The Kansas City Chiefs trailed the Buffalo Bills 9-0 after nine minutes had passed in the AFC Championship Game. Over the ensuing 16 game minutes, the Chiefs would turn that deficit into a 21-9 lead that they eventually turned into a 38-24 coronation. Kansas City has now hosted three straight AFC Title games and has won the last two.
All of Kansas City’s top players were outstanding on Sunday night. Here’s a rundown of the misery they caused us Bills fans.
QB Patrick Mahomes
He sure didn’t look like a guy who was bothered by anything at all. Injuries? Pressure? Buffalo’s defense? Nope, none of that flustered Mahomes, who was absolutely lethal from start to finish. The league’s best quarterback showed it again when it mattered most, as he connected on 29-of-38 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns against a flummoxed and overmatched Bills defense. Buffalo only sacked Mahomes once, and he ran himself out of bounds on that play. He was able to extend plays with his legs, he destroyed the blitz, and he picked apart soft zones like a child picks apart cotton candy. Mahomes made it look easy from start to finish.
RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire
It was clear that the Bills weren’t going to allow CEH to have another career day. They succeeded, as Edwards-Helaire was limited to seven yards on six carries. Instead, it was Darrel Williams who ran 13 times for 52 yards and a touchdown. Edwards-Helaire also scored a touchdown, and he caught one pass for no yardage.
WR Tyreek Hill
My goodness, this guy is fast. I mean...I know he’s fast...but it was just something else watching him outrun one of the league’s faster defenses again and again. When the Bills played zone, Hill found soft spots. When they played man, they used Taron Johnson on him, and Hill did exactly what you’d expect him to do against another team’s third corner: He burned him repeatedly. Hill was targeted 11 times, and he caught nine of them for 171 yards, including a ridiculous 71-yard catch and run where he made everyone else look like they were standing in quicksand.
TE Travis Kelce
The Bills can’t cover tight ends. The Chiefs have arguably the league’s best tight end. We knew this was going to be a problem. It was a very big problem. The Bills allowed Kelce to catch nine passes for 92 yards...in the first half. Then they switched Tre’Davious White on him, and Kelce’s pace slowed...but Hill’s took off instead. Kelce finished with 13 catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns, both in the red zone.
DT Chris Jones
Jones was lined up against Buffalo’s toughest lineman, Jon Feliciano, all night. Mongo is known for playing nasty all the way up to the whistle, and sometimes a little after it. Well, Jones decided he was going to punch the bully in the mouth—literally, in fact, as he punched Feliciano early in the game, though it wasn’t called a penalty—and as often happens to very physical people when someone more physical than them comes along, Feliciano couldn’t hang. Jones singlehandedly destroyed Buffalo’s offense, allowing the Chiefs to pressure Allen consistently with just their front four. That made their blitzing even more effective, as the Bills had to choose between helping one of their best offensive linemen inside or trusting him to win the matchup. While they had no problem helping Ike Boettger against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, they didn’t give Feliciano as much help, and Jones ate his lunch. Feliciano’s poor play all night is probably why he snapped and destroyed defensive lineman Alex Okafor, setting off a fourth-quarter melee that underscored the beating the Bills took on the evening. Jones only had one tackle and one quarterback hit, but he set up near-permanent residency in the offensive backfield.