KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Christmas came a day early for Kansas City Chiefs fans, and it was a pretty unique gift.
The Chiefs defeated the Miami Dolphins 29-13 on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, giving the team the AFC West title while marking the first time in franchise history the Chiefs won the division two years in a row.
“To win back to back, this is a pretty special moment,” Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “I’ve been here for 13 years.”
A division title looked like a pipe dream just a few weeks ago, but the Chiefs (9-6) have now won three in a row after losing four straight. The Chiefs began the season by winning their first five before sliding midseason.
However, the Chiefs are streaking again in the right direction thanks to a renewed run game and an improved defense, which has been led of late by cornerback Marcus Peters.
On Miami’s opening drive, Peters recovered a fumble that eventually led to a Harrison Butker field goal. Late in the third quarter, Peters forced a fumble near the Chiefs’ sideline that led to another field goal that put the Chiefs up 26-13 early in the fourth.
Peters, who was suspended for the Oakland game after picking up a referee’s flag off the field and throwing it against the Jets, had two interceptions last week against the Chargers and had two tackles and one pass breakup to go with his forced fumble and fumble recovery against the Dolphins (6-9).
“He’s always playing with fire,” Johnson said of Peters. “This whole year, it hasn’t always been pretty for him. He’s an emotional player, and there are pros and cons to that. But I tell you what, he’s one of the best players on our team, and he shows that every Sunday.”
Kareem Hunt rushed 29 times for 91 yards and a touchdown, and Alex Smith was 25-of-39 passing for 304 yards and one touchdown. Tyreek Hill had six catches for 109 yards and Travis Kelce had four catches for 47 yards and a touchdown, while Butker made five of six field goals.
With the division wrapped up, it’s possible Chiefs coach Andy Reid will rest his starters in the regular-season finale next Sunday at Denver. But Hunt is hoping to play.
“I’m looking forward to getting it rolling and getting back out there as soon as possible,” Hunt said. “I love playing football and that’s what I like to do in my spare time and now I’m trying to make it to the Super Bowl.”
So, too, is Reid, who dressed up as Santa Claus after the game. Reid has now guided the Chiefs to the playoffs in four of his five seasons at the helm. The team has won just one playoff game in that span so far, but he is hoping to change that when the Chiefs host a wild-card game in two weeks.
“We’re not done yet,” Reid said. “We’re not going to sit on this. We’re going to enjoy the holiday and we’ll get right back at it.”