Going into Sunday night’s Divisional Round game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, New York, the Kansas City Chiefs hadn’t played a postseason game on the road since 2015. But they won anyway, collecting a 27-24 victory that sent the defending Super Bowl champions into their sixth consecutive AFC Championship game — this one on the road against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Bills went right to work on their opening possession, marching down the field with the help of a questionable non-call on what appeared to be a forward pass by Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen that was ahead of the line of scrimmage. The Kansas City defense finally stiffened, forcing a 27-yard Tyler Bass field goal to give the Bills a 3-0 lead. The Chiefs responded in kind, moving downfield with passes to tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Rashee Rice, ultimately tying the game 3-3 with a 47-yard Harrison Butker field goal.
On their next possession, the Bills again drove down the field with little resistance, getting inside the Chiefs’ 20-yard line just as the first quarter came to an end. After two more plays, Allen scrambled for a 5-yard touchdown that gave Buffalo a 10-3 lead. But the Chiefs could play that game, too. Solid runs from Isiah Pacheco and a 29-yard reception by Kelce got them past midfield. Then on third-and-goal from the 11-yard line, quarterback Patrick Mahomes could not connect with Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the end zone, forcing a 29-yard field goal to narrow the Bills’ lead to 10-6.
This time, the Kansas City defense forced a stop after five Buffalo plays. Starting at their 35-yard line after a 15-yard punt return by Richie James, the Chiefs used a 28-yard rush by Clyde Edwards-Helaire to get into position for a 22-yard touchdown pass to Kelce that gave Kansas City a 13-10 lead with 3:33 left in the half.
Leaning on short passes for its next drive, Buffalo crossed midfield just after the two-minute warning. On a second-and 10 from the Chiefs’ 30, Allen scrambled for 18 yards. After three more snaps, Allen ran it in for a 2-yard touchdown that gave Buffalo a 17-13 halftime lead.
The Chiefs didn’t waste any time as the third quarter began. It took them just five plays — including a 30-yard pass to Valdes-Scantling and a 24-scramble from Mahomes — to set up the 3-yard touchdown pass to Kelce that gave Kansas City a 20-17 lead. The Bills responded with a 15-play drive that used up eight and a half minutes of game time, ending with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Kahlil Shakir that gave Buffalo a 24-20 lead.
Kansas City took the lead right back with an 8-play drive (including a 32-yard reception by Valdes-Scantling) that concluded with a 4-yard touchdown run by Pacheco, making the score 27-24 Kansas City. The Chiefs forced a punt on the next drive — which the Bills faked unsuccessfully on a fourth-and-5 from their own 30-yard line. Pachecho then ran 29 yards to the Bills’ 3-yard line — and on the next play, Mecole Hardman fumbled the ball through the end zone, creating a touchback that gave Buffalo the ball at their own 20.
The Chiefs forced a three-and-out and got the ball at their 44-yard line. A pass interference call against Buffalo on an incomplete third-and-6 pass to Rice gave Kansas City a first-and-10 at midfield — but then Buffalo held, forcing Kansas City’s first punt of the night. This time, the Kansas City defense couldn’t stop the Bills, who converted fourth down at midfield and kept going. The Chiefs finally held on a third-and-9 at their 26-yard line — and Tyler Bass’ 44-yard field goal was wide right.
Getting the ball with 1:43 left, the Chiefs got a first down — and collected the 27-24 victory.