The Kansas City Chiefs are in the Super Bowl for the second time in a row after a safe 38:24 victory over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship. Patrick Mahomes and his best weapons, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, were ultimately too much for weak guests at Arrowhead Stadium. In Tampa Bay, the defending champion will now meet the local Buccaneers.
The guests got off to a good start overall. They made a 51-yard field goal from Tyler Bass out of their first drive, and their second drive ended on their own 41, which meant they had to punt. Returner Mecole Hardman dropped that punt in front of his own end zone – Taiwan Jones took the ball for Buffalo at the 3-yard line.
Shortly thereafter, quarterback Josh Allen found Dawson Knox on screen for a 3-yard touchdown after play action tight end. The extra point went to the right upright. 9: 0 Buffalo after a quarter.
But then the home side turned up. Patrick Mahomes found tight end Travis Kelce or wide receiver Tyreek Hill several times and led his team across the field in almost seven minutes. In the end, he threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Hardman for connection.
The defense made a stop and Mahomes only needed five plays for the second touchdown this time. This time running back Darrel Wiliiams completed from 5 yards. KC had previously brought Hardman into position with a 50-yard end-around thanks to a strong block in Space from Kelce.
But that’s not all, because after a 3-and-out of the Bills, the home side promptly scored another touchdown. Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran from the 1 into the end zone. Previously, it was Kelce who had brought his team to the 1-yard line with a 17-yard catch.
Bills too conservative at break
Buffalo was only granted a field goal from 20 yards until the break, as head coach Sean McDermott did not want to play the fourth attempt at 4th and goal on the 2 seconds before the end of the second quarter. Break score: 9:12 pm Kansas City.
After the break, Mahomes went to Hill more often and brought himself at least within field goal range. Harrison Butker hit the bottom line from 45 yards and restored the old distance. Ultimately, the guests didn’t make it any better. They got to 8, but decided again to field a 4th and 3 goal, so they ultimately stepped on the spot.
At the latest this was one field goal too many, because the chiefs didn’t need long to answer again. Mahomes first found Hill on a slant route and the Speedster ran all of them away for 71 yards of space. Shortly thereafter, Mahomes finally threw a shovel pass to Kelce for a 1-yard touchdown. 31:15 Kansas City towards the end of the third quarter.
The game was finally decided when Allen threw an interception to Rashad Fenton in the red zone. The ball was supposed to go to a John Brown, who was clearly covered by Bashaud Breeland, but Breeland deflected it decisively. However, the Chiefs added another Kelce touchdown, this time from 5 yards.
Bills capture the late onside kick
The Bills shortened four minutes before the end again with a touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie. The subsequent two-point conversion ended up in the arms of Breeland, however, so that the gap remained at 17 points, which was particularly bitter as the Bills conquered the subsequent onside kick and quickly landed back in the red zone. However, everyone received an 18-yard sack, so that the bottom line was only a 51-yard field goal. 38:24 Kansas City with just over three minutes on the clock.
The Chiefs are in the Super Bowl for the second time in a row and could become the first team since the Patriots in 2003 and 2004 to defend a Super Bowl title. In Super Bowl LV in two weeks in Tampa / Florida, however, it goes against Tom Brady, the only quarterback who has so far managed to beat Mahomes in the playoffs. The task could be made more difficult by the probable loss of left tackle Eric Fisher, who left the game late with an Achilles tendon injury.
NFL Playoffs: AFC Championship Game
No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs – No. 2 Buffalo Bills
Result: 38:24 (0: 9, 21: 3, 10: 3, 7: 9) BOXSCORE
Chiefs vs. Bills – the most important statistics
The Chiefs are now 9-2 since the start of the 2019 season (including the playoffs) if they were two-score behind with Mahomes at any point in a game.
- The Chiefs kept the game offensive and relied on their big playmakers. Kelce had 13 receptions (15 targets) for 118 yards (2 TD) and Hill ultimately had 9 receptions (11 targets) for 172 yards.
Hill’s 172 receiving yards are also a new playoff franchise record for the Chiefs.
- With 13 receptions, Kelce set a record for the most receptions in a playoff game of a tight end. Previously, only Kellen Winslow (1981) and Sterling Sharpe (1993) could do this.
- The onside kick captured by the Bills was the first in the playoffs since the 2014 season in the NFC Championship Game (Seahawks).
The star of the game: Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
Mahomes was a master at taking what the defense gave him. When the defense was primarily focused on defending deep passes with two deep safetys, he consistently took the underneath routes with Kelce, when the safetys then played closer to the box to narrow Kelce’s circles, he looked for the mismatch with Hill in Man -Coverage. He also did a great job in the pocket, dodging free rushers time and time again with simple body deceits, thereby prolonging plays that could have ended in the sack. Mahomes can hardly be stopped like this.
Flop of the Match: Josh Allen (Bills)
It was clear that it was going to be a shootout, but Allen was simply not ready for one today. He was more reminiscent of the undecided QB he had been up to this season than of the MVP contestant that season. His decisions were often wrong, he often held the ball too long and collected unnecessary sacks, he also threw a few passes in coverage and was lucky that in the end there was only one interception. He was no match for Mahomes that evening.
Analysis: Chiefs vs. Bills – the tactics board
The Bills mostly played defensively with two deep safetys, which Mahomes used time and again to throw passes underneath to Kelce, who apparently never had a direct opponent.
After the break, the Bills moved a safety closer to the line to better control Kelce. But this also had the consequence that Hill was covered one-on-one, which then made him a clear mismatch in the game.
The Chiefs relied heavily on man coverage, especially in the second half, as they often flashed not just one but both safetys. A concept that the Bills always had problems with. Partly this resulted in free rushers that Allen saw late.
In general, the Chiefs always had rushers close to Allen, who often held the ball too long, ran unnecessarily backwards or sideways out of the pocket and then either put a sack in his pocket or threw some imprecise passes that didn’t even land near the receiver .