4 reasons why the Kansas City Chiefs are back in the AFC Championship

The Kansas City Chiefs narrowly defeated the Buffalo Bills to advance to their 6th straight AFC Championship Game. Here's why they are back once again.

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills / Timothy T Ludwig/GettyImages
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The Kansas City Chiefs are going back to the AFC Championship for the 6th consecutive year. K.C. squeaked out a narrow 27-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills Sunday night when the Bills missed a field goal wide right with under two minutes to play.

The Divisional Round game between the Chiefs and Bills was a game where both teams made several amazing plays, but also squandered opportunities to take control of the game. In the end, Kansas City improved to 3-0 against Buffalo in the postseason, and Patrick Mahomes proved that he could go on the road in the playoffs and still get a win.

Despite the 2023 season being a bit of a down year for the Chiefs based on the high standard they have set for themselves during the Patrick Mahomes era, the team now finds themselves in the same spot they have in every other season that Mahomes has been the starting quarterback, playing a game that could send them to the Super Bowl.

I believe there were four key reasons that the Chiefs were able to pull this game off and advance to the AFC Championship Game to face the Baltimore Ravens. None of those reasons bigger than this first one.

1. The Chiefs Didn't Let Their Mistakes Break Them

There were multiple times in this game where it felt like the Chiefs let the game slip away from them. In those moments a lot of teams will fold under the pressure. To the Chiefs' credit, that didn't happen in this game. Instead, the Chiefs continued to fight and found a way to come away with the win.

The most glaring example of this was the Mecole Hardman fumbled into the end zone. The Chiefs were driving down and poised to take a 10-point lead in the second half when Hardman fumbled the ball at the goal line. Should Andy Reid have called that play instead of a power run up the middle on 1st down? No, of course not. Should Hardman have reached the ball out on 1st down like that? No, of course not. The Chiefs could have turned on each other in that moment. They could have crumbled mentally and it could have (and maybe should have) been the turning point in the game, but it wasn't.

There were several other moments that we could mention as well, but the other big one that stands out was Josh Allen's fumble on their final drive that Chamarri Conner could have fallen on. Instead, he tried to pick it up to run with it and ended up giving the Bills another shot to win the game when he missed it. Again, the defense could have folded at that point, but they continued to fight (more on that in a minute).

The bottom line is that the Chiefs had multiple plays and points in this game when they could have folded, but they refused to quit and that is a huge reason they were able to get the win.

Next up, let's talk about that defense.