Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce connect for record 16th playoff touchdown, passing Brady, Gronkowski

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Step aside Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are the new most prolific touchdown duo in NFL playoff history. With Kelce’s third-quarter score, the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback-tight end combo tallied their 16th career postseason touchdown connection.

The record-breaking touchdown came in the third quarter and was the Chiefs’ pair’s second score of the night. Kelce caught his first touchdown late in the second quarter to give Kansas City its first lead over the Buffalo Bills, then caught his second in the third quarter as the Chiefs regained their lead.

From 2010 to 2021, Brady and Gronkowski wrecked defenses to the tune of 15 postseason scores across their championship tenures with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a figure that surpassed the 12 touchdowns from Joe Montana and Jerry Rice for the San Francisco 49ers.

Brady and Gronkowski reached their record in 22 postseason games, while the Chiefs’ divisional-round contest on Sunday marked Kelce’s 16th postseason game with Mahomes.

Prior to the Mahomes era, Kelce caught one touchdown in the 2017 playoffs from Alex Smith, who would be supplanted by Mahomes the following season.

The record gives Kelce another notch in the greatest tight end of all time debate between the Chiefs legend and Gronkowski.

In 22 postseason games, Gronkowski tallied 1,389 yards and 15 touchdowns on 98 receptions. Through 19 postseason games entering Sunday, Kelce had 140 receptions for 1,619 yards and 16 touchdowns. Gronkowski, however, has the Super Bowl ring advantage, having won four to Kelce’s two.

The unstoppable bromance

Ever since they became a pair in 2018, Mahomes and Kelce have built a brotherhood and a bromance that has led them to almost always been connected regardless of what tactic they encounter from the opposing defense. When Mahomes scrambles out of the pocket to extend plays, he usually looks for Kelce, who is one of the most unique route runners in league history, a former quarterback in high school who understands how to get open as the play develops.

Combine their skills with the creative design of plays from coach Andy Reid, a future Hall of Famer, and Mahomes and Kelce have usually had the upper-hand when they are working together in concert. — Nate Taylor, Chiefs beat writer

Required reading

(Photo: Sarah Stier / Getty Images

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