The Kansas City Chiefs set up a mouth-watering AFC Divisional Round matchup with the Buffalo Bills with a 42-21 blowout Wild Card round win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Pittsburgh snuck into the playoffs as the seventh seed and, when T.J. Watt returned Mecole Hardman's fumble for a touchdown to open the scoring after a hugely impressive defensive performance in the first quarter, the Steelers would have been forgiven for thinking about a monumental upset.
Yet any such thoughts were quickly proven to be pipe dreams as the Chiefs took over, with Patrick Mahomes in blistering form as he threw for 404 yards and five touchdowns, a sole interception in the first quarter the only blemish on an otherwise sensational showing.
Farewell to Big Ben's career
It means Mahomes will face off with Bills quarterback Josh Allen, himself fresh off a remarkable performance against the New England Patriots, in a repeat of last year's AFC Championship Game, while Ben Roethlisberger's career is likely over, the Steelers quarterback having said a tearful farewell to Heinz Field after their Week 17 win over the Cleveland Browns.
Roethlisberger will call it a career with two Super Bowl titles to his name, and Mahomes appears excellently positioned to tie that tally this season after dicing up the Steelers after the first-quarter shutout.
Touchdown throws to Jerick McKinnon and Byron Pringle restored order for the Chiefs after the Steelers' strong start and Mahomes capped the first half with a 48-yard toss to Travis Kelce, the tight end rumbling into the endzone after his former MVP quarterback executed a deep pass while rolling to his right with a degree of nonchalance.
A short scoring toss to offensive lineman Nick Allegretti and a 31-yard teardrop to Tyreek Hill ended any doubt over the final outcome, the final flourish coming when Kelce connected with Pringle on a two-yard trick play.
That touchdown sandwiched by two for Roethlisberger on passes to Diontae Johnson and James Washington before the seconds ticked down on a Hall of Fame career.