was their defense that dominated the first half. Kansas City held Miami to just 86 total yards on 24 plays.

Offenses Struggle in Icy Conditions

The bitter cold made things difficult on both offenses as expected. The field was rock solid in spots while footing remained treacherous throughout. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Mahomes ran a total of 402 yards before throwing or getting sacked. Tagovailoa logged even more scramble yards at 419.

There were some questions about Mahomes’ ability to grip the football in the extreme conditions. The star QB did acknowledge after the game that it was a challenge:

“The main thing was gripping the ball. It was so cold, I couldn’t really feel the tips of my fingers or my hands. We tried some gloves and heating packs and stuff like that. …It took me a while to get warmed up just because of how cold it was.”

Mahomes and the Chiefs found more success getting the ground game going behind Jerick McKinnon and Isiah Pacheco. The duo combined for 155 yards on 32 attempts. Kansas City largely played it safe through the air with lots of short and intermediate passes.

Tyreek Hill, who Miami acquired from the Chiefs in a blockbuster trade last offseason, was held to just two catches for 33 yards by his former team. The speedster slipped multiple times trying to make cuts on the rock-solid turf.

Chiefs Pull Away in Second Half

Clinging to a 9-3 lead in the third quarter, the Chiefs finally punched one in the end zone courtesy of a scrambling Mahomes. He evaded pressure and found Blake Bell for a 5-yard score. A two-point try failed, making it 15-3 early in the second half.

Kansas City expanded the advantage to 19-3 later in the third on another Harrison Butker field goal. The Chiefs defense remained locked in, overwhelming Miami up front and capitalizing on poor conditions that made it extremely difficult for Tua and the Dolphins to find any rhythm.

The exclamation point came early in the fourth when Kansas City’s Nick Bolton returned a fumble 86 yards for a touchdown, ballooning the lead to 26-3. Those would be the final points of the contest.

Mahomes Improves to 5-0 Against Dolphins

In five career starts against Miami, Patrick Mahomes has still yet to taste defeat. Kansas City is now a perfect 5-0 in those games, with Mahomes putting up gaudy numbers along the way:

  • 1,622 passing yards (324.4 per game)
  • 16 total touchdowns
  • 0 interceptions
  • Quarterback rating of 131.1

Mahomes’ brilliance has carried the Chiefs past Miami every time the division rivals have clashed over the past four seasons. His clutch play has also helped lead Kansas City on multiple deep postseason runs.

The Chiefs are well-positioned to potentially make another Super Bowl push with Saturday’s Wild Card victory. And as long as number 15 is under center, Kansas City will remain a serious threat in the AFC.

What This Means Moving Forward

With the win, the Chiefs advance to face the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Divisional Round next weekend. The matchup will pit Mahomes against 2021 No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence.

Jacksonville stunned many by going on the road last week to take down Justin Herbert and the Chargers. Now Lawrence will try to lead his team into the AFC title game in just his second NFL season.

Meanwhile for the Dolphins, it’s another empty postseason trip. Miami maintains its dubious streak of not having won a playoff game since 2000. This talented Dolphins squad hoped Hill would help put them over the top, butkey injuries late in the year proved too much to overcome.

There will likely be plenty of offseason discussion around how Miami might be able to get on the Chiefs’ level. Kansas City again showed why they remain the class of the conference until further notice.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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