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Chiefs-Ravens rapid reaction: Kansas City is going back to the Super Bowl

The Chiefs are once again winners of the Lamar Hunt Trophy. They are AFC champions.

AFC Championship - Kansas City Chiefs v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Baltimore Ravens 17-10 in the AFC Championship on Sunday, clinching their fourth Super Bowl trip in five seasons.

As the reigning champions, the Chiefs now have the opportunity to become the league’s first repeat champions since 2004. But we have two weeks to talk about that. For now, let’s dive into what we saw Sunday:

A first-half masterclass from Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes.

The staples of this Chiefs’ run over the last six years showed up big in the first half on Sunday. The quarterback and tight end connected nine times for 96 yards and a very impressive touchdown by Kelce, who somehow brought it in for the score with cornerback Kyle Hamilton draped all over him.

The touchdown catch was the second of three exceptional receptions for Kelce in the half, that saw him make difficult grabs in fourth down and third down must-have situations.

Kansas City’s offense isn’t what it’s been in other AFC Championship seasons, but the recipe of Mahomes, Kelce, running back Isiah Pacheco and wide receiver Rashee Rice has proven to be enough — which, frankly, is all that matters.

The offense’s complete disappearance in the second half is a problem that will need to be addressed before playing the San Francisco 49ers or the Detroit Lions, who we know can score. But head coach Andy Reid has 14 days to do so.

Steve Spagnuolo and L’Jarius Sneed.

For more than 20 weeks, quarterback Lamar Jackson looked like a magician, leading the Ravens to dominant wins over some of the league’s best teams — including the Lions, 49ers and Miami Dolphins. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo made him look human on Sunday.

The NFL’s No. 4 scoring offense scored just 10 points on Sunday, as Jackson was held to 54 yards on the ground. When the Chiefs needed a big defensive play, players answered the call all day long.

Kansas City combined for 4.0 sacks, including a strip-sack by Charles Omenihu, who would unfortunately end up leaving the game with a knee injury.

The second half’s key sequence saw wide receiver Zay Flowers catch a 54-yard pass that would have had Baltimore at the Chiefs’ 10. But karma proved more than just a guy on the Chiefs, as Flowers pushed Sneed to the ground and showboated, leading to a taunting penalty.

A couple of plays later, Sneed changed the game by knocking the ball from Flowers’ grasp on what would have been a touchdown. Frustrated and trying to make something happen, Jackson forced a deep pass into triple coverage in the end zone on the next drive, and safety Deon Bush intercepted the pass.

It’s a shame coordinators can’t win the NFL’s Coach of the Year award. Spagnuolo would be very much in the running.

The golden age of Chiefs football continues.

So here we are. The Chiefs are headed back to the Super Bowl for the fourth time in five seasons. I’m guessing that is as mindblowing for you to read as it is for me to type.

I believe that given the success in hosting and winning AFC Championships, along with their two recent Super Bowl wins, the Chiefs are in the midst of the next great NFL dynasty.

Some will disagree — citing that it would take more than just two Lombardi Trophies for a rightful comparison to the New England Patriots. Well, ahead lies the opportunity for no more arguments.

Kansas City, you’re a win away from an undisputed dynasty. Enjoy it.

It's Game Time.

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