Bills 12-21 Chiefs, end of 2nd quarter
Hardman runs it to the 30. Mahomes kneels and that’s the half. It was a doozy.
The Chiefs will start off the second half with the ball and the Bills will need to figure out exactly how to stop them. They have about 15 minutes for half time adjustment.
I’m getting some oranges.
FIELD GOAL! Bills 12-21 Chiefs, 0:11 2nd quarter
It’s a chip shot from Bass and it’s good. So that’s something, it kind of stops the bleeding, some.
Bills 9-21 Chiefs, 0:14 2nd quarter
Delay of game? Or did Bills head coach Sean McDermott call time?
It’s neither. The play clock was not set properly.
Let’s try this again. Allen, back to pass – he finds Knox, but he’s short of the goal line!
The Bills are kicking a field goal. I would go for it, but I’m chopped liver.
Bills 9-21 Chiefs, 0:21 2nd quarter
Big moment here for the Bills. Can they cash in? Allen rolls right and can’t find anyone – he throws it away but he’s out of bounds.
Or was he…
…if he ran it out it’s a six-yard loss if he threw it it’s incomplete and 3rd & goal at the four.
It’s an incomplete pass. That’s a huge ruling for the Bills.
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Bills 9-21 Chiefs, 0:28 2nd quarter
Allen is in the shotgun. He hands to Yeldon who stumbles to a first down!
1st & goal, the clock is ticking.
Yeldon again, this time for four yards.
Timeout Buffalo. Ball is on the KC eight.
Bills 9-21 Chiefs, 1:07 2nd quarter
Brown is streaking across the middle and now he has the ball – a brisk Allen pass is right into his chest. It’s 3rd & 2 on the 12.
Timeout Buffalo. They have two left.
Bills 9-21 Chiefs, 1:52 2nd quarter
The KC crowd are up trying to stop the Bills and the KC defense cooperates – an Allen bootleg results in an incomplete pass.
Bills 9-21 Chiefs, 2:00 2nd quarter
Allen, a great fake to the RB, and he runs right for another Bills first down. We’re at the 2:00 warning with the ball in the red zone.
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Bills 9-21 Chiefs, 3:06 2nd quarter
OK, this is serious – Allen and his offense have got to get something here, don’t they?
They start at the 25. Beasley has a catch, a spin, and a 14-yard gain. Nice.
Then Allen, working from the shotgun is incomplete looking for Yeldon. On second down it’s play action and a pass to Knox, who runs ahead for a second Bills first down. Some momentum here.
An injury on thee field stops play – it’s a KC player, looks like Ward, who is able to walk to the sideline.
Ball at the Buffalo 39.
TOUCHDOWN Bills 9-21 Chiefs, 4:11 2nd quarter
Helaire is in for the TD and the Chiefs rampage continues.
This is what happens when you miss an extra point.
Bills 9-14 Chiefs, 4:12 2nd quarter
The Bills defense are flummoxed, calling time after a Kelce catch takes them down to the Buffalo one-yard-line.
Bills 9-14 Chiefs, 4:33 2nd quarter
Helaire has it – a gain of four, setting up 3rd & 6 at the KC 37.
Now Mahomes has arms around him but gets it away to Kelce for another Chiefs first down! Gain of 11 to the 49.
But wait – there’s more. Mahomes fires under major pressure to Hill for 33 yards after a catch and run!
They’re at the Buffalo 18! They move fast!
Bills 9-14 Chiefs, 7:51 2nd quarter
Mahomes runs right, throws right towards Pringle, who can’t come up with it.
Then Mahomes runs right again – this time he finds Kelce, complete. First down.
They make it look easy. Ball on the KC 33.
Bills 9-14 Chiefs, 8:44 2nd quarter
Now It’s 3rd & 3…KC crowd are up – over 17000 of them.
Allen is back to pass – quick throw – it’s high on the far sideline – Diggs has no chance at that.
The Bills are three and out, again. The punt is to the 24, where KC will start and try to keep their machine moving.
Bills 9-14 Chiefs, 9:29 2nd quarter
The small crowd is making some decent noise as they smell blood. Allen in the shotgun, pumps and throws nearly into the hands of Ward, who by the way, plays for the Chiefs. Yikes.
Bills 9-14 Chiefs, 9:35 2nd quarter
If you’re wondering how Josh Allen and the Bills will respond to this sudden KC onslaught, two TD’s in under five minutes, well, you’re ion the right place.
Buffalo will start at their own 25 after a touchback.
TOUCHDOWN! Bills 9-14 Chiefs, 9:35 2nd quarter
Williams runs it in from six yards out and just like that, KC take their first lead of the game!
It’s a real test for Buffalo now: they desperately need a long drive to keep that ball out of KC’s hands.
Bills 9-7 Chiefs, 9:43 2nd quarter
Mahomes moves well in the pocket before firing complete to Kelce, again, over the middle! He’s inside the 10, first and goal KC, who have it all going now.
Bills 9-7 Chiefs, 11:08 2nd quarter
The Bills are three and out and here comes Mahomes and the KC offense.
Hardman on an end-around and he has SPACE! He’s off and running down the far side to the tune of 50 yards to the Buffalo 32! There’s that thin Buffalo run defense that has hurt them all season, back after a week off. What a fantastic play from KC.
Bills 9-7 Chiefs, 12:26 2nd quarter
Singletary is wide open but just drops it. That’s a real blunder – eesh.
So now it’s 3rd & a long 7 – KC are blitzing and Allen is backpedaling again. He throws it away before a chasing Mathieu can take him down!
And there’s a flag for intentional grounding, which pushes the Bills back further.
Bojorquez punts it and there’s a Bills bounce. KC start at their 18.
Bills 9-7 Chiefs, 13:09 2nd quarter
So Mahomes looks ok, eh? I would say so. We haven’t seen him take a real shot down field, but he’s running well and passing better.
How can Allen respond – he’s at the 25, and starts out with a short pass to Singletary, who came out of the backfield to make the reception. Call it about two yards.
Now Allen has Diggs, who was hit quite late, after the whistle – that’s Breeland, who will help Buffalo set up 15 yards further downfield. So now the Bills are at the 48, just like that.
Not smart from Breeland.
TOUCHDOWN! Bills 9-7 Chiefs, 14:16 2nd quarter
Redemption for Hardman – Mahomes finds the wideout on the far side and he runs into the end zone. KC go 80 yards in nearly seven minutes and are on the board.
Bills 9-0 Chiefs, 14:20 2nd quarter
Mahomes runs left and fires to Kelce but Johnson is there to break it up.
2nd & goal now…
Bills 9-0 Chiefs, end of 1st quarter
Here we go – Mahomes fakes the handoff, moves right and finds Williams for a first down. Terrific design and execution by KC.
Now Mahomes finds Hill for eight over the middle fir eight, down to the Buffalo six.
And that’s the quarter – a good one. The Bills stormed ahead to a lead but KC are on the brink, deep in the red zone.
Bills 9-0 Chiefs, 1:08 1st quarter
On 2nd & 11, Mahomes faces heat and throws incomplete setting up 3rd & long.
Mahomes is in the shotgun – he hits Pringle but Wallace makes a great tackle to prevent a first down!
What will KC do? Bring out the field go unit or go for it?
KC are going for it, but Andy Reid has to call for time as the play clock dwindles.
Bills 9-0 Chiefs, 2:05 1st quarter
Here’s Hill with his first reception – it comes over the middle as the Chiefs find a rhythm with three first downs on this current drive.
Now Mahomes pumps and throws to find Kelce for a fourth time – it’s a 16-yard catch to the Buffalo 32. Chiefs on a major move here.
Bills 9-0 Chiefs, 3:57 1st quarter
Kelce is active, making his presence known underneath (as he does). His third catch is for 11 yards to the KC 41.
Now he’s gunning for Kelce again, but this time the TE drops it. A rare unforced error there from the all-pro.
Bills 9-0 Chiefs, 4:58 1st quarter
So how will the startled Chiefs respond to an early deficit – well, history shows quite well, as they were down in three games during the playoffs last year and won all three. How about now?
Chiefs start at their 20. Mahomes is in the shotgun – he’s on the move, running right, fires and hits Kelce for about nine yards. Good start. Now Mahomes passes to Hardman, who muffed that punt – this time he has it: a short reception for a first down. Ball is on the KC 30.
Touchdown! Bills 9-0 Chiefs, 6:14 1st quarter
Allen is looking at Dawson who is running towards the sideline – he throws and connects with the tight end who is in for the touchdown!
The Bills have jumped on top early and have capitalized on the turnover, stunning the thinned covid crowd at Arrowhead.
Consolation prize for the Chiefs – Bass misses the extra point.
FUMBLE! Bills 3-0 Chiefs, 6:19 1st quarter
Hardman muffs the punt! The Bills recover – it’s Jones who comes up with the football at the KC 3! Huge opportunity now for Buffalo!
Bills 3-0 Chiefs, 6:40 1st quarter
There goes Allen – he steps up in the pocket and is off on an 18-yard scramble to the Buffalo 39!
But now Allen finds himself back – WAY BACK. KC pressure forces Allen into a major backpedal – Sneed has a big sack of 15 yards. Why didn’t he throw it away?
Now Buffalo have 3rd & a long long 23 yards. Allen is running again, up to about the 40 and the Bills will need to punt.
Bills 3-0 Chiefs, 9:13 1st quarter
Allen starts in the shotgun, drops back and fires over the middle to Driggs who cannot hang on after being hit by Tershawn Wharton.
On 2nd & 10, Singletary runs for seven up and now it’s 3rd & 3.
Bills 3-0 Chiefs, 9:58 1st quarter
Mahomes is looking for his main man Tyreek Hill – he floats it into his hands but he drops it! So the Bills survive their first test. The punt is down to the 15, where Buffalo will take over.
Bills 3-0 Chiefs, 10:13 1st quarter
Short kick – what’s up with that? Byron Pringle takes it up to the 35 after a 24-yard return.
A short pass to Kelce for a yard, then a run up the middle by Helaire. Now it’s 3rd & 4.
FIELD GOAL! Bills 3-0 Chiefs, 11:27 1st quarter
Kicking on natural grass, Bass makes it look easy and the Bills strike first. Now it’s all eyes on Patrick Mahomes.
Bills 0-0 Chiefs, 11:32 1st quarter
On 3rd & 3, Allen looks for Beasley down the near sideline and he’s nearly picked off. The drive stalls, here comes a 51-yard attempt from Tyler Bass.
Bills 0-0 Chiefs, 13:18 1st quarter
It’s 3rd & 7. CBS tells us Buffalo has the best third down offense in the league. Let’s see.
Allen faces pressure and whips it to Sorensen who makes the catch but is short of a fist down by a yard.
They’re going for it!
Allen – a quick flip to Dawson Knox the tight end and he’s rumbling down to the Chiefs 40. First down and a good driver to start for Buffalo!
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See, I wasn’t kidding. We’re off. The Bills have it at their 25 to start – a one-yard gain from Singletary is Buffalo’s first game from scrimmage. Then Allen hits Beasley who is streaking across the middle. That’s a gain of 17, and the Bills are moving and are at their 43.
The Bills are getting 3.5 points in Vegas but I don’t think they’ll need it. I do like what Buffalo did vs the run last week and with their pass defense already strong, they could have another good game against Mahomes as they did back in week six. Plus, Mahomes is coming off a concussion and does have that turf toe.
It’s an unpopular opinion, but I think Buffalo can figure out a way to pull this thing out and give Western New York a fifth Super Bowl appearance with a win at Arrowhead.
Final score: 27-23, and you can print it! (I just did).
Even though the result is in stone, we still have to go through the formality of playing the game.
The AFC Championship is nearly here. Please stand by.
The weather factor
These folks are used to the worst the weather gods can throw at them, but the Bills and Chiefs are catching something of a break tonight. KC will be about 37/3 degrees, reasonable for this time of year. There is however a chance of some rain, which could be fun. Kickoff coming soon.
Tom Brady is back in the Super Bowl – with a new team!
Does this mean that Brady wins the who is more important to the Patriots dynasty pub chat? That’s a piece for next week, but here’s another question: does this mean Brady has outdone what Joe Montana did with his new team 27 years ago. I know, it’s something of a strange question – stick with me.
The legendary Joe Montana, who won four Super Bowl rings with the 49ers, had made a similar, late career move, to the Kansas City Chiefs in 1993. In his first season at Arrowhead, Montana took KC all the way to the brink of the Super Bowl XXVIII, losing to, yes, the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship.
This past offseason, when all the rumors of Brady possibly leaving the Patriots were running rampant, Montana had this to say:
Don’t, if you don’t have to. It’s a process to go through, and it takes time to get used to the team…I just can’t see how they would let him leave there, myself.
Well, the Patriots did let Brady fly, and now the quarterback who must be considered the greatest of all-time has taken it a round further than Montana did with his new team.
Who will Brady face in SBLV, at the Bucs home venue, Raymond James Stadium? Kick off is coming – stay with us.
Battle of the Sauces!
If the Bills / Chiefs tilt isn’t enough for you, how about KC BBQ sauce v Buffalo wings sauce. It’s an enticing battle between spicy and vinegary vs the somewhat sweet and tangy rib topping condiment.
If you were seeking out a taste test in Buffalo last week, you might of run into a supply issue – that’s because Dash’s market removed all KC BBQ sauce from their shelves, for spite, and for charity. There was also the customary bet between local mayors.
Personally I’m a sucker for Buffalo wings, and now I’m hungry – send wings, please!
The last time
I mentioned that if not for a flukish loss to Arizona, Buffalo would be on a 12-game winning streak. That would make the Bills last loss to KC back in week six. In that matchup, it wasn’t Mahomes who lit up Buffalo, but rather, KC’s rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who ran through a banged up Bills line for 161 yards, with Mahomes chalking up a modest 225 yards. Josh Allen had what was arguably his worst day of the season, passing for just 122 yards as the Chiefs won 26-17. Of course, Allen has done a lot better since, and so has Mahomes who guided Kansas City to a 14-2 record. Below is a look at highlights of that game.
Oh, and did you know that the NFC Championship was also a week six re-match? Is that a coincidence, or perhaps something more…?
Welcome to our coverage of the AFC Championship. We’ve got quite the nightcap (morning? afternoon?) in store for you with the Buffalo Bills, who are attempting to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 1993, taking on the Kansas City Chiefs, current holders of the NFL’s most prized piece of metal.
The Chiefs drive for a dynasty nearly took a nasty turn against the Browns last week as they survived a late rally from Cleveland. They were saved not by heroics from their all-Galaxy quarterback Pat Mahomes, but rather, his replacement, Chad Henne. KC’s backup somehow found a way to razzle and dazzle his Chiefs to safety with a couple of timely and unlikely plays as the clock ticked down in Arrowhead.
The Chiefs survival means they’re still in the running for a second consecutive Super Bowl ring, a prospect that seems significantly more likely now that we know that Mahomes will be under center against Buffalo, a fact that was anything but assured until he passed through the concussion protocol late in the week.
And they’ll face the Bills, who if not for a hail Mary of a loss in Arizona, would be riding a 12-game winning streak into the AFC Championship. A lot of that winning comes courtesy of the rapidly evolving Josh Allen and his main battery mate, Stefon Diggs, also known as the best offseason pickup of the year.
Last week Buffalo transformed their porous run defense into a reasonably formidable unit, one that held the slippery Lamar Jackson to just 34 yards as the Bills saw off Baltimore in the Divisional round. Of course, against KC, the challenge will be upped several notches as they attempt to do something few defenses have done to KC in this era: slow down the juggernaut.
We’ve got a few apps for you before the main course comes out (don’t fill up) as we get set for kickoff. In the meantime, feel free to @me – or hit me up via email with all your thoughts and feelings, predictions and all that.
For now, I highly encourage you to also visit Hunter and his NFC Championship coverage of the Bucs and Packers.
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David will be here shortly. In the meantime here’s a preview of today’s game:
What the Bills need to do to win: The Chiefs can do so much damage, so quickly, through the air with the likes of Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill that encouraging them to go to the run game, perhaps by not packing the box, is one option. Josh Allen has evolved beyond recognition in a short space of time, partly because of the array of weapons he has, from the almost impossible to cover Stefon Diggs to Cole Beasley to tight end Dawson Knox. The Bills will need to keep that chemistry going on Sunday.
What the Chiefs need to do to win: As mentioned above, Allen’s progress this season has been extraordinary and he is no longer the turnover machine he was. But he still makes mistakes and the Chiefs’ standout defensive talents, whether it is Tyrann Matthieu or Chris Jones, are capable of forcing him into making errors. If the Bills do manage to make the Chiefs turn to the run game, the fitness of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, returning from injury, could be telling.
Key player: Patrick Mahomes, quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs. Mahomes is the best player in the NFL, so he is the most important player in any game he plays. But his impact on Sunday feels particularly telling. Mahomes was forced out of last week’s win over the Browns due to concussion – and he has been limited in practice – but he will almost certainly start. The question is what version of Mahomes plays. The concussion doesn’t appear to have been too damaging (at least in the short-term) but more worrying for the Chiefs is the fact that Mahomes is also suffering from turf toe. Mahomes is no Lamar Jackson, he won’t scorch you for 50 yards, but his mobility and ability to beat the rush is an important part of his game.
Prediction: Bills. A fully fit Mahomes beats Allen 90% of the time. But a limited Mahomes, who has been very good rather than great in his recent games, is a different proposition. The lingering effects of the concussion and his reduced mobility will hand this one to the Bills … just.