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Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs Defeat Josh Allen, Bills to Advance to Super Bowl LV

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2021

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes throws a pass during the second half of the AFC championship NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)
Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press

One win stands in the way of back-to-back championships for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Kansas City clinched a spot in the Super Bowl with a 38-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills in Sunday's AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium. Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill led the way for the defending champions, who will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and attempt to be the first back-to-back Lombardi Trophy winners since the New England Patriots in 2004 and 2005.

Ironically, it will be the same Tom Brady who did that standing on the other sideline in the Super Bowl.

As for Buffalo, it failed to make its first Super Bowl since the 1993 season and could not keep pace throughout the game despite a quick start.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

The King of the AFC. Mahomes leads the Chiefs to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances 🙌 @brgridiron https://t.co/wscLOywHyf

        

Notable Player Stats

  • Patrick Mahomes, QB, KC: 29-of-38 for 325 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs
  • Travis Kelce, TE, KC: 13 catches for 118 yards, 2 TDs
  • Tyreek Hill, WR, KC: 9 catches for 172 yards
  • Josh Allen, QB, BUF: 28-of-48 for 287 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; 7 carries for 88 yards
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Chiefs' Unstoppable Offense Overcomes Early Mistakes, Cruises to Super Bowl

Sometimes it seems as if Kansas City will be unstoppable for the next decade with Mahomes under center.

The start of Sunday's game was not one of those times.

Hill dropped a deep ball that likely would have set up a score on the Chiefs' opening possession, and Mecole Hardman muffed a punt that led to a one-play, three-yard touchdown drive for the Bills. Just like that, it was 9-0 Buffalo with Kansas City seemingly tripping over itself with uncharacteristic mistakes.

In reality, all those mistakes just delayed the inevitable.

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

Mecole Hardman sneaks in for 6 💨 Chiefs are on the board (via @NFLBrasil) https://t.co/68LKxbP6Aw

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Chiefs just scored 21 unanswered points after going down 9-0 Wow @brgridiron https://t.co/nF6DYjOK3R

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

HARDMAN TURNED ON THE JETS 😨 (via @NFLBrasil) https://t.co/QHMToYrRdX

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CEH punches it in 💪 (via @NFL) https://t.co/r8xOdutjil

Sunday Night Football on NBC @SNFonNBC

.@tkelce has passed Rob Gronkowski for the most receiving yards in a single season (including the playoffs.) Kelce's statline in the first half. 9 catches 92 yards. https://t.co/gXszm3Jgi6

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

TYREEK HILL IS UNREAL. (via @NFLBrasil) https://t.co/8okAATzrYh

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Mahomes underhand TD pass to Kelce 🔥 Too easy. (via @NFL) https://t.co/iI5vvJW6a0

Kansas City scored three touchdowns in the second quarter alone to seize control of the game with Hardman making up for his mistake with a touchdown catch and a 50-yard run that set up a score for Darrel Williams. Clyde Edwards-Helaire scored the third touchdown in a stark reminder to Buffalo just how explosive this offense can be when it's not making mistakes.

The Chiefs are simply impossible to stop when the secondary playmakers are contributing like that because Kelce and Hill, who both went over 100 yards, are almost always going to get their numbers, as well.

The pair put on a clinic in the third quarter with Hill taking a short pass and darting his way through multiple tackles and leaving defenders in his wake for 71 yards before Kelce capped off the touchdown drive with a score on a shovel pass. Throw in Kelce's second touchdown catch for good measure and there was little drama down the stretch.

Tampa Bay's defense better be ready.

             

Missed Opportunities in Scoring Position Doom Bills

Josh Allen was an MVP candidate this season, but Sunday was his chance to enter rarified air by taking down the current best quarterback in the league and setting up a date with arguably the best one in NFL history.

Alas, he struggled in the early going as Buffalo fell behind by two scores going into halftime. Buffalo punted three times in the first half, settled for a field goal inside Kansas City's 5-yard line and escaped key turnovers when defenders dropped interceptions on two of Allen's passes.

The visitors' only touchdown until Isaiah McKenzie scored in garbage time came when they started on the Chiefs' 3-yard line following Hardman's muffed punt.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

WILD FUMBLE RECOVERY BY THE BILLS 🤯 (via @NFL) https://t.co/VxT1RiPxAV

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Josh Allen connects with Knox 🎯 Bills add to their lead (via @NFL) https://t.co/d8F6ZJngHt

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

Honey Badger getting to Josh Allen 😤 (via @thecheckdown) https://t.co/jsbHof9tNJ

Robert Mays @robertmays

The Bills' FG before the half was (sorta) defensible, but I think you go for it there. Going from 12 to 9 is pretty blah. You still need two scoring drives to win, and they have the best player on the planet.

Dianna Russini @diannaESPN

This has to be so deflating for this Bills to have to settle for 26 yard field goal. Chiefs RZ defense deserves tons of credit.

Dan Wetzel @DanWetzel

Can't wait to see Buffalo attempt another field goal and bank on shutting out Mahomes the rest of the game.

Halftime changed nothing as Buffalo settled for another field goal inside Kansas City's 10-yard line on its first possession of the third quarter and then seemingly lost all hope when Allen threw a red-zone interception in the fourth quarter to Rashad Fenton.

Frankly, the Bills should have gone for some of their fourth downs—especially on the short field goals—considering they were going up against an absolute juggernaut in Mahomes. Kansas City also made life more difficult on Allen by shadowing Stefon Diggs everywhere he went, and the star wide receiver struggled to create the separation he did earlier in the playoffs and throughout the regular season.

The infrastructure is in place for Buffalo with Allen leading a talented offense, but there is no chance to beat the Chiefs with failed red-zone trips and field goals instead of touchdowns.

        

What's Next?

The Chiefs will go for the Lombardi Trophy in a showdown with Brady and the Buccaneers on Feb. 7.

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