Chiefs’ defense holds Seahawks down in 24-10 victory in Week 16 Christmas Eve victory

Two teams met on Christmas Eve in Kansas City — each hoping to begin a three-game winning streak to close the season. But during a very cold day on GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, the Kansas City Chiefs walked away with a 24-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks to extend their record to 12-3 and stay in the hunt for the AFC’s No. 1 seed.

The two defensive units took turns dominating the opposing offense, but the Chiefs still managed to generate enough offense to take a 17-3 lead into halftime. Neither team could manage another score until the fourth quarter, when the Chiefs took a 24-3 lead with just under five minutes remaining. The Seahawks managed another touchdown to make it 24-10 — but that was it.

First quarter

Seattle won the opening coin toss, deferring their choice of possession to the second half. That would give Kansas City the ball first, starting at the 29-yard line after a return by rookie running back Isiah Pacheco.

A quick pass to tight end Noah Gray got the ball rolling on the Chiefs’ first possession, gaining eight yards — but followed that up with two straight incompletions. On third down, a quick screen to wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster was low and fell to the ground. A three and out led to a punt.

Seattle’s offense appeared to dig themselves out of the field-position hole quickly with a big run — but wide receiver DK Metcalf negated the play by drawing a holding penalty. Two stops followed, highlighted with tackles by linebackers Nick Bolton, Willie Gay Jr., and cornerback Joshua Williams. On third down, Metcalf found space — but Bolton stopped him before he could move the chains. Seattle punted back to the Chiefs.

After ignoring the ground game on the opening drive, the Chiefs came out with three handoffs to Pacheco — who took them and gained 17 yards to help earn two first downs. On the following play, running back Jerick McKinnon made his first play of the day — catching a downfield pass and gaining 16 yards. The red-zone trip was finished off by wide receiver Kadarius Toney, who took a tap pass in for a score from eight yards out. The extra point made the score 7-0.

Seattle got set up with great field position after a kickoff return on their next drive, but the first two plays of their possession were stuffed runs — a continued theme early in this game for the Chiefs’ defense. On third down, a blitz from rookie safety Bryan Cook forced a completion short of the first-down marker by three yards.

Seattle elected to go for it, but the pass attempt was batted down by rookie defensive end George Karlaftis. His seventh batted-down pass of the year put him back into a tie for first place in the league — but also turned the ball over in a crucial spot during this game.

Trying to take advantage of the turnover, the Chiefs were aggressive — attempting a deep pass to a covered wide receiver Justin Watson in the end zone; it fell to the ground. A few snaps later, wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling failed to get two feet in bounds on a throw to the sideline — which forced Kansas City to settle for a punt.

The Chiefs’ defense continued to hold Seattle down, forcing two incompletions after a short run on first down. The third-down play ended when defensive end Carlos Dunlap got free and chased Smith towards his own end zone; he eventually threw it away, setting up another punt.

Kansas City’s offense once again failed to get anything going on their next drive; a third and 3 was not converted when a pass to Watson was dropped. The quick drive ended in a punt.

Second quarter

The Chiefs’ defense began their fourth possession still without allowing a first down for the game — and that continued with this drive. Two stuffed runs led to a third and long — where Karlaftis came flying around the right corner and collapsed on Smith, who came up injured on the play. The Seahawks were forced to punt for the third time.

A quick screen to McKinnon was followed by a quick completion to Kelce to get things rolling for Kansas City. A few plays later, they faced third and 5 — when a beautifully-placed throw landed in the bread basket to Kelce running away from his man-coverage defender. Inside the 10-yard line now, McKinnon finished the possession off — taking a quick pass and barreling over defenders to get over the line. It gave the Chiefs a 14-0 advantage.

The Seahawks started their fifth drive by earning their first first down of the game, converting a third and 1. An incompletion and a tackle for loss followed that conversion, setting up third and 11. Seattle tried a running-back screen, but Bolton and defensive end Mike Danna finished a swarming defensive snap with a tackle. It led to another punt by the Seahawks.

Pacheco took over to begin the next possession, gaining six yards on a carry — then taking a screen pass for a 32-yard gain. In Seattle territory, the Chiefs ran into third down; a crossing pattern to Toney was thrown behind the receiver, and Kansas City settled for a field goal to take a 17-0 lead.

The Chiefs’ defense continued its stifling ways on Seattle’s attempt at a two-minute drill, quickly getting them into third and 8 when the two-minute warning hit.

Things flipped out of the break, as a holding penalty on Joshua Williams gave Seattle a first down — negating a sack by Mike Danna. Two plays later, Metcalf found space past cornerback L’Jarius Sneed and caught a deep pass to gain 35 yards. That put life into the Seahawks, who advanced further towards the end zone on another Williams penalty.

With time running out, safety Juan Thornhill came up with an end-zone interception — but a flag on Sneed took it away. Seattle had two shots at the end zone with less than 10 seconds to go, and failed to score on either of them. At last, the Seahawks kicked a field goal — settling for a 17-3 deficit at halftime.

Third quarter

Seattle started with the ball, quickly getting into third and 6 after starting at the 25-yard line. Smith stepped up in an open pocket, but a low throw over the middle fell incomplete — which bailed out cornerback Trent McDuffie trailing in coverage. They had to settle for a punt.

Kansas City’s first drive of the second half started with an opportunity for a big play — but Watson dropped the pass for the second time in the game. That preceded a third and 3, where a scrambling Mahomes was unable to hook up with Kelce; former Las Vegas Raiders’ safety Jonathan Abram broke up the potential conversion, and forced a punt.

Kenneth Walker III started to get Seattle rolling, rattling off two runs that moved the chains and gained 31 yards overall. That was followed by three good plays by the defense, leading to a fourth and short; however, Seattle went for it and got it with a quarterback sneak.

Willie Gay started the new set of downs with a tackle for loss, followed by a run stuff that set up third and long. When Seattle gained six yards, they elected to go for it — and rookie safety Bryan Cook made them regret it. He flew to tackle a pass in the flat, turning the ball over on downs.

Kansas City looked to add to their score, starting by moving the chains with a 13-yard gain by wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster. However, two negative plays — one being a sack — led to a third and long that could not be converted. The Chiefs were forced to punt.

The Seahawks’ offense found space on their next drive, gaining a big chunk on the ground from Walker before Smith found his tight end over the middle, beating Bolton for a chain-moving play. The defense stepped up from there; Clark made a tackle for loss, then rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson corralled Walker in the backfield on third down. It led to the fourth quarter.

Fourth quarter

On fourth and 8, Seattle attempted a pass short of the sticks in front of cornerback Trent McDuffie; the first-round pick made sure the line to gain was not reached, and gave the Chiefs the ball back.

With the Chiefs’ defense holding it down, the offense continued to stay flat — going three and out for the fourth time in the game; the broadcast noted it as a season high for the Chiefs. They punted away, still leading 17-3.

From their own 45-yard line, Seattle ran three straight times — moving the chains, then getting wrecked behind the line for a five-yard loss. However, the Seahawks recovered — moving the chains on third and 10 with a completion to Metcalf at the marker. Deep in Chiefs’ territory, defensive tackle Chris Jones blew up a run play — which set up Smith to be intercepted on an attempt to the end zone by Thornhill. The defense gave their offense the ball back with under eight minutes to go.

With a chance to ice the game, the Chiefs’ offense got going with a play-action complete to Kelce over the middle — who gained 20 yards; on the next play, he found even more space and took an accurate pass 52 yards down to the Seattle eight-yard line. The big plays were followed up by two short runs, setting up third and goal.

Mahomes magic happened from there. As the quarterback scrambled right, he got enough of the edge on a defender — stretching and leaping to tap the pylon for a touchdown. The MVP statement felt like the nail in the coffin, putting the Chiefs up 24-3 with over four minutes to go.

In Seattle’s attempt at a last-minute comeback, they gained ground with a 39-yard completion that took advantage of Sneed in coverage. Deep in Chiefs’ territory, the defense forced two incompletions to get into fourth and 8 — including one that was batted in the air by Gay and nearly picked by Bolton. In their attempt to convert, Smith found wide receiver Laquon Treadwell — who had space away from Williams, who slipped in coverage.

Seattle scored on the next play, tightening the score to 24-10 with two and a half minutes to go. The Chiefs recovered the attempt at an onside kick.

The Chiefs failed to move the chains, and actually failed to convert on fourth down to completely put the game away. It gave the Seahawks the ball with under a minute left — but Chris Jones eventually put their last-second attempt to rest, sacking Smith to end the game. Chiefs win 24-10.


Defensive end Carlos Dunlap stayed down after a play in the fourth quarter, holding his left arm as he walked off the field.

Special Teams

Kicker Harrison Butker converted his first point-after attempt in the first quarter, then hit his second attempt in the second quarter. On his first field-goal try late in the first half, he converted a 47-yard attempt. Butker made the fourth-quarter extra-point attempt as well.

Punter Tommy Townsend’s first punt traveled 56 yards, landing inside the 10-yard line. On his second, he failed to take advantage of a short field — shanking a punt that landed at Seattle’s 20-yard line. His third punt landed at the Seattle 16-yard line. Among his next two punts, one of them landed inside the 20-yard line.

Punt returner Kadarius Toney returned a punt for nine yards in the first quarter. He had another nine-yard return later in the game.

Kick returner Isiah Pacheco returned the opening kickoff 19 yards to the 29-yard line.

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