SPORTS

Kansas City won, Cleveland lost, and you should’ve bet the stereotypes

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Coming into Wild-Card Weekend, there were different narratives about the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns than usual. Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid spent the second half of the season trying to convince us that something was off — then Kansas City rolled Miami, 26-7. The other game featured a Browns squad that’s been so freaking good that it hasn’t mattered who was under center, or how many times they turned it over. Joe Flacco threw back-to-back pick sixes, and Houston won 45-14.

Why? Why do we do this? Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL, and the team with the best QB usually wins so f*ck me. I thought, hey, the Dolphins had the better ground attack all season, it’s -23 at Arrowhead, and the entire gambling public knows the stat about Miami in cold weather. Maybe it’s time to zag?

Miami running backs carried the ball 14 times for 42 yards. Meanwhile, Isaiah Pacheco and Clyde Edwards-Helaire combined for 110 yards on 31 touches, and Kansas City was the more physical team. It’s not surprising, which is why the weekly overreactions in the regular season are pointless to heed.

Roll out of bed, pick Mahomes, and go back to sleep.

The nickname for Browns Stadium is literally the Factory of Sadness — and they weren’t even playing at home. It wasn’t that I trusted Flacco; it was more that the Browns were winning despite him. Cleveland’s two main objectives were: Fluster rookie QB CJ Stroud and don’t turn the ball over.

Neither happened, the Browns reverted to pumpkins, and the entire Baltimore Ravens’ fan base had a good laugh at Flacco’s expense. Stroud was unflappable, becoming the youngest starting quarterback to win a playoff game that just happened to be his first playoff game. He finished 16 of 21 for 274 yards and three TDs. He was 1.1 points shy of becoming the fifth player ever to record a perfect passer rating in the postseason.

The Browns gave up 333 fewer total yards than the second best defense, and were tied for first in opponent yards per play at 4.6 this season. The Texans averaged 8.1 yards per snap, and that’s with Davis Mills in relief for the final two three-and-outs, the second of which was all kneel downs.

There’s not much else to say about Saturday’s slate unless you signed up for Peacock to watch the Dolphins go 1-12 on third down. Normally if I want something to induce me into a nap, I’d turn on a James Bond movie.

A note on NBC putting Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift behind a paywall

Credit karma for NBC-Universal’s kickoff to the playoffs beginning with two games that saw the victors outscore their opponents 71-21. Thought you were slick putting Cris Collinsworth, Mike Tirico, and the primetime game on a streaming service, didn’t ya? Then NBC had the audacity to tell the audience to tune to “witness history.”

The first playoff game played behind a paywall is not the kind of history I want to witness. That’s like congratulating the first person to spend $20 on a pack of smokes, or pay $10 for a banana. They, too, were historic — historically a schmuck.

Don’t worry. In case you missed it, Kelce had seven grabs for 71 yards, and T-Swift had the entire suite doing a coordinated dance number. God I can’t wait for Swift to finish retroactively living out the high school experience she always wanted.

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