Chiefs-Colts: Patrick Mahomes vs. Andrew Luck an unprecedented matchup
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Saturday's divisional-round playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead Stadium offers some interesting angles, but none better than the first matchup between quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Andrew Luck.
They were the top two in the regular season in passing touchdowns, Mahomes with 50 in his first season as a starter, Luck with 39 in his first season back from an ailing shoulder that kept him sidelined for the 2017 season. Their 89 combined touchdown passes are the most ever in a playoff matchup.
Luck has momentum after leading the Colts to a 21-7 road victory over the Houston Texans in the wild-card round. Mahomes had a fantastic debut season, becoming the second player in NFL history to throw 50 touchdowns and for at least 5,000 yards.
But Mahomes has never played in a playoff game. He was a backup as a rookie during last season's wild-card loss to the Tennessee Titans.
So Mahomes is still a playoff unknown.
"Everything is a little faster in the playoffs," coach Andy Reid said. "That's how things go. At the same time, he's got to be himself and continue to play and lead like he's been doing. I don't think he'll have a problem with that. I think he understands that. He's wired the right way to handle all of it."
Despite being a backup, Mahomes received a primer on how the playoffs work in last season's game against the Titans. The Chiefs led 21-3 at halftime and appeared well on their way to the next round.
The Titans dominated the second half, scoring all 19 points and winning 22-21.
"Every possession counts," Mahomes said. "Every play counts. You have to find ways to win. It's all about who goes out there and plays a full game and finds a way to win in the end.
"You can't let the momentum of the game affect how you're playing. [The Titans were] a good football team last year. They came back to win the game. But we had chances to win last year and we just didn't capitalize on those. We'll learn from those and try to capitalize on those this year."
The Chiefs have not faced the Colts since the 2016 regular season. In the most recent playoff game between the teams, the Chiefs wasted a 38-10, third-quarter lead and lost to Luck and the Colts 45-44 in Indianapolis during the 2013 playoffs.
Some other interesting statistical items involving the two teams:
The Chiefs led the NFL during the regular season in scoring (35.3 points per game) but the Colts were 10th in scoring defense (21.5). The Chiefs led the league in pass plays of 20 yards or more (76) but the Colts allowed just 41, fifth-best in the league.
The Colts were fifth in scoring (27.1) while the Chiefs were 24th in scoring defense (26.3). The Chiefs were 2-4 against teams that finished in the top 10 in scoring.
The Chiefs tied for the league lead in sacks with 52. The Colts allowed 18, the fewest in the league.