The Kansas City Chiefs squeaked out a 27-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Divisional Round game on Sunday night at Highmark Stadium. Kansas City continue to be Buffalo’s kryptonite, as it’s the third time in the last four seasons that the Chiefs have beat the Bills in the postseason.
Kansas City will meet the No. 1 seed Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game next Sunday at 3 p.m. It’s the first time in franchise history that the Ravens will host an AFC Championship. The Ravens last appearance in the AFC Championship was in 2012, while it will be Kansas City’s sixth straight appearance in the title game.
The Chiefs-Bills game was everything you expected it to be. Two high-octane offenses and elite quarterback play. Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes displayed why they’re two of the best quarterbacks in the league.
The margin of error is very small when playing Kansas City, and Buffalo just had too many mishaps down the stretch. Kansas City has never lost in the divisional round since Mahomes took over as starter in 2018. Mahomes also won his first road start in the playoffs (not counting Super Bowls), and improved his postseason record to 13-3.
Mahomes was nearly flawless, completing 17 of 23 passes (73.9%) for 215 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 131.6. He averaged a whopping 9.3 yards per pass attempt. Allen completed 26 of 39 passes (66.7%) for 186 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 86.1. Allen also led the Bills in rushing with 72 yards on 12 carries (6.0 average) and two touchdowns.
After trading field goals in the first quarter, Allen capped a 11-play, 75-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run to give Buffalo a 10-3 lead at the 13:32 mark of the second quarter. Mahomes answered with a promising drive but it stalled at the 11-yard line, and Kansas City settled for a Harrison Butker 29-yard field goal.
On the Chiefs’ ensuing possession, Mahomes connected to Travis Kelce for a 22-yard touchdown to put Kansas City up 13-10. It took the Chiefs just five plays to travel 65 yards down the field, taking 2:34 off the clock. The Bills responded with a 12-play, 75-yard drive that got capped by a 2-yard Allen touchdown run to go into halftime with a 17-13 advantage.
The back-and-fourth pace continued in the second half, as Mahomes found Kelce for a 3-yard touchdown to open the second half. The Bills then had a long methodical drive that was finished off with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Allen to Khalil Shakir. Allen scrambled to his left and threw a bullet to Shakir, who displayed an impressive toe-tapping catch for the score. The Chiefs retook the lead with a 4-yard rushing touchdown by Isiah Pacheco on the ensuing drive. It was the fifth lead change in the game.
The Chiefs forced a three-and-out after a combined five consecutive touchdown drives in the game. The Bills then ran a fake punt with Damar Hamlin that got sniffed out by the Chiefs. Kansas City had only 10 players on the field. The critical turnover on downs did not hurt the Bills, however, as Mecole Hardman fumbled the ball out of bounds in the end zone for a touchback two plays later.
After trading punts, Allen led the Bills down the field to set up a game-tying Tyler Bass 44-yard field goal, but the kick went wide right. Bringing flashbacks to Super Bowl XXV for Buffalo fans. Pacheco picked up eight yards on first down and then iced the game with a 3-yard run on second-and-2.