Consider all that can go wrong on a football field, all that could have gone wrong for Kansas City late Sunday night, with the Chiefs trying to score the go-ahead touchdown and the Las Vegas Raiders seeking to stop them.
Penalties, mental lapses, drops, imprecise routes. The ball could sail just high or wide, grazing off a receiver’s fingertips. It could be caught a centimeter out of bounds, or intercepted a centimeter in bounds. All sorts of wacky stuff.
Until recently the Chiefs, with a grisly history of postseason malfunctions, knew wacky stuff. But when they took possession Sunday with 1 minute 43 seconds remaining and 75 yards to the end zone, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire turned to a teammate and uttered the words that govern today’s N.F.L.: “We’ve got Patrick Mahomes. I’m not worried about anything.”