Patrick Mahomes and the high-flying Kansas City Chiefs offense garner most of the attention. Rightfully so, as Andy Reid's crew sets records as a seemingly unstoppable force. It's time, however, to start viewing the K.C. defense in a similar light.
During Sunday's 38-24 win, Steve Spagnuolo's defense shut down Josh Allen, bamboozling the Bills QB into mistakes and poor throws. The Chiefs defense held Allen to under 60 percent completion percentage for just the third time in 2020 and smothered Stefon Diggs until some late garbage-time yards.
K.C.'s defense can do it all.
You want coverage? The Chiefs secondary blanketed Bills WRs like white on rice, giving Allen nowhere to throw the ball. A group of Buffalo wideouts that excels at getting separation found less daylight than a sea-sunken cave.
You want pass rush? The Kansas City front harassed Allen from start to finish, sacking the QB four times and adding another 11 QB hits. Chris Jones is an unstoppable monster in the middle, wreaking more havoc than any box score can do justice. Frank Clark is the speed off the edge, causing two big sacks of Allen to squelch any plans of a Buffalo comeback.
Heading into Super Bowl LV, the Chiefs defense is playing better than most would recognize, given how it's cosmically overshadowed by an otherworldly offense.
Clark made a statement with his two sacks Sunday but had no similar message for Tom Brady and the Bucs ahead of the Super Bowl showdown.
"Nah," Clark said, when asked if he had anything to say to Brady, via Jori Epstein of USA Today. "I don't got nothing to say to him. I'll see his ass on Sunday in the Super Bowl."
After ending Allen's impressive 2020 campaign by dealing the QB a dud, the Chiefs now attempt to knock off the G.O.A.T. and his cast of weapons in Tampa.
The Chiefs' last playoff loss came to Brady when the New England Patriots bested K.C. in the AFC Championship Game two years ago. On that day, the Chiefs defense couldn't stop Brady. It's spent the past two years improving from that overtime loss where it couldn't get its MVP QB the ball back.
In a postseason revenge match two years in the making, the Chiefs are confident they're in a position to slow the 43-year-old Brady.
"It's all about our team, all about our coaches," Chiefs All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu said. "It's all about the information you're able to take in and then take to the field. It's all about understanding and believing in your coaches, all about believing in their plan and their gameplay. Then from there it's about us going out there and executing the game plan.
"Sometimes you're not always in the best position, and sometimes we've got to go above the Xs and Os to make a play."
In the Week 12 win over Tampa, the Chiefs jumped out to a big lead against the Bucs, and the defense forced four straight punts to start the game, including three three-and-outs, and picked off TB12 twice. But Brady found some tread late in the contest, throwing for 345 yards and three TDs to make the score a bit too close for comfort for K.C.
"Listen, we've got room to get better," Reid said. "We had a couple things that went a little hay-wacky today but we stayed on course and did ... more good things than bad things.
"This job is a little bit like being a farmer. The work's never done."
The Chiefs defense has quietly done work all season. Now, Spagnuolo has one more chance to help flummox Brady in a Super Bowl.