Mahomes makes performs, Chiefs discover protection at proper time to knock out Payments


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The sport lived as much as its billing.

Within the seventh assembly between the Buffalo Payments and Kansas Metropolis Chiefs this decade, it was the visiting Chiefs who prevailed on Sunday, successful a 27-24 thriller within the AFC divisional spherical from frigid western New York. Kansas Metropolis, taking part in its first street playoff recreation of the Patrick Mahomes period, sealed it after Buffalo kicker Tyler Bass missed a 44-yard area aim try vast proper that may have tied the rating with below two minutes to play.

Kansas Metropolis returns to its acquainted place within the AFC Championship Recreation, the place Andy Reid’s squad will meet the Ravens at Baltimore’s M&T Financial institution Stadium subsequent Sunday.

Listed below are the most important takeaways from each groups within the contest.


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Kansas Metropolis Chiefs

This season’s AFC Championship Recreation will not be one other version of the Arrowhead Invitational, however it would embrace the Chiefs.

The Chiefs superior to a sixth straight convention title recreation after one other of their assortment of epic playoff victories. The divisional spherical lead modified arms 5 occasions earlier than Kansas Metropolis held off the Payments on their closing drive.

The Chiefs will play the Ravens subsequent Sunday within the convention title recreation. The sport will probably be held in Baltimore after the earlier 5 AFC Championship Video games have been staged at Arrowhead Stadium.

Eye-popping NextGen stat: In a sign of how the Chiefs have been being dealt with by the Payments when Buffalo ran the ball, the Payments by way of three quarters averaged 3.9 yards earlier than contact per rush. The Payments have been hit at or behind the road of scrimmage on simply three of 31 speeding makes an attempt to that time. The Chiefs allowed 182 speeding yards, one cause they have been at massive deficits in time of possession and variety of performs run.

Promising pattern: The Chiefs have been lastly in a position to end some drives. Their first two scores on Sunday got here on area objectives. To that time, 13 of their earlier 16 scoring drives had resulted in area objectives; solely three resulted in touchdowns. However they have been in a position to end a drive late within the first half and one other early within the third quarter with touchdowns, each on passes from Patrick Mahomes to Travis Kelce. The Chiefs then punched in one other drive early within the fourth interval on Isiah Pacheco‘s four-yard scoring run.

QB breakdown: Mahomes had one other monumental recreation towards the Payments within the playoffs. Buffalo opted to play protection, versus placing stress on Mahomes, and he took benefit of that technique. Mahomes was in a position to get some massive performs down the sector, and he completed 17-of-23 passing for 215 yards and a pair of touchdowns. — Adam Teicher


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Buffalo Payments

The ball was in Josh Allen‘s arms to place collectively a late landing drive to provide the Payments the lead and take day off the clock.

As a substitute, they received zero factors out of a 16-play, 54-yard drive when Tyler Bass‘ 44-yard area aim try sailed vast proper following two straight Allen incompletions, handing the ball again to Kansas Metropolis with 1:43 left on the clock that it will wind down for a three-point victory. When Buffalo’s offense wanted a drive greater than ever, they have been unable to get it. After holding a 17-13 lead, the Payments solely scored as soon as within the second half, and Buffalo’s protection struggled to cease the Chiefs.

The Payments could not get past the hurdle that has been Kansas Metropolis within the playoffs, falling to 0-3 within the postseason with Mahomes going through Allen at quarterback. The loss ends a six-game successful streak and sends the Payments into the offseason with massive inquiries to reply after dropping within the divisional spherical for a 3rd straight marketing campaign.

Largest gap within the recreation plan: The defensive response popping out of halftime. Even when contemplating the variety of accidents this unit has, the changes that have been made did not work. Kansas Metropolis’s offense seemingly got here out to start out the third quarter with no points in any respect shifting the ball downfield, placing collectively consecutive 75-yard landing drives of six and eight performs to take over the lead and put the sport on the shoulders of Allen and the Payments’ offense.

Promising pattern: The success of Buffalo’s offensive line and ball carriers. The Payments’ operating recreation received going early and sometimes, with its rushers not being hit at or behind the road of scrimmage on their first 15 makes an attempt. The success of the operating recreation allowed Buffalo to increase lengthy drives — together with 5 of 11 performs or extra — and management the time of possession all through the sport. Allen and operating backs James Cook dinner and Ty Johnson all shined as rushers, with the quarterback operating for 2 scores, tying the Philadelphia EaglesJalen Hurts (2022) for probably the most speeding touchdowns in a season (common season and playoffs) with 18.

Eye-popping NextGen stat: Huge receiver Khalil Shakir made a powerful catch on his 13-yard landing within the third quarter, a part of a robust recreation for the second-year participant. Simply how unlikely was the rating? Per Subsequent Gen Stats, Shakir had 0.3 yards of distance from the sideline with L’Jarius Sneed as the closest defender in protection. The reception was Sneed’s first landing allowed in protection as the closest defender since Week 15 of the 2022 season. The completion likelihood was 26%. — Alaina Getzenberg



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