In a game between the two best AFC teams, it was clear that one team was superior.
The Kansas City Chiefs put together a complete games to control the entire AFC championship game, beating the Buffalo Bills 38-24 in a game where the Chiefs had a 23-point lead in the fourth quarter. Not only were the Chiefs the superior team, but quarterback Patrick Mahomes quieted all naysayers, proving that he is the best quarterback in not only the AFC, but the entire NFL.
Mahomes finished with 29 of 38 passing, 325 yards and three touchdowns — earning a passer rating of 127.6. Bills quarterback Josh Allen paled in comparison, totaling 287 passing yards and two touchdowns — with a crucial interception, too. He also earned 88 rushing yards. Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill had 172 receiving yards on nine catches, while tight end Travis Kelce caught 13 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
Buffalo began the game with the ball, eventually getting themselves into a fourth-and-short situation near midfield. Allen faked a handoff, then surprised blitzing Chiefs safety Dan Sorensen by dumping a short pass over his head to convert the first down.
On an ensuing third-and-five, Allen was almost intercepted by a perfectly positioned Juan Thornhill — but the second-year safety couldn’t hang on to the pass. Kicker Tyler Bass followed that up by making a 51-yard field goal.
Kansas City followed that up with a three-and-out that ended with a downfield drop by wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Buffalo received the punt at their own 15-yard line.
Buffalo advanced to their 40-yard line with a big scramble by Allen — but a sack by rookie L’Jarius Sneed put the Bills into a third-and-long scenario they couldn’t convert.
The next punt was muffed by returner Mecole Hardman close to his own goal line. The Bills recovered, immediately scoring on a three-yard pass to tight end Dawson Knox to go up 9-0; Bass missed the corresponding extra point.
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce took the Chiefs down to the Bills’ 32-yard line with three intermediate catches to start the next possession; an 11-yard pass to Hill was mixed in there as well. They got into third-and-11, gaining 10 yards with a pass to wide receiver Byron Pringle, setting up an attempt to convert fourth-and-short. They were successful with a pass to running back Darrel Williams in the flat. They got down to the Buffalo six-yard line by the end of the first quarter.
A shovel pass to Kelce set up first-and-goal at the three-yard line to start the second quarter. Two plays later, Hardman redeemed his earlier special teams miscue with a score off a quck receiver screen. Butker made it 9-7.
Buffalo answered the score with a drive that started with help from cornerback Bashaud Breeland — who picked up wide receiver Stefon Diggs after a catch and unnecessarily threw him to the ground to earn a 15-yard penalty. The possession stalled, and Tyrann Mathieu ended it with a third-down pressure on Allen that forced intentional grounding.
Hardman’s redemption continued as he started the Chiefs’ drive with a 50-yard end around run to get deep into Buffalo territory. Kelce advanced the drive with a first-down conversion to set up first-and-goal at the six-yard line. Williams strongarmed his way in for a score on the following play, making the score 14-9.
Buffalo failed to do anything on the next possession — which included a cleanly dropped interception by Charvarius Ward on first down. Still, an errant Allen throw on third down led to a three-and-out and punt.
Kansas City took over and took their time moving down the field. The possession was highlighted by an unreal throw from Mahomes to Kelce to convert a third-and-6. The following play was another one for Mahomes’ highlight reel, resulting in a 33-yard completion to Hill. Then, Kelce took a screen pass down the sideline and dove for the pylon, going out at the 1-yard line. Clyde Edwards-Helaire followed that up by running in for his first career postseason touchdown. The scoreboard read 21-9.
With four minutes remaining, Buffalo began their possession with a 14-yard pass to Cole Beasley. Another gain through the air by Dawson Knox got them into Kansas City territory. Then, running back T.J. Yeldon caught a downfield pass while covered by linebacker Ben Niemann to get to the 29-yard line. A nice rush by Allen gained yards ten as the two minute warning hit.
After a series of plays and timeouts, the Chiefs eventually forced a field goal attempt on fourth down. Bass made the kick, and the score was 21-12 at halftime.
Mahomes took the ball in the third quarter and found Hill and Pringle on pass plays to get into Buffalo territory. On third-and-five, Mahomes found Hill convert the first down. A couple plays later, the Chiefs failed to convert a short third-down attempt — and Butker made it a 24-12 game with a 45-yard field goal.
Josh Allen started next drive with a few intermediate completions to get into Kansas City’s side of the field. A nice completion to Beasley against a Chiefs blitz got the Bills to the 24-yard line. One play and a false start later, second-and-15 turned into third-and-six with an Allen run. The third-down play was an incompletion — but Sneed drew a holding penalty.
Two plays later, third-and-3 from the 8-yard line turned into an off-balance incompletion to Diggs in the end zone — thanks to a pressure from Chris Jones. Moss converted 27-yard field goal to shrink the Bills’ deficit to 24-15.
On the second play of the ensuing drive, Mahomes found Hill on a slant route — and he maneuvered his way down the field for 71 yards to get inside the 5-yard line. Two plays later, the latest edition of a shovel pass to Kelce turned into a touchdown to extend the Chiefs’ lead to 31-15.
Then Allen started to take chunks of yardage on play after play, getting into Chiefs territory. But on second down, Frank Clark willed his way past the right tackle and put Allen into the ground. As the third quarter ended, Allen avoided another Clark pressure and found Beasley one yard shy of the first down marker.
From the 41-yard line, a tight jet sweep play was successful in converting for the first down. On second-and-10, Allen scrambled and found his way past the first down marker for 18 yards. On the following second down, Allen forced the ball inside on a slant — but Bashaud Breeland knocked the ball into cornerback Rashad Fenton’s hands for an interception.
From their own 42-yard line, the Chiefs started with a first down conversion to Travis Kelce to get into Bills’ territory. After getting into a third-and-1, Mahomes handed the ball to Williams for a first down conversion. As the clock ticked under ten minutes remaining, a pass to Hill and a run by Williams set the Chiefs up inside the 5-yard line. Soon after, Mahomes found Kelce on a wide open pass in the end zone to extend the lead to 38-15.
As the Bills attempted a comeback, the defensive line began to get to Allen. Clark got a sack on the sideline, then Jones almost earned a sack — but the quarterback escaped and eventually earned 15 yards because of a late hit by edge rusher Alex Okafor.
A few plays later, Allen found wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie on a slant pattern to score — narrowing the Chiefs’ lead to 38-21; Breeland intercepted the two-pont conversion attempt to keep the lead at 17.
Buffalo then recovered onside kick and immediately gained 34 yards to put them in good position — but then a late hit by Buffalo offensive linemen Joe Feliciano and Dion Dawkins pushed them back and forced a fourth down. Bass kicked another 51-yard field goal, making the score 38-24 with just over three minutes remaining.
The following Chiefs’ drive ended up being the final one; they kneeled down at the Buffalo 15-yard line, securing the AFC championship and the Lamar Hunt trophy.
Cornerback Charvarius Ward was helped off the field after a play in the second quarter — but he returned shortly after.
Right guard Andrew Wylie was seen on the ground in pain after a play in the third quarter. He was shown getting his ankle taped shortly afterward. On the next possesion, Wylie came out at his usual position: right guard.
Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed hit his head on the ground early in the fourth quarter, and had to be evaluated for a concussion, per the Chiefs. Later, the Chiefs said he had entered the concussion protocol.
Left tackle Eric Fisher was helped to the sideline after a play in the fourth quarter. The replay showed him reaching for his ankle after the play. Later, the Chiefs announced that he was out for the game with an Achilles injury.
Safety Armani Watts suffered a concussion late in the game.
Mecole Hardman muffed a first-quarter punt that was eventually recovered by Buffalo at the Chiefs’ 3-yard line, leading to to a touchdown.
Kicker Harrison Butker converted a 45-yard field goal in the third quarter to stretch the Chiefs’ lead to 24-12.
Armani Watts failed to recover Buffalo’s fourth-quarter onside kick.
The game’s rapid reaction will be posted to our homepage shortly
|Yards per play||5.1||8.1|
|Yards per rush||6.30||6.30|
|Passing Gross Yards||199||296|
|Passing Net Yards||174||296|
|Yards per pass||4.70||8.70|
|Rushing first downs||4||5|
|Passing first downs||10||16|
|Penalty first downs||2||1|
|Third down (Made/Att/Pct)||3/11/27%||3/6/50%|
|Fourth down (Made/Att/Pct)||1/1/100%||1/1/100%|
|Goal to go (Made/Att/Pct)||1/2/50%||4/4/100%|
|Red Zone (Made/Att/Pct)||1/3/33%||4/4/100%|
|Extra Points (Made/Att)||0/1||4/4|
|Field Goals (Made/Att)||3/3||1/1|
|Two-Point Conv (Made/Att)||0/0||0/0|
|Gross Punting Avg Yds||49.3||44.0|
|Net Punting Avg Yds||49.3||44.0|
|Total Rtn Yds (No KOs)||0||0|
|Punt Returns (Num/Yds)||1/0||1/0|
|Kickoff Returns (Num/Yds)||0/0||3/68|
|Int Returns (Num/Yds)||0/0||0/0|
|Time of Possession||28:51||31:09|
|CHIEFS KICK RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|
|BILLS KICK RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|
|CHIEFS PUNT RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|
|BILLS PUNT RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|