Patrick Mahomes’ helmet shatters during frigid Chiefs-Dolphins playoff game

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes threw for 262 yards and a touchdown, had his helmet shattered when he took a hit in the second half, and proceeded to lead the Kansas City Chiefs to a 26-7 rout of the Miami Dolphins in the fourth-coldest game in NFL history Saturday night.


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The reigning league MVP found Rashee Rice eight times for 130 yards and a touchdown in the wild-card playoff game, and Isiah Pacheco added 89 yards rushing and another score, sending the Chiefs (12-6) past the Dolphins for the first time in four postseason meetings. Harrison Butker added four field goals for the defending Super Bowl champs.

The injury-depleted Dolphins (11-7) looked nothing like the dynamic offense that led the league in yards during the regular season. Tua Tagovailoa was pressured relentlessly by the NFL’s second-ranked defense, wide receiver Tyreek Hill had a 53-yard TD catch but was otherwise shut down in his return to Kansas City, and the Dolphins finished with just 264 yards in all.

They have not won at Arrowhead Stadium since Nov. 6, 2011, nor won a playoff game since Dec. 30, 2000. Meanwhile, the Chiefs won their 15th consecutive home playoff game — not counting a trio of Super Bowls. But they will head to Buffalo next week if the Bills beat the Steelers on Monday in a game pushed back a day by a blizzard. Otherwise, the Chiefs will host Houston, which beat the Browns earlier Saturday.


Patrick Mahomes stood alone in the frigid cold to watch Browns-Texans on the Chiefs jumbotron

It was minus-4 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-20 Celsius) at kickoff, easily setting a record for the coldest game at Arrowhead Stadium. But it was wind gusts, whipping through at more than 25 mph and driving the wind chill to a bone-rattling minus-27 degrees, that made the weather truly miserable for just about everyone.

That included pop star Taylor Swift, who once again turned up to see her boyfriend, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. She at least got to watch from an enclosed suite. Most fans huddled outside in parkas, ski goggles and snow pants, and players huddled around heaters on the sidelines as if they were an oasis in the cold. The National Weather Service issued a warning for what it called “dangerously cold” weather that had blanketed the Midwest.

In fact, the cold may have made Mahomes’ helmet brittle enough that a hit in the third quarter knocked a chunk of the plastic shell from it. Once officials saw the fist-sized hole, they made Mahomes get a backup helmet from the bench.


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The weather didn’t seem to bother Hill, who was playing in Kansas City for the first time since his old team traded him to Miami two years ago. The league’s leading receiver warmed up in a short-sleeved shirt, then proceeded to scorch the stout Chiefs defense and All-Pro cornerback Trent McDuffie for a his long touchdown reception midway through the first half.

But the Dolphins’ offense otherwise struggled, just as it did in a 21-14 loss to the Chiefs in their November game in Germany. Kansas City was far more efficient, scoring on four of its six first-half drives. Mahomes capped the first with a TD toss to Rice, and while ensuing drives kept fizzling in the red zone, Butker added a trio of field goals as Kansas City took a 16-3 lead into the break.