Kansas City Chiefs clinch playoff berth for sixth straight season: 'It's the first step'

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's not that the Kansas City Chiefs didn't appreciate the significance of clinching a playoff spot with their 22-16 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday night.

But they certainly weren't dwelling on it. Coach Andy Reid didn't even mention the fact in his locker room talk after the game, instead discussing the need to begin preparations for next week's game against the Miami Dolphins.

"It's the first step,'' quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. "You want to find a way to get into the playoffs. But we have bigger goals.''

The playoff spot is a franchise record sixth straight for the Chiefs. At 11-1, they would clinch a fifth consecutive AFC West championship by beating the Dolphins.

The Chiefs are chasing the 11-0 Pittsburgh Steelers for the AFC's No. 1 playoff seed and a first-round postseason bye.

"I'm proud of the guys and the coaches,'' Reid said. "We finished it up when everything wasn't going right. In years past, maybe you don't win that game. We still have work to do.''

The 4-8 Broncos, who had lost each of the previous three games against the Chiefs by at least 20 points, made Kansas City work to the end this time. The Chiefs struggled in the red zone and needed five field goals from Harrison Butker.

The Chiefs also had to overcome a couple of other obstacles. They heard early in the morning they had a number of COVID-19 tests come back as positive, though all of those results later proved to be false.

"When they talk to you early in the morning like that, you're not sure what's real and not real,'' Reid said. "We thought we were clean with all of that. It came back this morning that we weren't so I figured there was a glitch there.''

The Chiefs also lost a touchdown when they failed to request a video review of a pass to Tyreek Hill in the end zone. Hill tipped a pass and it appeared the ball hit the ground before he eventually grabbed it. The throw was ruled incomplete.

But replay showed Hill was able to grab the ball after his deflection and control it.

Reid said Hill told him immediately afterward that he failed to make the catch.

"I've never had a receiver that didn't know he caught the ball,'' Reid said.

The Chiefs won their 11th straight game against the Broncos, a streak that dates back to 2015.