The Kansas City Chiefs are returning to the Super Bowl for a chance at back-to-back NFL championships after defeating the Baltimore Ravens 17-10 at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The opening coin toss was won by Kansas City. The team chose to defer to the second half, setting up the Ravens with possession to begin. The drive started at the 25-yard line after a touchback.
Baltimore’s opening drive was an uneventful three and out. It started with a run tackle by linebacker Leo Chenal. That set the Ravens back, leading to third and seven out of the gate. Looking to beat Kansas City’s blitz, a quick throw was broken up by cornerback Trent McDuffie, leading to a quick punt.
The Chiefs got into a rhythm early on their opening drive. Running back Isiah Pacheco moved the chains on the ground and through the air, getting into Ravens’ territory with ease. However, a few stuffed runs led to fourth and short — but quarterback Patrick Mahomes rolled out and fired a completion to tight end Travis Kelce across the middle to keep the drive alive.
Looking downfield near the red zone, a Mahomes incompletion was negated by defensive holding. That set up another shot, this time in the end zone for Travis Kelce. He caught the contested throw, giving Kansas City a 7-0 lead after their first drive.
The Chiefs’ defense continued the momentum from its first possession, using linebacker Drue Tranquill as a blitzer to force a throw away, then set up a fourth and short when he stuffed a third-down run at the line of scrimmage. However, Baltimore moved the chains with a designed run by quarterback Lamar Jackson, gaining 21 yards and breathing some life into the Ravens’ offense.
That play was followed by a strong run from Gus Edwards, getting deep into Chiefs’ territory. Then, Jackson dropped back, got away from Chenal, then launched a touchdown pass to wide receiver Zay Flowers in the end zone. The broken play tied the game 7-7.
Kansas City’s offense continued taking what the defense gave, using players like Kelce and Rashee Rice on quick-hitting plays to move the chains. The Hall of Fame tight converted one third down, then Rice did the next — setting up at Baltimore’s 32-yard line at the end of the first quarter.
The Chiefs quickly faced third down out of the break, and weren’t able to scheme open a completion. However, Mahomes bought time, avoided pressure, and eventually gave Kelce an opportunity to make another incredible catch. The extended grab moved the chains, and set up Mahomes to scramble himself to convert third down a few plays later.
From inside Baltimore’s 10-yard line, the Chiefs punctuated the drive with Pacheco running the ball into the end zone. It gave Kansas City a 14-7 lead after two drives.
Looking to answer, the Ravens used the run game to convert another third and short before looking to make a big throw on first down. That was interrupted by defensive end Charles Omenihu, who came from Jackson’s blind side to complete the strip sack. The loose ball was recovered by Kansas City, setting them up at the Ravens’ 33-yard line.
The Chiefs’ offensive rhythm continued after the turnover, approaching the Ravens’ red zone on the back of Pacheco’s running. A completion to Kelce advanced to Baltimore’s 13-yard line, but was just short of the marker. That set up a handoff that was stuffed, leading to a turnover on downs.
Needing to take advantage of the opportunity, Baltimore looked for big plays — and got one when Jackson caught his own pass, nabbing the tipped ball and gaining 13 yards. However, that was followed by two batted down passes, and another punt for the Ravens.
With under four minutes on the first half game clock, the Chiefs looked to score before halftime — but instead, didn’t move the chains and barely killed any clock before punting back to the Ravens.
Playing through the two-minute warning, Baltimore looked to get points before the intermission. The Chiefs’ defense worked them into third down near midfield, and forced a throw short of the sticks that fell incomplete. Instead of going for it, the Ravens punted back to Kansas City with 1:45 on the clock.
The Chiefs’ offense clicked back into a rhythm, with the help of extracurricular penalties by the Ravens’ defense. The 30 penalty yards helped pushed the Chiefs past midfield, then Travis Kelce found space downfield to get inside the 30-yard line.
From there, two holding penalties on right guard Trey Smith killed the momentum. That led to a 52-yard field goal attempt right before halftime; the kick was nailed, and the Chiefs went into the break with a 17-7 lead.
With an opportunity to build on the two-score lead right out of the break, the Chiefs’ offense sputtered, going three and out. The incompletion on third down was a target to wide receiver Justin Watson, contested downfield.
Looking to stay committed to the run, the Ravens ran to start the drive, totaling only four yards over first and second down. On the drive’s ultimate play, Jackson bought time and looked downfield, throwing directly to Chiefs’ linebacker Nick Bolton. The ball went through his hands, but led to a punt.
The Ravens’ defense swarmed on the Chiefs’ next drive, forcing a holding penalty on right tackle Jawaan Taylor. That set back a drive that started with two first downs; on third and long, the call was a screen for Pacheco, but it was bottled up quickly, leading to a punt.
The Chiefs’ defense matched Baltimore’s intensity on the other side, giving way to the Ravens’ offense past midfield before locking down. The pass rush got to Jackson on a third down, where safety Justin Reid wrapped up Jackson and ended the drive. The Ravens were forced to punt back to Kansas City with a few minutes left in the third quarter.
Looking to take advantage of another defensive stop, Kansas City simply could not. Pinned inside its own 10-yard line, the Chiefs’ offense went into conservative mode with two runs, then blown pass protection forced an incompletion on third down. It was a quick three and out.
The Ravens looked for an explosive play, and finally found one when wide receiver Zay Flowers found space down the field. He worked deep into Chiefs’ territory, but did get flagged for taunting. A few snaps later, Flowers found space once again, getting inside the Chiefs’ 10-yard line as the period ended.
Baltimore threatened to score, getting the ball to Flowers with a head of steam towards the goal line. However, cornerback L’Jarius Sneed punched the ball out just shy of the goal line, leading to a game-changing fumble recovery by the Chiefs.
The Ravens quickly forced a third down, now running out of time to cut into the two-score deficit. The drive was extended with a quick throw to Kelce towards the sideline, moving the chains and the clock. A penalty for roughing the passer set Baltimore’s attempt to get a stop, but the following third down was a forced incompletion.
The Chiefs had to punt back to the Ravens, but did so with a beautiful swing of the leg: punter Tommy Townsend booted one that landed at the one-yard line, with help from wide receiver Justin Watson.
Baltimore needed to go 99 yards with over 10 minutes on the game clock. The Chiefs’ defense made them work for every yard they looked for, forcing an early fourth down after defensive lineman Tershawn Wharton chased down Jackson for a third-down sack. The Ravens converted, then found a big passing play to wide receiver Nelson Agholor, taking them deep into Kansas City territory.
Jackson looked downfield again, this time in the end zone — but safety Deon Bush followed his eyes to the ball, securing the interception. That gave Kansas City possession with roughly six minutes to go.
Looking to finish the game, the Chiefs’ offense tried to chew clock and move the chains. That only lasted three plays, giving Baltimore the ball back quickly via punt.
After a strong punt return near midfield, the Ravens looked to take advantage with only five minutes on the clock. However, defensive end George Karlaftis got a great jump on the first play, sacking Jackson and destroying Baltimore’s momentum. The Ravens did advance from there, getting two first downs on short throws and nearing the Chiefs’ 30-yard line.
With three minutes on the clock, the Ravens weren’t able to go much further. That led to a field goal, tightening the Chiefs’ lead to 17-10 with just over two and a half minutes left.
Two penalties on Baltimore attempted to rattled the Chiefs’ offense, but it failed. The Ravens used timeouts and forced a third down, but Mahomes found wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling open deep for a game-sealing play.
A few kneeldowns later, the Chiefs clinched a second-consecutive AFC title, 17-10.
Defensive end Charles Omenihu went into the locker room late in the first half. He was reported as questionable to return with a knee injury initially, then later ruled out.
Defensive tackle Tershawn Wharton stayed down on the field after a play late in the fourth quarter.
Kicker Harrison Butker made the point-after attempt that followed the Chiefs’ first and second touchdowns.
Butker made a 52-yard field goal with seconds to go in the first half.
Punt returner Richie James gained eight yards on his first punt return of the game, early in the first quarter. He gained nine yards on another punt return.
Punter Tommy Townsend has one touchback over his three punts; his longest punt traveled 55 yards, but none have landed inside the 20-yard line.
In the fourth quarter, Townsend launched his fifth punt of the game, and likely the most important. It bounced high, giving the gunner a chance to down it at the one-yard line.