The Kansas City Chiefs punched their ticket to the next round of the playoffs after defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-20 on Saturday, which meant quarterback Patrick Mahomes could sit back and watch as his AFC rivals, the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, battled it out at Highmark Stadium on Sunday, January 22.
As the snow fell in Orchard Park, quarterback Joe Burrow and the Bengals outmaneuvered and outplayed Josh Allen and the Bills in every facet of the game. While the NFL heavily promoted what would’ve been a neutral-site AFC showdown in Atlanta if both the Chiefs and Bills advanced, the Bengals crushed Buffalo 27-10, handing Allen his first-ever career playoff loss at home.
With the Bills eliminated, Kansas City will keep home-field advantage and host the Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium next weekend, which is a huge boost for the Chiefs. Mahomes sent out a cryptic message after the Bengals defeated the Bills, just a simple clock emoji.
Mahomes’ tweet quickly went viral as fans on Twitter were hyped to see the former Super Bowl MVP and five-time Pro Bowler once again face off against Burrow, the latter of whom is now largely considered to be the second-best quarterback in the NFL following Sunday’s divisional win.
While Mahomes suffered a high-ankle sprain playing against the Jaguars, the 27-year-old’s “clock” tweet signaled to many people on Twitter that he’ll be ready to go for what will be a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game.
“It feels better than I thought it was going to be now,” Mahomes said on Saturday night after the Chiefs earned their spot in the conference title game for the fifth straight season.
“Obviously, I have a lot of adrenaline going right now, so we’ll see how it feels. But I’ll hop right in the treatment and try to do whatever I can to be as close to 100% by next week. Luckily for us, we played the early game on Saturday, so we get an extra almost half a day that I can let that ankle rest.”
Joe Burrow Taunted the NFL for Presale Tickets to the Bills-Chiefs Showdown
During Burrow’s postgame on-field interview following the Bengals’ win in Buffalo, the 26-year-old taunted the NFL for hyping up a possible Bills-Chiefs game. The NFL sent out a memo earlier in the week that stated how more than 50,000 tickets were purchased by the Bills’ and Chiefs’ season ticket holders in the first 24 hours they were for sale.
“Better send those refunds,” Burrow said when asked if those ticket sales motivated the team. Burrow, who completed 23-of-26 passes for 242 yards, 2 touchdowns and zero interceptions against the Bills, along with 31 rushing yards, was clearly feeling himself. But the LSU alum was always confident. Despite oddsmakers favoring the Bills to win by over five points and having to play without three starters on their offensive line, “I never feel like an underdog,” he said.
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor, who publicly called out the NFL for making up new playoff rules after their Week 17 matchup against the Bills was declared a no-contest, also sent a cheeky message to the league.
“It is tough,” Taylor said, “because they have to formulate the plans for coin-tosses and they gotta formulate the plans for neutral site games and we just keep screwing it up for everybody. And I hate that for people that have to endure all those logistical issues. We just keep screwing it up. So, I’m sorry.”
The Bengals will look to defeat the Chiefs for the fourth straight time on Sunday, January 29.
Josh Allen Couldn’t Say Why the Bills Fell Apart
There’s not one person to blame when it comes to the Bills’ loss on Sunday. The team couldn’t get anything going on offense or defense and there were several questionable play calls. Allen was understandably somber during his postgame press conference and struggled to explain exactly went wrong.
“They had a good game plan. Good for them. They came out and played hard. We just didn’t have it today,” Allen said, noting that he’d have to watch the film to really break things down. “We just couldn’t find it. I thought we moved the ball when we had some of our possessions but the two early three and outs and just stalling throughout the game. You can’t win football games that way.”
Bills head coach Sean McDermott shared a similar sentiment, commenting on how the team couldn’t get any momentum going. “Offensively when you’re not on the field and extending drives, it can affect the energy a little bit,” McDermott said. “I thought the guys came out with the proper amount of energy, but when they’re in a rhythm offensively and you can’t get off the field, that can tend to zap your energy.”
Center Mitch Morse said of the Bengals, “They came out and they executed at a higher level than we did. We kind of dipped our toes in the water and they jumped in the pool. We dug ourselves in a hole early and we knew it was going to be a grinder after that.”