Champions behaving like champions.
These are the 2020 Chiefs. Just like the 2019 Chiefs.
Champions don’t panic. The Chiefs don’t panic.
The Chiefs didn’t panic a year ago as they fell alarmingly behind in all three of their postseason games and won the Super Bowl anyway.
And they didn’t panic in Sunday night’s 38-24 win over the Bills in the AFC Championship at Arrowhead Stadium despite falling behind early.
The Chiefs (16-2) are on a dogged and determined march to become the first team to defend its Super Bowl title since the 2003-04 Patriots.
That makes it deliciously fitting that, to do that, the Chiefs will have to get past former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who’ll be passing for the NFC-champion Buccaneers in Super Bowl 2021 on Feb. 7 in Tampa, Fla.
The Buccaneers defeated the Packers in Sunday’s NFC Championship game, sending Brady to his record 10th Super Bowl, but first with Tampa Bay.
A year ago, the Chiefs fell behind the Texans 21-0 in the first quarter and were down 24-0 in the second quarter of their divisional playoff game and came back to win 51-31.
In the AFC Championship game at Arrowhead, the Chiefs trailed the Titans 10-0 on the first quarter and won 35-24.
And then, in the Super Bowl, the Chiefs trailed the 49ers 20-10 in the third quarter and won 31-20.
So, as you might imagine, a 9-0 first-quarter deficit against the Bills wasn’t anything the Chiefs were going to stress out about.
Everything looked good early for the Bills, who were trying to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 1993, the last of their four consecutive trips to the NFL’s ultimate game which they’ve never won.
They took a 3-0 lead on a 51-yard field goal by Tyler Bass, the first of four for the game, on the opening possession. Then they turned a muffed punt by Mecole Hardman at the Kansas City 3-yard line into a 3-yard Josh Allen TD pass to tight end Dawson Knox and a 9-0 lead (the PAT was no good).
No matter. Champions don’t panic. And the Chiefs didn’t.
Kansas City cut the lead to 9-7 on a 3-yard Mahomes scoring pass to Hardman three plays into the second quarter.
Then they took the lead for good, going up 14-9 on a 6-yard scoring run by Darrel Williams. It was the second Kansas City TD in a span of 4 minutes, 41 seconds and the rout was on.
It should be noted Williams’ TD was made possible by a 50-yard run by Hardman on an end-around on the first play of the series. So, after his muffed punt, Hardman responded with a TD reception and a 50-yard run.
The Chiefs made it 21-9 on a 1-yard scoring run by Clyde Edwards-Helaire 4:12 remaining in the first half and the Bills were reeling.
The Bills cut the lead to 21-12 with a 20-yard Bass field goal with 11 seconds remaining in the half.
But several things were clear at this point: The Chiefs offense was simply too much for the Bills, who had no answers for Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce, who caught 13 passes for 118 yards and two TDs, receiver Tyreek Hill, who caught nine passes for 172 yards, or Mahomes, who finished 29 of 38 for 325 yards, three TDs and no turnovers.
The Chiefs, on the first possession of the second half, took a 24-12 lead on a 45-yard Harrison Butker field goal, capping a 10-play, 48-yard drive. And the Bills answered with a 26-yard Bass field goal to make it 24-15.
The Chiefs pushed the lead to 31-15 on a 1-yard underhand shovel pass by Mahomes to Kelce with 3:29 remaining in the third quarter.
And then the Chiefs put the game away when cornerback Rashad Fenton picked off an Allen pass in the red zone with 13:20 remaining in the game. That was the death knell for the Bills, whose magical season was finally bleeding out to its end.
The Chiefs put an exclamation point on the proceedings turning that interception into a 5-yard scoring pass from Mahomes and Kelce for a 38-15 lead with 7:36 remaining in the game.
After the 9-0 deficit, the Chiefs had outscored the Bills 38-6 at that point.
Champions doing what champions do.