Mahomes completed passes to nine different receivers and threw for three touchdowns.
More importantly, he did not commit an interception in this AFC West-clinching game.
— NFL (@NFL) December 27, 2021
Despite their struggles early in the season, the Andy Reid-coached squad won its sixth-straight division title and clinched a playoff berth.
At present, they also own the top seed in the conference, giving them a Wild Card bye.
It’s not even a transformation because the Chiefs just rediscovered the groove that made them title contenders since Mahomes took over at quarterback.
Those who counted the Chiefs out early in the season are shaking their heads because they now look invincible.
No Losses For Two Months
Last season ended in disappointment for the Chiefs as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominated them in Super Bowl LV.
The sour taste of that defeat rolled out over the first seven weeks of the 2021 NFL season.
The Buccaneers provided a winning formula against the Chiefs, and other teams copied their strategy.
They kept sending pressure against Mahomes to test the durability of the Kansas City offensive line.
Let me say it RIGHT now! The CHIEFS are DONE! pic.twitter.com/mCAqmxfszK
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) October 11, 2021
The pass rush got to the Super Bowl LIV MVP so much that he threw nine interceptions in their first seven games.
He completed 18 touchdown passes during the same stretch, but the picks proved too costly.
As a result, the Chiefs dropped to the AFC West’s cellar with a 3-4 record.
Talks about the Chiefs’ championship window closing reverberated throughout sports media.
The Chiefs have clinched the AFC West.
Kansas City now owns the longest active streak of division titles (6) and playoff appearances (7).
A run of dominance. pic.twitter.com/N5HGdx6Lhj
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 27, 2021
But after their Week 7 loss to the Tennessee Titans, the Chiefs made no excuses and started to impose their will over the league.
Kansas City’s triumph over the Steelers was their eighth-straight victory, six of which happened at Arrowhead Stadium.
What’s more impressive is that they did not lose in November and December.
The Chiefs are getting hot when the temperature is getting colder, and they might not see another regular-season defeat.
What Changed For The Chiefs?
Their offensive production remained practically the same during the two halves of their season.
They had a 42-point game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4 and a 48-point output against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14.
But it’s their defense that helped their cause by elevating their game.
The Chiefs allowed 29 points per game during their first seven assignments in 2021.
Kansas City #Chiefs defensive DVOA has now improved to 17th on the season.
Their weighted defense is 7th. Since Week 6, their defense is 3rd behind New England and Dallas.
Their run defense is up to 20th despite those terrible early-season games.#ChiefsKingdom
— Aaron Schatz 🏈 (@FO_ASchatz) December 14, 2021
They’ve limited opponents to 12.9 points per game during their eight-game winning streak.
Steve Spagnuolo’s unit gave up fewer than 10 points in four of those games.
Only the Los Angeles Chargers scored more than 20 points during Kansas City’s undefeated run.
What about the Steelers OL and the Chiefs defense made them think that play was going to be successful?
— Carrington Harrison (@cdotharrison) December 26, 2021
As a result, the Chiefs surrendered only 20.4 points per game through Week 16, tied for third-best in the league.
Maintaining the steady defense will help the two-time Super Bowl champions stretch their streak to 10.
But their final two games are no stroll in the park.
They will face Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals in their penultimate regular-season game before closing against the Denver Broncos.
With the defense playing the way they are..this is the best Chiefs team Mahomes has ever had!
— Dante' Jones (@Dantej21) December 27, 2021
However, they should have no concerns if their defense will refuse to bend and if their offense continues to run smoothly.
Barring any hiccups, the Chiefs are the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl for the third-straight year.