The AFC Championship Game: Not a surprise, yet surprising

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

With the conclusion of the AFC Championship Game, we now know who will play in Super Bowl LV: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFC) and the Kansas City Chiefs (AFC).

As the defending champion, it shouldn’t have surprised me that the Chiefs moved on again, and yet, it very much did. The Buffalo Bills are a young, up-and-coming team that, frankly, may have been the biggest winner in the “Tom Brady leaves the AFC East” game.

Let’s take a look back at how the Chiefs defeated the Bills to punch their ticket to the Big Game and a chance for a repeat championship…

Kansas City 38 – 24 Buffalo

 

 

After leaving the game against the Browns the prior week due to a concussion, quarterback Patrick Mahomes seemed to suffer no after-effects as he sliced and diced Buffalo’s secondary with his usual finesse. He threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns, frequently hitting his favorite targets tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

When it comes to weapons, Mahomes has no shortage of them.  Hill had nine catches for 172 electrifying yards and a touchdown. Kelce sported 13 catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns! Add in some TDs from running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams, and, well, you can see that this offense will be dangerous on Super Bowl Sunday.

Bills QB Josh Allen was sacked four times for total losses of 53 yards. Throwing only one interception, Allen finished 28/48 for 287 yards and two TDs. Allen was also their leading rusher with 88 yards – definitely an issue the Bills will need to address in the offseason.

Kicker Tyler Bass may have missed one extra point for the Bills but he went 4-for-4 on field goals with one being a pretty long 51 yards. Their kicking game wasn’t really an issue – it was their inability to get seven points when in the red zone that sealed their fate.

And through all this great football, the image of Bills WR Stefon Diggs standing on the sidelines and watching the ceremony to present the Chiefs with the Lamar Hunt Trophy, named after the founder of both the AFL and the Kansas City ChiefsLamar Hunt, is what stuck with many.

Typically we see players head off the field and back to the locker room fairly quickly after a loss – especially a season-ending loss – Diggs stayed to watch. The emotion was evident on his face and it was a stark reminder of just how rare the air is up on that stage when you are the last team standing in a field of 16 and are headed for the Big Game.

 

Talk NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl LV (55) with Kate on Twitter // @ClvlndK8 

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