The Kansas City Chiefs are one win away from returning to the Super Bowl for the third consecutive year. They defeated the Buffalo Bills 27-24 in a nail-biting AFC Divisional Round matchup on Sunday night at Highmark Stadium.
The Chiefs trailed 17-14 at halftime, but rallied in the second half behind the stellar play of quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes completed 18 of 25 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns, both to tight end Travis Kelce. He also ran for 19 yards and converted several crucial third downs.
Mahomes showed his clutch gene in the fourth quarter, when he led a 12-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Kelce with 1:02 remaining. The score gave the Chiefs a 27-24 lead, their first of the game.
Bills miss game-tying field goal, fall short of AFC Championship
The Bills had a chance to force overtime, but kicker Tyler Bass missed a 44-yard field goal attempt wide left with 12 seconds left. Bass had made his previous four kicks, including a 51-yarder in the third quarter.
The Bills offense was led by quarterback Josh Allen, who threw for 186 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 72 yards and two scores. He connected with rookie receiver Khalil Shakir for a 19-yard touchdown in the first quarter, and scored on a 1-yard sneak and a 9-yard scramble in the second quarter.
However, the Bills struggled to move the ball in the second half, as the Chiefs defense tightened up and forced two punts and a turnover on downs. The Bills also committed seven penalties for 55 yards, including a costly false start on fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter.
Chiefs make history with sixth straight AFC Championship appearance
The Chiefs became the first team in NFL history to reach six consecutive conference championship games. They will face the Baltimore Ravens, who beat the Tennessee Titans 34-31 in overtime on Saturday, in the AFC Championship Game next Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
The Chiefs and the Ravens have met four times in the regular season since 2018, with the Chiefs winning all four games. The last meeting was in Week 2 of this season, when the Chiefs prevailed 36-35 at Baltimore.
The Chiefs are seeking to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004. The Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV last year, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-9 in Super Bowl LV this year.
Bills suffer another heartbreaking playoff loss to Chiefs
The Bills fell to 0-3 against the Chiefs in the postseason, and 0-4 against Mahomes. The Bills lost to the Chiefs 38-24 in the AFC Championship Game last year, and 42-36 in overtime in the Divisional Round in 2021.
The Bills have not reached the Super Bowl since the 1993 season, when they lost their fourth straight title game to the Dallas Cowboys. The Bills have not won a Super Bowl in franchise history.
The Bills finished the regular season with an 11-6 record, and won the AFC East for the second straight year. They beat the New England Patriots 47-17 in the Wild Card Round, and the Los Angeles Chargers 31-28 in the Divisional Round.