Nine straight wins. Not many of them have been pretty, but over the past nine weeks, the Chiefs have hailed victorious. Week 16 was no different, as the Kansas City Chiefs (10-5) outlasted the Cleveland Browns 17-13.
Shortly after the final whistle blew in Kansas City, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Baltimore Ravens, solidifying Kansas City’s playoff spot. This marks the first time in the history of the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals where both teams have made the playoffs in the same season.
A glance back at Sunday’s highs and lows:
• Quarterback Alex Smith and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin continued their chemistry early, as Smith found Maclin in the center of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown effort. The 11 yards pushed Maclin to more than 1,000 yards receiving on the season.
This is the second time Maclin has surpassed 1,000 yards receiving over the course of a season. In 2014, Maclin totaled 1,318 yards receiving. As a Missouri Tiger, Maclin boasted two seasons of over 1,000 yards receiving.
Maclin’s 1,000-yard season is the first from a Chiefs wide receiver since Dwayne Bowe hauled in 1,159 yards receiving in 2011. Coach Andy Reid has had four receivers, counting Maclin, to surpass 1,000 yards receiving. Terrell Owens in 2004, Kevin Curtis in 2007 and DeSean Jackson in 2009 and 2010 round out the rest of Reid’s receivers to beat the mark.
Smith has never had a receiver in his arsenal to catch more than 1,000 yards in a season.
• Rookie cornerback Marcus Peters grabbed his eighth interception of the season against the Browns. With his latest interception, he tied the Chiefs’ rookie record for interceptions. The last time a Chiefs rookie hauled in eight interceptions? 1962, back when the Chiefs were the Dallas Texans. The 53-year-old franchise record was set when Bobby Hunt hauled in eight interceptions during his rookie campaign. Peters is also tied for first in the league in interceptions alongside Cincinnati safety Reggie Nelson.
• Tight end Travis Kelce’s touchdown drought is over. Inside the first half’s two minute warning, Kelce bobbled into the end zone to give the Chiefs a 17-3 lead going into intermission. The last time Kelce bumbled into the end zone was on Nov. 29 when the Chiefs defeated the Buffalo Bills 30-22.
• Smith managed both his passing game and his run game well. Smith aired the ball out for 125 yards and took to his feet for 54 yards. His 54 yards rushing in the game was his third highest rushing attempt over his 11-year career. His best rushing day came earlier this season in London against the Lions when he ran for 78 yards.
• Kicker Cairo Santos continues to move up the Chiefs’ all-time charts. His 40-yard field goal in the first quarter tied him with Hall of Fame kicker Jan Stenerud with second-most field goals made in a single season with 30. Stenerud posted 30 field goals in both 1968 and 1970. Santos needs four more field goals to tie Nick Lowery’s franchise record of 34.
• Manziel took a page from Smith’s playbook to close out the first half and to open up the second half. Manziel’s 34-yard dart to open up the third quarter was the longest run of his career. Manziel went on to rush for 108 yards, accounting for 46.6 percent of the Browns’ run game.
• Smith threw his second interception during the Chiefs’ nine-game win streak. Rookie defensive end Nate Orchard picked off Smith for his first interception of his career. The interception didn’t result in much, as Peters picked off Cleveland quarterback Johnny Manziel two plays later.
• Smith was sacked once for a loss of three yards. He sits at 44 sacks on the season, one shy of his most times sacked of 45 in a season.
• This was the first contest since Week 4 against Cincinnati where at least one Chief did not record a sack. The Chiefs sit third league-wide in sacks as a team this season with 41.
• The Chiefs missed both starting outside linebackers in the contest, as Tamba Hali and Justin Houston were both inactive against the Browns. Hali underwent surgery on his right thumb this week. Houston hyperextended his knee against Buffalo back on Nov. 29 and hasn’t returned since.
Amie Just is a contributing writer for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach her or find her on Twitter: @Amie_Just.