The Kansas City Chiefs survived their first road playoff game of the Patrick Mahomes era, outlasting the Buffalo Bills to win 27-24 in Orchard Park, New York and to earn a berth in the AFC Championship Game for the sixth year in a row.
Sunday’s divisional-round game was the latest playoff classic between the Chiefs and Bills, though just like the previous two meetings over the last four years, it ended with a Kansas City victory. This year’s matchup featured five lead changes, though the game shifted styles drastically in the fourth quarter. After 44 combined points through the first three quarters, there was only one score in the fourth, an Isiah Pacheco touchdown run 40 seconds into the final period.
What the fourth quarter lacked in scoring it made up for in other excitement, however. After the Bills failed on an attempted fake punt inside their own 40-yard line while down trailing, the Chiefs turned it back over moments later thanks to a Mecole Hardman fumble out of the end zone.
Buffalo trekked downfield on its next drive, burning 6:40 off the clock and taking the game past the two-minute warning, but kicker Tyler Bass pushed a would-be game-tying field goal wide to the right. Pacheco would pick up a first down on the ground two plays later, sealing the win for Kansas City.
Mahomes completed 17-of-23 passes on Sunday for 215 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. His top target was tight end Travis Kelce, who caught five passes for 75 yards and both aforementioned scores. Mahomes and Kelce now own the NFL record for the most touchdown passes between a quarterback and pass catcher in the playoffs, snapping the mark previously owned by Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.
Pacheco posted his second impressive performance in a row, rushing 15 times for 97 yards and that touchdown.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen threw for 186 yards and a touchdown in the losing effort, and he also led Buffalo in rushing with 72 yards on 12 carries.
The Chiefs will be on the road again next week for the conference championship game, facing off with the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore blasted the Houston Texans 34-10 in their divisional-round matchup on Saturday. The AFC Championship Game will kick off at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 28.