Chiefs beat Bills 27-24 to head to sixth straight AFC title game
The Bills got the Chiefs in their stadium this time, but the result didn’t change.
Kicker Tyler Bass missed a game-tying field goal attempt after the two-minute warning and Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco picked up a first down that allowed the Chiefs to run out the clock on a 27-24 win. The victory puts the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game for the sixth straight season and they will be in Baltimore to try for a fourth Super Bowl trip in five years.
The Bills took control of the ball with over eight minutes left to play and Stefon Diggs couldn’t get his hands on a Josh Allen deep ball to start the drive, but the Bills started moving down the field from there. Allen got the ball to midfield on a run, but fumbled on a hit by Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones. Chiefs cornerback Chamarri Conner tried to scoop the ball rather than fall on it and Bills tight end Dalton Kincaid was able to knock the ball far enough away that the Bills recovered.
Allen converted a fourth down on the next play and the Bills picked up one more first down before a pair of incompletions sent Bass in the game for a 44-yard kick. It sailed wide right and the Bills were losers at home in the divisional round of the playoffs for the second straight year. It’s the third year overall that they’ve lost in the second round and this one will be particularly painful because of the circumstances.
The two teams traded touchdowns at the end of the first half and into the fourth quarter, but they then switched to trading mistakes. The Bills faked a punt from their own 30-yard-line and safety Damar Hamlin was tackled short of the first down despite the Chiefs only having 10 players on the field. An Isiah Pacheco run put the Chiefs inside the 5-yard-line, but a handoff to wide receiver Mecole Hardman resulted in a fumble that went out of the end zone for a touchback.
There has been discussion of changing that rule this offseason and the high-profile nature of Hardman’s miscue could add momentum to that push. If so, it would join the playoff overtime tweak after their last postseason meeting as rule changes influenced by their matchups.
For now, though, the focus is on Kansas City’s trip to Baltimore. They had one of their best offensive days in the season as they picked up more than seven yards a play while scoring on five of their first six offensive possessions. Patrick Mahomes threw two touchdowns to tight end Travis Kelce to give them an NFL-record 16 career postseason scoring connections and the Ravens will have to keep them from adding to that total if they’re going to keep the Chiefs from making it to Vegas.