The game started so well for the Miami Dolphins, disastrous for the Kansas City Chiefs.
It is not how you start; it is how you finish.
The Chiefs scored 30 straight unanswered points to pull away from the Dolphins 33-27.
“We prepared the right way; we just didn’t make enough plays,” Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said. “It’s a good team, they made more plays, and we fought to the end and came up short.”
Chiefs overcame a 30-yard sack, four turnovers, and a 10-point deficit to clinch their fifth consecutive AFC West title.
Patrick Mahomes entered the game with two interceptions on the season; Dolphins picked him off three times. His first multi-interception game in more than two years.
“It is not just an offense, not just a defense, not just special teams,” Mahomes said. “We are a complete football team that finds ways to win in every single way.”
Mahomes took the longest sack in the NFL in five years. He finished with 393 yards and two touchdowns.
Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa led touchdown drives of 80 and 75 yards to cut the margin to six. Chiefs sealed the win with a field goal.
Tagovailoa began the day as the third quarterback in the Super Bowl era to not throw an interception in his first five career starts, joining Dak Prescott and Kyle Allen. He threw his first career interception, which came on his 154th attempt on a long pass that deflected off receiver Jakeem Grant.
“It hurts a lot to come up short; we want to win the ball game at the end of the game, we want to score one more point than the opposing team,” Tagovailoa said. “The defense gave us many opportunities; offensively, we did not execute.”
Tagovailoa passed for 316 yards and two touchdown passes to Mike Gesicki, who left the game with what appeared to be a right shoulder injury.
The Dolphins entered the game allowing the second-fewest points in the NFL and winners of seven of the past eight games.
Defensively, Xavien Howard continues to improve his candidacy for defensive player of the year. He made an interception for the fifth game in a row, and Mahomes’ interception total for the season added up to five. Howard leads the NFL with nine interceptions.
At the moment, the Dolphins are seeking their first playoff appearance since 2016; they are locked in a tight race owning the final spot with three games remaining.
The beat goes on.
Chiefs take their talents to New Orleans; next, Dolphins play host to New England.