Chiefs take playoff experience into Sunday night vs Steelers

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) celebrates after catching a touchdown pass from quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Denver.

After another successful regular season, the Kansas City Chiefs are gearing up for another Super Bowl run.

But as he’s Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has sen before, the intensity amplifies come playoff time.

“You know that one play can really end your season or keep it going,” Mahomes said, “so you try to limit your mistakes as much as possible knowing that it’s gonna be a battle to the very end every single playoff game.”

The first team standing in the way of the Chiefs is the AFC’s No. 7 seed, the PIttsburgh Steelers. Going up against a team with experience, the Chiefs said they hope to make the most of every play as they fight for another shot at a title.

The Chiefs have faced the Steelers once this year already. Sidelined for that game was Travis Kelce, as he was on the COVID-19/Reserve list. Kelce said it was difficult to not take part.

“I think even though I had some symptoms, it was nothing that would have ever kept me out of being in the facility, practicing and then going to play in a game,” Kelce said. “It was pretty frustrating to not just go out there with my guys.”

The Chiefs beat the Steelers handily that game, despite missing one of their top playmakers. With Kelce slated to be on the field this time, the Chiefs will have a different element to their attack.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said he expects to see the Steelers bring something different against them, as well.

“You play a team twice, you gotta throw some different wrinkles at them,” Reid said. “You just don’t study the last couple games, you study the whole season when you go into something like this.”

The Steelers tout one of the most experienced quarterbacks and head coaches in the league. Veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and head coach Mike Tomlin have led the Steelers to three Super Bowls, winning two of them.

However, Roethlisberger is on his last leg, as the Steelers final game this year is expected to be the final game of Roethlisberger’s career.

Despite being past his prime, Mahomes said Roethlisberger and the Steelers will give him and the Chiefs a tough test this weekend.

“They have a lot of really good coaches over there, they have a lot of really good players, and they’ve played in playoff games,” Mahomes said. “They understand how to change stuff up, they understand to go back to what they’re great at, so we’re expecting a battle.”

Experience is key in the playoffs, and Mahomes said he knows that is a big reason why Roethlisberger and the Steelers won’t be an easy victory in the first round of the playoffs.

After missing the last meeting, Kelce said he hopes to make the most of his opportunity on the field this weekend.

“There’s a lot of teams that won’t be out there this week, and it’s a blessing,” Kelce said. “It’s a blessing to be here in Kansas City and have the success that we’ve had over my entire nine years in the league, and I just try to take advantage of those opportunities because not everybody gets them.”

As they fight for a third-consecutive Super Bowl appearance, Mahomes said the Chiefs need to make the most of every single play.

“When you get to that playoff game day, you have a little bit different intensity knowing that every play is critical,” Mahomes said. “But at the same time, you want to be loose, you want to have fun and you want to enjoy it, because you don’t know how many more of these games you’re gonna get in the playoffs, and I wanna make sure I’m ready to enjoy all of them.”

Jacob Lang can be reached at jacob.lang@newspressnow.com. Follow him on twitter: @NPNowLang.

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