Patrick Mahomes insists the Kansas City Chiefs are ready to ‘compete with anybody’ in the NFL playoffs after showing their mettle to see off the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Chiefs clinched the AFC West for an eighth successive year with a 21-17 victory over the Bengals on New Year’s Eve, which also ended a miserable 3-8 stretch that had threatened to derail their season.
The pressure was on the Super Bowl champions after their Christmas Day defeat by the Las Vegas Raiders, but Mahomes’ return of 21 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown helped them overcome a difficult test in Cincinnati and bounce back in style.
Kansas City will now look to keep momentum going in their final regular-season game against the LA Chargers to head into the playoffs full of confidence – and Mahomes believes they are well equipped to mix it with anyone after ‘battling through adversity’ against the Bengals.
When asked if this season feels different to others, the Chiefs quarterback replied: ‘We’re not winning this in Week 12 or Week 13 like we have before.
‘I mean, we had to battle through adversity and find a way to win this game. But it’s not over. We have to get better and better, we know that.
‘The model of the season at the end of it has been a good game and a bad game, so how can we sustain and get stuff going and continue to build off this momentum?
‘Get that momentum going into the playoffs, now you’re in the playoffs. It’s one game, single elimination – and I think we can go out there and compete with anybody.’
Mahomes has now won the AFC West title in every one of his NFL season with the Chiefs, who uncharacteristically slumped to three defeats out of five in December.
Their star quarterback also drew widespread criticism for his furious reaction to a late offside call in their loss to the Buffalo Bills on December 10.
Mahomes continued: ‘It’s cool to win the AFC West, but obviously, [we’ve been] dealing with some adverse situations over these last few weeks.
‘For guys to respond against a good football team — and find a way to win even when the game wasn’t going our way at the beginning of it? It was special.’