Sunday’s Divisional round matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills was expected to be a great battle between two of the best teams in football. In a game that some felt could not possibly match the hype, the two teams managed to deliver a game that exceeded all expectations as the Chiefs defeated the Bills 42-36 in overtime to advance to the AFC Championship for the fourth consecutive season.
The Chiefs won the coin toss and deferred. Buffalo started their first possession at their own 29 after a return by Isaiah McKenzie. The Bills instantly gained 13 yards and a first down on a short pass to running back Devin Singletary. Quarterback Josh Allen later converted a fourth-and-2 to put the Bills into Chiefs territory. The Bills continued to move down the field on short passes until a handoff to McKenzie reached first-and-goal on the Chiefs 3-yard line. The Chiefs were able to stop an Allen rush on third down. However, on fourth down, Singletary punched the ball in for the touchdown, giving the Bills a 7-0 lead.
Byron Pringle returned the kickoff to the 25-yard line. The Chiefs appeared set to respond with a three-and-out until Patrick Mahomes escaped a sack and tossed an underhanded pass to running back Jerrick McKinnon to barely convert the first down. On the next set of downs, Mahomes took advantage of deep coverage on third down to scramble for 34 yards to the Bills 25-yard line. Mahomes then eluded pressure to set up another first down at the 13-yard line. On third-and-5 from the 8-yard line, Mahomes scored a touchdown on another scramble, tying the game 7-7.
After a touchback, the Bills started their second drive at the 25-yard line. The first quarter ended as linebacker Nick Bolton stopped tight end Dawson Knox for a one-yard gain to the Bills 37-yard line to set up second-and-9. But on the first play of the second quarter, Knox was able to drag a crowd of Chiefs to within a yard of the first down. Allen then fooled the entire Chiefs defense with a fake handoff and advanced to the Chiefs’ 41-yard line on a quarterback keeper. He then almost lost the ball on a 10-yard sack from Melvin Ingram, forcing the Bills’ first punt since Week 18 of the regular season. The Chiefs took over at their own 1-yard line after a very fortuitous bounce on Matt Haack’s punt.
Pinned deep in their own territory, the Chiefs were unable to gain a first down — but Tommy Townsend was able to get the punt off from the end zone. After a 50-yard punt, the Bills took over at their own 43-yard line. On third-and-2 from the Chiefs’ 49-yard line, Bolton broke through to stop Singletary for a two-yard loss, forcing another punt. The Chiefs took over at their own 14-yard line after Mecole Hardman called for a fair catch.
Mahomes began the drive with a 21-yard pass to Travis Kelce. The Chiefs entered Bills territory with a spectacular side-armed throw to Tyreek Hill. Clyde Edwards-Helaire then took his first handoff for 22 yards to the Bills 21-yard line. Passes to Edward-Helaire and then McKinnon took the Chiefs inside the 10. But then Mahomes took a seven-yard loss on a sack on first-and-goal. With another Mahomes sack, the drive appeared to stall — but a holding call on Bills cornerback Dane Jackson gave the Chiefs another first-and-goal from the Bills’ 6-yard line. An Edwards-Helaire carry to the 2-yard line took the first half to the two-minute warning. On third-and-2, Mahomes appeared poised to take another sack — but instead, he found Byron Pringle at the back of the end zone to give the Chiefs a 14-7 lead.
After a touchback, the Bills took possession at the 25-yard line with 1:52 remaining in the half. A pass to Cole Beasley immediately took the Bills near midfield. The Bills mixed short passes and runs by Allen to advance the ball to the Chiefs 18-yard line. Allen found Gabriel Davis for a touchdown with 37 seconds remaining to tie the game 14-14.
The Chiefs started at the 25-yard line, immediately gaining five yards on another Buffalo holding call. A Tyreek Hill catch took the ball to the Bills’ 44-yard line. A pass to Kelce brought the ball to the Buffalo 32 with 11 seconds remaining. But Harrison Butker missed wide right on a 50-yard field goal — and the teams went to their locker rooms with the score tied at 14.
Starting the second half at their own 25-yard line, the Chiefs gained a first down on three short rushes. More short plays brought the ball to the Bills’ 43, where the Chiefs faced a fourth-and-1. With the entire Bills defense zoned in on fullback Michael Burton, Mahomes faked the hand off and completed a short pass to McKinnon for a 20-yard gain. The drive stalled after a holding call pushed the Chiefs back to the 28-yard line to bring up 3rd-and-18. A 39-yard Butker field goal gave the Chiefs a 17-14 lead.
On the next possession, Buffalo was unable able to gain a first down. Cornerback Mike Hughes returned the ensuing punt to the Chiefs’ 39-yard line.
Mahomes found Kelce to advance the ball to midfield. Edwards-Helaire then broke through with a 20-yard run to the Bills’ 25. On the next play, Hardman took a handoff to the end zone to give the Chiefs a 23-14 lead — after Butker missed the extra point attempt.
The Bills came right back. From their own 25-yard line, Allen and Davis connected on a 75-yard touchdown play to narrow the lead to 23-21 Chiefs.
The Chiefs once again began a drive on the 25. The third quarter ended with second-and-5 from the Kansas City 42 looming. The Chiefs were able to advance the ball to the Bills 46-yard line before a third-down pass bounced off of Pringle’s hands. Townsend’s punt gave the Bills possession at their own 9-yard line.
Allen immediately escaped pressure to connect with Davis to the 25. On the next set of downs, crowd noise greatly affected the Bills; a false start and a sack by Jarran Reed brougt up up fourth-and-20 from the Bills’ 20-yard line. For the second week in a row, Tyreek Hill came on to return a punt. After having an uneventful return nullified by offsetting penalties, Hill returned Haack’s punt for 45 yards to the Buffalo 16. The Chiefs were unable to take full advantage of the momentum when a Blake Bell direct snap option play to McKinnon lost yardage on third-and-1 — but Butker was true on a 28-yard field goal to extend the Chiefs lead to 26-21.
The Bills began the next drive from the 25 by gaining 13 yards on two short passes to Beasley. Allen had a nine-yard run on third-and-4 from their 43-yard line to take the ball into Chiefs territory. He picked up another first down a few plays later, advancing to the Chiefs’ 36. The Chiefs appeared to have successfully made a fourth-down stand that might have allowed them to run out the clock — only to see Allen again make a first-down play with his legs. On a third-and-6, Melvin Ingram and Chris Jones crushed the Bills offensive line. Allen completed a pass to Singletary seven yards behind the line of scrimmage to force fourth-and-13 as the clock reached the two-minute warning. Allen found Davis for a third touchdown on the next play, giving the Bills a 29-26 lead — after a successful two-point conversion throw to Diggs.
After another touchback, two incompletions quickly brought third-and-10 for the Chiefs. Mahomes found Kelce right at the marker. Mahomes was then complete on a crosser to Hill that the receiver took for a 64-yard touchdown to give the Chiefs a late 33-29 lead.
Allen was incomplete deep to start the following drive. A deep completion to Davis quickly took the ball to the Chiefs’ 47-yard line. Ward — who had briefly exited the game — had a fantastic breakup on a deep ball to Diggs. Emmanuel Sanders caught a pass at the 19-yard line. Allen connected with Davis for the fourth time, to give the Bills a 36-33 lead with only 13 seconds remaining.
The Chiefs were able to pick up 19 yards on a quick pass to Hill from the 25, leaving eight seconds on the clock. Travis Kelce caught the next pass to the Bills’ 31. With three seconds remaining, Butker nailed a 48-yard field goal to send the game to overtime.
The Chiefs won the coin toss and began the first drive of overtime at their own 25-yard line. Mahomes completed a 10=yard pass to Kelce on third-and-1. A screen pass to McKinnon took the ball inside the Bills’ 40-yard line. A catch-and-run by Hardman gave the Chiefs first-and-goal at the Bills’ 7-yard line. Mahomes then found Kelce for the game-winning touchdown. The 42-36 victory guaranteed a fourth consecutive AFC Championship game at Arrowhead next Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Safety Tyrann Mathieu left the game on the first drive and went to the locker room after taking a knee to the back of the head from defensive tackle Jarran Reed. He was ruled out after entering concussion protocol.
Reed himself then left the field in the second quarter. He returned on the next defensive series.
Cornerback Charvarious Ward left the field in the fourth quarter. He returned on the same drive a few plays later.
Tommy Townsend booted a 50-yard punt from the Chiefs end zone.
Harrison Butker missed a 50-yard field goal as the first half expired. He was good on a 39-yard try in the third quarter and a 28-yarder in the fourth. In possibly the biggest kick of his career, he was good from 48 yards as time expired to force overtime.
Tyreek Hill returned a punt for the second week in a row, this time advancing 45 yards to the Bills 16-yard line.
|Yards per play||6.7||7.6|
|Yards per rush||4.50||6.70|
|Passing Gross Yards||329||378|
|Passing Net Yards||313||370|
|Yards per pass||8.00||8.00|
|Rushing first downs||9||7|
|Passing first downs||14||21|
|Penalty first downs||0||2|
|Third down (Made/Att/Pct)||6/14/43%||8/13/62%|
|Fourth down (Made/Att/Pct)||4/4/100%||1/1/100%|
|Goal to go (Made/Att/Pct)||1/1/100%||2/2/100%|
|Red Zone (Made/Att/Pct)||3/3/100%||3/5/60%|
|Extra Points (Made/Att)||5/5||3/4|
|Field Goals (Made/Att)||0/0||3/4|
|Two-Point Conv (Made/Att)||1/1||0/0|
|Gross Punting Avg Yds||43.8||44.0|
|Net Punting Avg Yds||28.8||44.0|
|Total Rtn Yds (No KOs)||0||60|
|Punt Returns (Num/Yds)||0/0||2/60|
|Kickoff Returns (Num/Yds)||1/22||1/26|
|Int Returns (Num/Yds)||0/0||0/0|
|Time of Possession||27:37||36:38|
|CHIEFS FUMBLES||FUM||LOST||FF||REC |
|Melvin Ingram III||0||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|BILLS FUMBLES||FUM||LOST||FF||REC |
|Melvin Ingram III||3||2||1||1.0||11.0||0||0||0||1||0||1||0|
|CHIEFS KICK RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|
|BILLS KICK RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|
|CHIEFS PUNT RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|
|BILLS PUNT RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|