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Chiefs defeat Steelers to officially clinch 2021 playoff berth

A home victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers has crowned the Kansas City Chiefs as victors of the AFC West.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs officially clinched the AFC West in Week 16 with a 36-10 victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers. They got off to a big lead early halftime up 23-0, capitalizing on the Steelers' lack of offensive spark paired with an absolutely broken defense. Their victory over the Steelers marked their eighth straight win.

How the Chiefs got here

It may seem like forever ago, but there was a time in the 2021 season where there were folks questioning whether or not we’d actually see the Chiefs in the post-season. After starting off the season with plenty of speculation that they were suffering from a nagging “super bowl hangover”. Their losses have come against the Ravens, Chargers and Titans, who each could find themselves in line for a run in the postseason, though none of them have officially clinched.

Through 15 weeks, Mahomes has had some ups and downs, having thrown for a career-high 13 interceptions, though he still manages his signature splash plays on the regular. WR Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce continue to be offensive powerhouses, having combined for 187 receptions, 2,263 yards and 16 touchdowns on the season.

Perhaps the most integral part of their eight-game win streak has been the defense. Since Week 8, the Chiefs have averaged just 10.8 points allowed to opposing teams, the second-fewest among NFL teams while leading the league with 16 turnovers in that span. Week 16 marked their 10th-straight game with an interception, helping alleviate some pressure on Mahomes.