Patrick Mahomes found Travis Kelce in the corner of the end zone early in overtime, and the Kansas City Chiefs rallied to beat the Buffalo Bills 42-36 on Sunday night in a sizzling finish to a wild divisional-round weekend.
The lead changed hands three times in the final two minutes of regulation before Harrison Butker, who earlier missed a field goal and extra point, drilled a 49-yarder for Kansas City as time expired to force overtime.
The Chiefs won the coin toss, marched swiftly downfield against the NFL’s top-ranked but exhausted defense, and right into their fourth straight AFC title game. They’ll play the Bengals next Sunday night for a spot in the Super Bowl.
Mahomes finished with 378 yards passing and three touchdowns, including a 64-yarder to Tyreek Hill during the thrilling final minutes of regulation. The Chiefs ended the Bills’ season inside Arrowhead Stadium for the second straight year.
Josh Allen did everything in his power to prevent it. He threw a go-ahead touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis with 1:54 left in the regulation, then another to Davis his playoff-record fourth TD catch with 13 seconds remaining. Yet that was enough time for the Chiefs to set up Butker’s tying kick.
Allen finished with 329 yards passing, and Davis with eight catches for 201 yards, in a loss even more devastating than their defeat to Kansas City in last year’s AFC title game.
In Sunday’s other game, Matthew Stafford threw for 366 yards and two touchdowns and Matt Gay’s 30-yard field goal as time expired lifted the Los Angeles Rams to a 30-27 divisional playoff victory over Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Brady rallied the Bucs from a 27-3 second-half deficit with help from three Los Angeles turnovers, tying the game on Leonard Fournette’s nine-yard run on fourth-and-inches with 42 seconds remaining. But the seven-time NFL champion didn’t get an opportunity to finish the job.
Stafford led the Rams downfield after the ensuing kickoff, using completions of 20 and 44 yards to league receiving leader Cooper Kupp to set up Gay’s winning field goal.
Stafford, who had never won a postseason game before beating Arizona in the previous week’s wildcard round, completed 28 of 38 passes without an interception. The 13-year veteran also scored on a one-yard run as the Rams advanced to next Sunday’s NFC championship game at home against the San Francisco 49ers.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I mean, we sure let ‘em back in the game with a bunch of mistakes on offense,” Stafford said. “Our defense played outstanding. We’ve got to clean some stuff up, do a little better job in the turnover department. This is a tough team, man, this is what we’re all about. Just happy to get a win and keep on moving.”
Brady completed 30 of 54 passes for 329 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He was sacked three times and lost a fumble.
The Bucs, who lost to the Rams for the third time in two seasons, were trying to become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl champions since the Brady-led New England Patriots during the 2004 season.