Report: Former All-Pro S Berry to return in '20
Safety Eric Berry plans to return to the NFL in 2020 after sitting out the past season, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported Saturday."He actually did have opportunities to play in the league this past year," Garafolo said on "Good Morning Football.""He took a sabbatical. He wanted to make sure he could get himself right mentally and physically."Berry, 31, was released last March by the Kansas City Chiefs, who drafted him in 2010 with the No. 5 overall pick.In nine seasons with the Chiefs, Berry played in 89 games (87 starts) but played in at least 15 games just five times.In the season opener against the Buffalo Bills in 2011, he sustained a torn ACL that kept him out all season. In 2014, a sprained ankle sidelined him for five weeks, and then in December, his season ended abruptly when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Chiefs remain slight Super Bowl favorite
As the first week of the 14-day buildup to the Super Bowl winds down, the gambling point spread remains largely unchanged.The Kansas City Chiefs opened as 1.5-point favorites over the San Francisco 49ers after both teams won their conference championship games on Sunday, and the Chiefs were still a consensus 1-point pick as of Thursday.The Westgate Superbook, William Hill, MGM Mirage and CG Technology all had 1-point spreads on Thursday, according to VegasInsider.com, but Stations and PointsBet still had the Chiefs as a 1.5-point pick.The consensus money line has Kansas City at -120 and San Francisco +100. The over/under points total was 54 or 54.5 at various sites.
Chiefs' Jones (calf) expects to play in Super Bowl LIV
Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones said Thursday he expects to play without restriction in Super Bowl LIV against the San Francisco 49ers.Jones has nursed an ailing calf throughout the playoffs, with the injury preventing him from playing in Kansas City's 51-31 victory over Houston in the AFC divisional round on Jan. 12.The 25-year-old recorded two tackles in the Chiefs' 35-24 victory over Tennessee on Sunday in the AFC title game.When asked by NFL Network's James Palmer on Thursday if he can play every snap in the Feb. 2. Super Bowl if needed, Jones was quick with a response: "1,000 percent."
Chiefs TE Kelce (illness) sits out practice
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce joined safety Jordan Lucas in sitting out Thursday's practice due to illness.Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson sat out Wednesday's practice session with an illness as well.The players' absence in practice isn't considered a major deal at this time since the Chiefs' game against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV is still days away (Feb. 2, 6:30 ET).
Mahomes, Chiefs handle Titans to reach Super Bowl LIV
Patrick Mahomes passed for 294 yards and three touchdowns while adding 53 yards and another score rushing Sunday, as the Kansas City Chiefs advanced to their first Super Bowl in 50 years by downing the Tennessee Titans 35-24 at Kansas City, Mo.Mahomes rallied the Chiefs from a 10-point, first-half deficit to their eighth straight victory by going 23 of 35, while also rushing eight times. The win in the AFC Championship Game was the first in three appearances for Kansas City, which lost in overtime to New England at home last year.Sammy Watkins caught seven passes for 114 yards, including a 60-yard bomb from Mahomes with 7:33 remaining for the last of four unanswered touchdowns, giving Kansas City a 35-17 lead. Damien Williams added 45 yards rushing, including a touchdown, and five receptions.The Super Bowl appearance will be the third for the Chiefs and their first since winning Super Bowl IV as AFL champions. Andy Reid will become the seventh coach to guide two franchises to the Super Bowl, after taking Philadelphia to Super Bowl XXXIX, where the Eagles lost to the Patriots.Playing behind throughout the second half, Tennessee was unable to untrack Derrick Henry, who had at least 182 yards in each of the three previous games, all road wins against AFC division champs.Henry finished with 69 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill added 209 yards passing, going 21 of 31 with two touchdowns. A 22-yard TD pass to Anthony Firkser with 4:18 remaining cut the lead to 35-24, but Tannehill was sacked on fourth down to end the Titans' last possession.
Film Study: Super Bowl LIV's biggest question
Sunday's conference championship games couldn't have delivered a better matchup for Super Bowl LIV: the Kansas City Chiefs vs. the San Francisco 49ers.The league's best quarterback -- both in the pocket and as an off-schedule playmaker -- will face a terrifying defense sporting the league's best pass rush.And the NFL's best ground game faces a defense that struggles stopping the run but has improved significantly down the stretch.Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan has been on fire with his run-game designs through two playoff games, but his battle with Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will take a back seat. That's because the main event is Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid against 49ers coordinator Robert Saleh and his outstanding defense.The 49ers are certainly sharp in coverage, but their pass rush makes them special. Given Mahomes' deadliness both in and out of the pocket, that frames the Super Bowl's biggest question: Can San Francisco pressure Mahomes while also containing him in the pocket?The Tennessee Titans proved unable to do either in Sunday's AFC Championship Game.The Chiefs' offensive line was outstanding in protection, and Mahomes moved beautifully in the pocket. Both aspects were on display on Kansas City's first third down, when the line picked up a five-man rush and passed off a stunt while Mahomes slid to maximize his room to throw. Travis Kelce couldn't quite squeeze it for the conversion.Tennessee had occasional success penetrating on the interior, as Jeffery Simmons beat center Austin Reiter badly on one snap, and DaQuan Jones whipped right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif once or twice. But the Chiefs' O-line was otherwise very sharp.The Titans' most effective pressure came from late, disguised blitzes, mostly off the slot. One late rotation to show a blitz even caused Reiter to give an early snap, which Mahomes initially fumbled. But those moments were rare.Aside from sporadic blitzes, head coach Mike Vrabel and coordinator Dean Pees aimed merely to contain Mahomes, repeatedly using three-man rushes, with a fourth -- usually a linebacker or edge rusher -- spying and rushing once Mahomes left the pocket. The three rushers often stunted, but Kansas City's line handled them with ease.The result was at least a dozen snaps where Mahomes had all day, often without scrambling. The spy never really factored, either, usually arriving late after Mahomes rolled out and fired. Mahomes escaped several times anyway, including on his dazzling 27-yard touchdown run.Other than that run, the three-man rush tactic surprisingly didn't burn the Titans most of the game, but the dam broke eventually. Sammy Watkins' 60-yard touchdown came after Mahomes had five seconds against a three-man rush on third-and-6, with spy Derick Roberson arriving too late to disrupt the throw.The 41-yard pass interference penalty drawn by Mecole Hardman on third-and-10 the next drive was practically a carbon copy.Tennessee simply gave Mahomes too much time too often. That's not to criticize the Titans' plan -- the Chiefs' offense provides very few appealing ways to defend.But the 49ers' pass rush allows them perhaps the most appealing option: To rush four (and occasionally more) and hope to pressure AND contain Mahomes.San Francisco did just that to Mahomes' closest stylistic comparison, Aaron Rodgers, twice this year.The 49ers didn't hound the Green Bay Packers quarterback as often in Sunday's NFC Championship Game (three sacks, only two hits) as in Week 12's rout (five sacks, 10 hits), largely because of the Packers' plan. Head coach Matt LaFleur and Rodgers emphasized quicker distribution Sunday, limiting the Niners' chances.Nick Bosa & Co. still worked their way into Rodgers' face often, and yet rarely let him out of the pocket. That's extremely hard to do, but the 49ers excel at it.
Chiefs' Fisher fined for beer splash, but party goes on
Hours after Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Fisher was fined more than $14,000 for his beer-sloshing touchdown celebration during a playoff win over the Houston Texans, the maker of the brew pledged Saturday to contribute that amount to a charity of Fisher's choosing.Early in the fourth quarter last Sunday, after the Chiefs scored a touchdown on a pass to Blake Bell, his first score of the season, Fisher joined Bell near the seats in the back of the end zone. His celebration included grabbing fans' cans of Bud Light and pouring the contents over his helmet, a la Stone Cold Steve Austin.The touchdown gave the Chiefs a commanding 48-31 lead, and they went on to beat the Texans 51-31 and advance to Sunday's AFC Championship Game, when they will host the Tennessee Titans."I ran over there to celebrate with Blake, and I don't know why but my eyes were just drawn to them," Fisher told members of the media, referring to the fans' beer cans. "And I was like, 'OK, I gotta pick these up,' and then I was like, 'What do I do?'"Budweiser tweeted an image of a check made out to "Charity of Eric Fisher's Choice" in the amount of $14,037.
Chiefs' Jones, Titans' Humphries active for AFC title game
Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones will suit up in Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the visiting Tennessee Titans.Jones was not named among the inactive players released prior to game time. He has been nursing a calf injury that kept him out of the Chiefs' 51-31 victory over the Houston Texans in last weekend's AFC divisional-round game in Kansas City.The 25-year-old Jones, who led the Chiefs with nine sacks this season, has recorded 31 over the past three campaigns.Jones had 34 tackles in the regular season and would also serve as an anchor to the run defense against Derrick Henry. The Titans' powerful running back has rushed for 377 yards on 64 carries in two playoff wins.Running back LeSean McCoy, quarterback Matt Moore, cornerback Morris Claiborne, linebacker Darron Lee and offensive linemen Ryan Hunter, Jackson Barton and Andrew Wylie were all listed as inactive for Kansas City.
Chiefs DT Jones, RB McCoy questionable for Titans
Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones and running back LeSean McCoy on Friday were listed as questionable for Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the visiting Tennessee Titans.Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who like Jones and McCoy were limited in Friday practice, was given no official injury-report designation for the game but coach Andy Reid previously said he expects Kelce to play.Jones suffered a calf injury that kept him out of last week's divisional-round victory over the Houston Texans."We'll see. I want to see how he feels (Saturday)," Reid said Friday of Jones. "We'll just go from there. We talk about day by day, this one is day to day."McCoy and backup quarterback Matt Moore were listed as questionable as both have dealt with illnesses this week.Kelce was limited in all three practices last week before catching 10 passes for 134 yards and three touchdowns against Houston.
Titans aim to keep run going against Chiefs in AFC title game
Make whatever you want out of Andy Reid's postseason record.The Kansas City coach may have another reason to stray from typical tactics Sunday when the Chiefs play host to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game."Our players, some of them, have won more games against (the Titans) than I have. I'm going to bank on them," Reid said.Reid was presumably kidding, though he is 1-8 all-time in games he has directed against Tennessee.Then, too, there's his 3-5 postseason record for the Chiefs. Counting appearances with Philadelphia, he is 1-5 in conference championship games. Also, Kansas City is 0-2 all-time in the AFC Championship Game. It made two Super Bowl appearances representing the AFL and won it all 50 years ago.Ahh, but one distinct weapon Reid and the remainder of the organization banks on could help overcome any negative history. His name is Patrick Mahomes.In the divisional round, the reigning MVP engineered the first playoff comeback in which a team rallied from a 20-plus point deficit to win by 20 as Kansas City ousted the Houston Texans 51-31. Mahomes became the first NFL player to pass for 300-plus yards, rush for 50-plus yards and throw for five touchdowns in a playoff game.And yet the Chiefs quarterback takes every opportunity to credit others, including Reid, who is bidding to become the seventh coach to take two franchises to Super Bowls."He's going to dial up the plays where you can take your shots," Mahomes said.Although tight end Travis Kelce rates as his most frequent target and speedy wideout Tyreek Hill as his most dangerous, Mahomes can spread the ball to numerous teammates. And when those options aren't available, he becomes a threat to cover open space with his feet."I feel like nobody in the NFL can guard any of us," Hill said. "Man-to-man is just easy for us to beat, and if you just allow us to run through zones, it's even easier."Though seeded sixth, the Titans seem up for the challenge.They can secure the AFC title by defeating a fourth straight division champion on the road in as many weeks after winning at Houston to end the regular season, then at New England and at Baltimore in the postseason.
Chiefs DE Jones (calf) not expected to practice
Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones was not expected to practice on Thursday as he nurses a calf injury, coach Andy Reid said.Jones sat out Kansas City's 51-31 victory over the Houston Texans last weekend. His availability is uncertain heading Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the visiting Tennessee Titans."He's getting better, but he's not ready yet," Reid told reporters Thursday.Jones led the Chiefs with nine sacks and has recorded 31 over the past three seasons.
Chiefs DE Jones day-to-day with calf injury
Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones, who missed Sunday's AFC divisional playoff win against the Houston Texans due to a calf injury, is considered day-to-day, coach Andy Reid said Monday.Reid said the Chiefs are otherwise "pretty healthy" going into Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Tennessee Titans.Jones leads the Chiefs with nine sacks and has recorded 31 over the past three seasons. Jones (6-6, 310 pounds) had 36 tackles in the regular season and would also serve as an anchor to the run defense against the Titans' powerful Derrick Henry, who has rushed for 377 yards on 64 carries in two playoff wins.
Chiefs roar back from 24-0 down to rout Texans
Patrick Mahomes rallied Kansas City from an early 24-point deficit Sunday, passing for 321 yards and five touchdowns as the Chiefs outraced the Houston Texans 51-31 in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs at Kansas City, Mo.Kansas City moves on to host the AFC Championship Game for the second straight year -- after never before doing so -- and will face the sixth-seeded Tennessee Titans.In claiming their seventh straight victory, the second-seeded Chiefs scored 41 unanswered points bridging halftime, with 28 points in the second quarter. They generated 434 yards, and the Texas posted 442.Kansas City scored touchdowns on seven straight possessions, an NFL postseason record, after Houston bolted to a 24-0 lead barely 19 minutes into the game.Tight end Travis Kelce led the Chiefs with 10 receptions for 134 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Damien Williams also scored three touchdowns, two off short rushes.Houston's Deshaun Watson countered with 388 yards and two touchdowns passing, but the Texans fell to 0-4 all-time in the divisional round. DeAndre Hopkins snagged nine receptions for 118 yards.Mahomes generated a 28-point second quarter with four TD passes to give Kansas City a 28-24 halftime margin, marking the highest-scoring first half in NFL postseason history.
Chiefs sack leader Jones out vs. Texans
Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones will miss Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game against the Houston Texans due to a calf injury.Jones leads the Chiefs with nine sacks and has recorded 31 over the past three seasons.Jones was listed as questionable on the injury report. He reportedly worked out on the field Sunday before it was determined he wasn't healthy enough to play.Star tight end Travis Kelce (knee) is active for the Chiefs. He was listed as questionable.Kelce led Kansas City with 97 receptions for 1,229 yards and also caught five touchdown passes.
Mahomes, Chiefs with major aspirations as Texans visit
Patrick Mahomes walked off the field following a loss in the AFC Championship Game last season, and season-ending memories from college and high school crossed his mind.Mahomes had just finished his first season as an NFL starting quarterback destined to become the league's MVP and capable of taking Kansas City to heights it last experienced a half-century ago, when the Chiefs were winners of Super Bowl IV.His next thought? Get back to the postseason and cross the highest threshold."When you're that close, you want to make sure you give yourself an opportunity to get back," Mahomes said. "We've done that this year. We're in the playoffs. We understand we're still far away from our ultimate goal."That process begins Sunday in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs when the Chiefs, coming off a first-round bye, play host to the Houston Texans, a 22-19 overtime winner over Buffalo in the wild-card round.The Chiefs are the only team remaining in the playoffs that reached the divisional round a year ago. They advanced as AFC West champion for the fourth consecutive season, but only after Mahomes overcame injuries to lead a once-battered team to six straight victories."I loved it," gushed Kansas City coach Andy Reid, "because the second year (starting) is a tough year for quarterbacks -- a tough, tough year."These guys have great minds in the National Football League who are coaching the defensive side of the ball. They've had a whole offseason to study and they're going to come back with their absolute best against you, and he answered it."Mahomes' numbers are not as sparkly as last season, but he's more tested after overcoming a tender ankle, bruised hand and, most critically, a dislocated kneecap that kept him out just two games."He didn't flinch," Reid said. "He kept the same attitude, the same work ethic, and he went after it. He had a major injury that he pushed through."Other Chiefs who battled injuries included an assortment of running backs, as well as Mahomes' blind-side tackle (Eric Fisher) and swiftest receiver (Tyreek Hill). The offense still ranked second in the NFL with a 6.22-yard average per play.Defensively, tackle Chris Jones and end Frank Clark overcame injuries, safety Tyrann Mathieu asserted leadership and first-year coordinator Steve Spagnuolo shaped the group into a fierce unit that is allowing 11.5 points on average during its six-game streak.
Giants interview Chiefs' Bieniemy for head coach opening
The New York Giants interviewed Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy for their vacant head coaching position on Saturday morning.Bieniemy, 50, met with team president John Mara, general manager Dave Gettleman and vice president of football operations Kevin Abrams in Kansas City.He is the third candidate interviewed since New York dismissed Pat Shurmur on Monday, joining former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and Dallas Cowboys defensive passing game coordinator Kris Richard.Bieniemy has worked on coach Andy Reid's Kansas City staff for seven seasons, the last two as offensive coordinator, although Reid calls the plays.The Chiefs' offense led the league in points (31.5) and yards (425.6) per game in 2018 and finished fifth (28.2) and sixth (379.2) in 2019.Kansas City (12-4) hosts an AFC divisional playoff game on Jan. 12.
Chiefs rookie S Thornhill (torn ACL) out for playoffs
Kansas City Chiefs rookie safety Juan Thornhill sustained a torn ACL in the team's regular-season finale, coach Andy Reid confirmed on Monday.Thronhill was injured in a non-contact situation during the first half of Kansas City's 31-21 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.Thornhill, 24, recorded 57 tackles, three interceptions and a touchdown while starting all 16 games this season since being selected by Kansas City in the second round of the April draft.
Chiefs handle Chargers, claim first-round bye
Running back Damien Williams rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries Sunday as the Kansas City Chiefs won their sixth straight, downing the Los Angeles Chargers 31-21 at Kansas City, Mo.The Chiefs (12-4), who also relied on 174 yards passing from quarterback Patrick Mahomes, head to the AFC playoffs with a first-round bye as the No. 2 seed after Miami upset New England 27-24 and dropped the Patriots to the No. 3 seed.On three of just five touches by the Chiefs in the third quarter, Mahomes threw an interception that the Chargers (5-11) converted into a touchdown, Mecole Hardman returned a kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown, and Williams scored on an 84-yard rush.The frantic exchanges left Kansas City with a 24-14 lead.Los Angeles quarterback Philip Rivers responded by engineering an 86-yard drive capped with an 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Hunter Henry.That made it 24-21 with 5:23 left, but Kansas City answered with a 77-yard march that Williams finished with a 7-yard scoring burst. The Chiefs swept their AFC West opponents and have won 28 of their last 31 against division rivals.The 224th consecutive start for Rivers could have been the veteran quarterback's last game for Los Angeles. He becomes an unrestricted free agent in March, after going 31 of 46 for 281 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
With defense surging, Chiefs set for Chargers in finale
Pardon Patrick Mahomes if he seems to be a novice at explaining the effects of strong defensive play.The Kansas City quarterback has seldom recognized such support. The defense was the weak link last season, when the Chiefs reached the AFC Championship Game largely because of Mahomes and his offensive threats. When he played for Texas Tech, the numbers Mahomes put up -- including a record 819 total yards and 734 passing yards in an, ahem, loss -- routinely failed to overcome a shoddy defense.However, as the Chiefs (11-4) ride a five-game win streak entering a home game Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers (5-10), the defense has been key. The unit has allowed 9.6 points on average and four total touchdowns during that stretch , including no TDs in the last nine quarters."We understand that if we can go out there and put up some points,'' Mahomes said, "then they're going to hold the lead for us, and we're going to find a way to get a win."Mahomes' quick-strike capability enables Kansas City to gamble defensively with different blitzes and coverages that first-year coordinator has Steve Spagnuolo introduced."You could see the want-to early (this season),'' Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said of the defense. "The positive thinking and the want to do the right things, you saw that right away.''Newcomers such as safety Tyrann Mathieu, defensive end Frank Clark and linebacker Terrell Suggs, whom the Chiefs claimed off waivers just last week, bought in immediately and provided leadership. Mathieu was especially helpful improving an aggressive secondary.Meanwhile, Mahomes overcame ankle, knee and hand injuries. After missing two games, he has engineered a team as hot as any except the Baltimore Ravens (11 straight wins), who are assured the top seed in the AFC playoffs.The Chiefs, who clinched the AFC West title in a Dec. 8 win at New England, sit No. 3 in the conference and will play their starters Sunday. They must beat the Chargers and hope for an improbable Miami upset at New England to overtake the Patriots for the No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye.
Reports: Chiefs' RB Ware to IR; DT Williams activated
The Kansas City Chiefs placed running back Spencer Ware on injured reserve on Wednesday, ending his short stint with the team this season, according to multiple reports.The Chiefs also activated defensive tackle Xavier Williams off injured reserve. Williams, expected to add depth, had eight tackles and a forced fumble in five games before sustaining an ankle injury. Williams, 27, made 47 tackles last season, his first in Kansas City after three years with the Arizona Cardinals.Ware was signed three weeks ago as the team placed running back Darrel Williams on IR with a hamstring injury. Ware ran 17 times for 51 yards in three games before sustaining a shoulder injury.It was the 28-year-old's only action this season after the Indianapolis Colts put him on the reserve/physically unable to perform list in early August as he was recovering from ankle surgery.