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Buffalo Bills 12, Kansas City Chiefs 21: Second-half open thread

The Bills need a comeback in the second half.

The Buffalo Bills are halfway through the AFC Championship game, and they’re trailing the Kansas City Chiefs 21-12. The only thing stopping Kansas City’s offense has been the Chiefs, and the Bills’ offense hasn’t been able to impact the game in nearly the same way.

Before the game, all eyes were on Patrick Mahomes, who suffered a toe injury and entered the concussion protocol at the end of his team’s win last week. The QB responded by playing as if it was simply another championship Sunday. He’s been surgical in carving up the Bills’ defense, and it doesn’t matter if they knock him off his platform, because he’s reaching open receivers even under duress.

The Bills gained some early momentum in the first quarter when Chiefs returner Mecole Hardman muffed a punt near the end zone. Buffalo recovered, which set them up for a clean three-yard touchdown pass to Dawson Knox. Hardman came back with vigor in the second quarter, though, scoring a touchdown and adding a 50-yard run. Travis Kelce, who led the scoring for the Chiefs in Week 6, is wrecking the Bills’ defense for another night. He already has nine catches for 92 yards.

Josh Allen has had a few easy completions, but he’s been extremely uncomfortable facing Kansas City’s tight coverage and aggressive pressure. He’s already taken a drive-killing sack, had an intentional grounding called on him, and nearly thrown multiple interceptions. Allen’s throwing mechanics are breaking down, causing his passes to sail, and he barely completed half of his passes in the first half. Of course, his receivers are struggling to separate, too—a novel situation for this high-flying Bills offense.

We could talk about the running game, but it’s the same story it’s been all season—a change-up that hasn’t impacted the game in any meaningful way.

It’s all added up to two field goals, plus that “gimme” touchdown—and Tyler Bass missing the extra point didn’t help the situation. The Bills came close to scoring at the end of the half, but ended up facing a 4th-and-goal from the two-yard line. The Bills’ coaches opted to bring a 12-point deficit to a 9-point deficit by taking the points with a field goal—a decision that may be questioned later in the night.

After a cold first quarter, The Chiefs completely flipped the script with 21 unanswered points in the second quarter, and to make matters worse, they’ll receive the opening kickoff of the second half. The Bills’ defense needs to prove it’s capable of stopping the Chiefs’ offense—at least once—and Allen needs to start playing like an MVP-caliber talent who can challenge Mahomes. The Super Bowl hangs in the balance.

This is your open thread for the second half of the game. Go Bills!