News & Analysis

NFL AFC Championship PFF ReFocused: Kansas City Chiefs 38, Buffalo Bills 24

Jan 24, 2021; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) celebrates during the fourth quarter in the AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs are returning to the Super Bowl for the second consecutive year after a 38-24 win over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC championship game.

The Chiefs hammered the Bills in their first go-around by running the football, but quarterback Patrick Mahomes put on a fireworks display tonight to lead his team to victory.

Super Bowl 55 will be a rematch between the Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Chiefs beat the Bucs by three points back in Week 12.

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.

Story Of The Game

Mahomes certainly didn't look to be hampered by his injured toe, as he finished the game 29-of-38 for 325 yards and three touchdowns.

In Week 6 against the Bills, Clyde Edwards-Helaire carried the ball 26 times for 161 yards with 11 first downs and seven broken tackles. But outside of a 50-yard gain by WR Mecole Hardman, the Bills held their opponent to 64 yards rushing tonight.

Kudos to Andy Reid and Eric Bienemy, who found their recipe for success by leaning on the performances of Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. The duo combined for 22 receptions, 290 yards receiving and two scores tonight.

The Bills’ defense played to its game plan and forced Mahomes to march methodically down the field. The Chiefs QB finished the game with an average depth of target of 5.7 yards, reflecting Sean McDermott’s strategy to keep everything in front and limit the number of explosive plays through the air.

Bills QB Josh Allen entered this game as the league leader in turnover-worthy-plays (26). And upon PFF's first review of the broadcast film, he committed an additional three tonight to go along with his two interceptions. Allen faced a considerable amount of pressure from the Chiefs pass-rush, but his carelessness with the football did more harm to his team’s chances of winning.

Rookie Watch

Fourth-round pick L’Jarius Sneed flashed multiple times in the secondary, logging 46 snaps. The Bills' offense targeted him five times, and Sneed surrendered just two receptions for 25 yards. His work as a blitzer makes him a unique chess piece for defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Sneed got after Allen only six times but recorded two pressures.

For the Bills, A.J. Epenesa rushed the passer on 13 of his 19 total snaps. He racked up three pressures upon first review as a rotational player along the defensive line.

ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts and more in Premium Stats 2.0.

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