When a little pixie dust will do you





Mahomes hit Tyreek Hill on another long pass





BY JOSE FAUS

It is safe to say Patrick Mahomes magic showed up in a big way this past week in a spanking of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Though the outcome appeared tentative in the first quarter and a half as the Kansas City Offense stalled four times, there was never a sense of panic. They had beaten the Steelers soundly three weeks before, and even the ineptitude of the start was balanced by the Steelers own futility.


As the second quarter started, the Chiefs found themselves down by a touchdown on a trick play designed to get the engine pumping, but instead ended up deceiving the Chiefs resulting in a Steelers touchdown. That unexpected score was the switch that turned on the offense. The response was immediate. Mahomes’ magic spread across the kingdom like fairy dust. Sparkles went off everywhere and by the time the magic powder wafted back to the field, the Steelers were already thinking of sunny beaches and palm trees, their tickets to the Super Bowl a pile of confetti on the Arrowhead turf.


It was that fast. With 5:46 left in the second quarter, Mahomes threw an underhand pass for a touchdown to Jerick McKinnon. At 1:57 of the second quarter, Mahomes threw another touchdown pass to Byron Pringle. And then with 17 seconds left in the half, Mahomes threw his third touchdown pass of the quarter to a streaking Travis Kelce. It was 21-7 in less about six minutes of clock time.


The second half just continued the blinding pace. With 10:15 left in the third quarter, Mahomes threw his fourth touchdown to lumbering offensive tackle Nick Allegreti. But it wasn’t over. One minute later, Mahomes hit Tyreek Hill on another long pass. In a span of roughly 11 minutes Mahomes magic put a spell on the Steelers that lingers even days after game’s end.


There are no superlatives that can do justice to that performance. It was literally so fast that for all practical purposes I have to wonder if a game was even played. There were two other touchdowns and the hapless Ben Rothlisberger, in the last game of his career, threw a couple of touchdowns to exit the stage with a modicum of success. But make no mistake – Mahomes welcomed the post season with the kind of performance that only Josh Allen even came close to duplicating with his five touchdown, three-hundred-yard beating of the New England Patriots.


It is irksome that most of the ink this weekend was allotted to Allen’s performance, shadowing a 400-yard-plus, five-touchdown performance by Mahomes. The talk has been of how the Buffalo Bills scored so many touchdowns they never punted the ball. And what made it even more significant, they did it against a Bill Belichik defense, as if just the combination of the unit and his name makes it an insurmountable obstacle.


The truth is there was not much to the defense Belichik put on the field. They were slow, they were out of position, and they were chasing a game that was over by the third score. I know Belichik is a defensive-minded coach, but this has not been one of his best teams. The Patriots and a lot of commentators, and prognosticators came into that game with the idea that just having Belichik was worth points. That is not the way it worked. After losing to the Patriots early in the season, the Bills beat them in the second meeting soundly, much as the Chiefs beat the Steelers a few weeks ago.


Now we get the game we want to see. I’m not going to say this game is the championship game. I believe folk in Tennessee and Cincinnati are thinking differently. But we do have this game, and the matchup is intriguing. I’m going to walk back a little of what I said last week. I’m not prepared for the Chiefs to lose this year. Ambivalence is a disease I don’t want to feed.


The defense played a great game this weekend regardless of a suspect Steelers offense. Should they be punished for that when the Bills had a great defensive game against a not-so-great offense? I’m sorry but Mac Jones as a rookie reminded me so much of Dereck Carr. Not that it will define him for the rest of his career, but he was a quarterback that could not stand up to the pressure.


I have no clue who is going to win this game. I have a strong desire for Kansas City to come out on top. I believe they can do it and will do it. I’ve seen the Mahomes magic and have believed in it for the last four years. You know the man is clutch when other teams plan and play to deny him the ball at all costs. I love the match up here, and I’m prepared for a nail biter. I may not have any fingers by the end of the game. Maybe that Mahomes pixie dust will keep me safe. Go Kansas City - this is the magic kingdom.