Analysis

Chiefs win second straight AFC Championship; the true start of a dynasty

The Kansas City Chiefs are headed to Tampa Bay for Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7, after defeating the Buffalo Bills 38-24 on Sunday becoming back-to-back AFC Champions.

The storyline throughout the week was the health and availability of Super Bowl LIV MVP, Patrick Mahomes. When the clock started, you wouldn’t have thought that he was coming off a concussion and dealing with a turf toe. He lit up the Buffalo secondary for 325 yards and three scores. With his stellar performance, Mahomes became the first quarterback ever to throw for three touchdowns and zero interceptions in his first three Championship games.

He also tallied his fourth career postseason game with 290-plus yards and three-plus touchdowns with no interceptions. That puts him at a tie for the most such games in NFL history with Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Remember, he has only played in seven postseason games.

The Kelce-Hill duo was as dangerous as ever on Sunday. Kelce caught a career-high 13 receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Hill hauled in nine receptions for 172 yards, including a 71-yard reception to set up first and goal inside the Bills’ five-yard line. After a miscue that gave the Bills a 9-0 lead, Mecole Hardman stepped up and caught his first career postseason touchdown.

Hardman also got involved in the run game, exploding down the field for a 50-yard gain. The former Tigers, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams, each found the end zone. Williams was the leading rusher for the second straight week as well.

The defense came to play as they sacked Josh Allen four times. L’Jarius Sneed got to Allen first for a big loss, forcing an eventual punt and Tanoh Kpassagnon drove the Buffalo offense out of touchdown range with a deep sack late in the game. The Shark, Frank Clark, showed up in the big moments as he always does and recorded two sacks.

Spagnuolo’s defense recorded 24 total pressures, which was 47 percent of Allen’s dropbacks. Chris Jones led the way with seven pressures, followed by Clark and Kpassagnon, who each recorded four.

The defense was terrific. They held star wide receiver Stefon Diggs to under 100 yards receiving after he totaled over 200 yards in the previous two playoff games. Rashad Fenton came in and intercepted Allen to keep ahold of the two-possession lead. Following a Bills score, Bashaud Breeland picked off Allen on a two-point conversion attempt, keeping a three-possession lead late in the game.

Juan Thornhill played the best game of his career on Sunday. He was all over the field making plays, including four pass breakups. Chiefs Kingdom hadn’t seen the full return of the young safety since his ACL injury last January and yesterday could be his return.

The Chiefs are back in the Super Bowl for the second straight season. This is the beginning of the next NFL dynasty and who is more fitting to beat to solidify it than Tom Brady, the last QB to win back-to-back Super Bowls?

In total, seven teams have repeated as Super Bowl Champions. The Chiefs have the NFL’s best quarterback, best tight end, the most dangerous offensive weapon, and arguably the best wide receiver. The red zone offense was spectacular yesterday with five touchdowns and Buffalo had no answer for Mahomes making play after play.

The defense is playing at a high level, forcing turnovers and holding dynamic offenses to under 25 points. Don’t forget about Big Red. Andy Reid is one of the greatest coaches of all-time and has his sights set on Super Bowl No. 2 and more.

Brett Veach has locked up all key players for the future and the team is at its strongest with Mahomes, Kelce, and Hill on offense to pair with Clark, Jones, and Mathieu on the defensive side of the ball. The talent has been on the team, but the question has been could they do it?

Guess what? They have. The Chiefs silenced all the haters yesterday by exploding for 38 points and retaining the Lamar Hunt Trophy. The trophy is where it belongs and should get used to its spot in Kansas City. As long as Mahomes is in a Chiefs uniform, which is set for the next 11 years, the Chiefs are contenders.

The Chiefs have now won five straight AFC West division titles and back-to-back AFC Championships. All that is left to do is defeat Tom Brady and the Buccaneers on their home turf for the second time this season. The dynasty has been started, but it would be solidified with a win over the Bucs on Super Bowl Sunday.

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