He and his teammates used it as fuel during the week and then the game, a 27-24 divisional round win over the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. The victory sends the Chiefs to another road test next Sunday: the AFC Championship Game against the Ravens in Baltimore.
“Guys took it as a challenge,” said Mahomes, who threw just 23 passes but for 215 yards and two touchdowns. “We just came in with the same mindset, that we’re going to come together, put our best foot forward and see if we can come out with a win. And that takes the mentality throughout the week, it takes every single play executing and we did a great job of that today and we’re able to score enough to win.”
Mahomes said he wasn’t dreading the prospect of playing his first road playoff game in raucous Buffalo, rather he was looking forward to it. Mahomes had played once in Buffalo but never saw the place in all its glory. That game was in 2020 and played without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was very excited,” Mahomes said. “It was going to be a great environment being in here in Buffalo. I’d heard about it. Obviously I played here but not with the fans. I knew the fans were going to be rowdy, going to be hostile. But you appreciate the greatness of organizations and going in week in and week out and packing the stadium and being fans.
“I obviously love playing Arrowhead, but it is cool to go on the road for a playoff game and be able to come out to win this one.”
The Chiefs have been an efficient road team with Mahomes at quarterback and had a better record this season away from Arrowhead Stadium (8-2 counting playoffs) than at home (5-4).
“I think it’s that guys come together,” he said. “I love being at Arrowhead and playing in front of that crowd, but when you’re on the road, it’s you versus them, it’s you versus everybody in the stadium and you have to come together as a team and the guys do that. You saw that in the game today.
“Through three quarters offensively, we were moving the ball up and down the field, but we got shut down in the fourth quarter and I went over to the defense and I told them, ‘Y’all shut it down and we’ll win this football game. We’ll go to the AFC Championship Game.’ And they did . . . It was a team win and that’s what you need in playoffs.”
The Chiefs are headed for their sixth straight AFC Championship Game. The first five were at Arrowhead.