KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- With the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs and a first-round bye on the line, the Kansas City Chiefs opted not to show the score of the game between the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid didn't want his team distracted. So instead of scoreboard watching, the Chiefs searched for clues about the result in New England.
Some listened for cheers from Chiefs fans unrelated to the game they were playing. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes said at one point he saw Tom Brady's stats in a fantasy update on the scoreboard and tried to use them to figure out whether the Patriots were winning or losing.
It wasn't until the Chiefs closed out their 31-21 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers that they finally learned that the Patriots' loss had given Kansas City that coveted No. 2 seed. The Dolphins finished their win over the Patriots at about the same time thanks to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw a touchdown pass with 24 seconds left for a 27-24 victory.
"It's Fitzmagic, man," Mahomes said. "He does things that are awesome to watch."
Reid said he would happily send Fitzpatrick some Kansas City steaks as a token of his gratitude, but added "I can't do that, though, because that's tampering.
"Hail to the Dolphins."
The 12-4 Chiefs finished the regular season on a six-game winning streak. They will play their first playoff game in two weeks at Arrowhead against either the Patriots, the Houston Texans or the Buffalo Bills.
The prospect of a week off in the playoffs was a major incentive for the Chiefs as they prepared to play the Chargers.
"It's basically like winning a playoff game," Mahomes said.
The difficult part of the equation seemed to be a Dolphins win over the Patriots. New England was favored by more than two touchdowns and had lost only once at home this season -- to the Chiefs.
"Playing in Gillette [Stadium], it was going to be hard for them to get a win," Mahomes said.
The Chiefs had plenty to worry about on their own. The Chargers came into the game just 5-10 but had given the Chiefs a major scare when the teams met Week 11 in Mexico City. The Chiefs needed every one of four interceptions in that game against Philip Rivers to hold on for the victory that started their six-game winning streak.
"I was more worried about us beating the Chargers than [the Patriots losing]," linebacker Anthony Hitchens said.
On Sunday, the Chiefs fell behind 14-10 in the third quarter, with their offense again struggling to move the ball.
Then the Chiefs scored back-to-back touchdowns covering 188 yards. Mecole Hardman ran back a kickoff 104 yards for one score and Damien Williams rushed 84 yards for a touchdown to give the Chiefs a 10-point lead.
Still, the Chiefs needed a third-down conversion on a 47-yard pass to Tyreek Hill, who was covered by a linebacker, to finally put the Chargers away.
"When I saw him covered by a linebacker, I knew I was putting it up to him," Mahomes said.
That play led to the clinching touchdown, a 7-yard run by Williams, and all that was left was awaiting the favorable news from New England.
The Chiefs know having a bye guarantees them nothing. They had home-field advantage throughout the playoffs last season but lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. But they entered those playoffs having lost two of three games.
This year, with their winning streak, they're on a roll.
"We are the hottest team," Hill said. "We have the most swag in the AFC. I know the Ravens got Lamar [Jackson]. The Patriots have Tom [Brady]. But we've got Patrick Mahomes, baby."