Chiefs vs. Bills score: Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes headed back to Super Bowl after cruising past Buffalo

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs are going back to the Super Bowl. Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills led first in Sunday night's AFC Championship Game, going up 9-0 in the first quarter thanks to some costly home-team miscues -- a Tyreek Hill deep-ball drop, a muffed Mecole Hardman punt return. From that point forward, however, the reigning champions owned the evening, with Buffalo resigning itself to field goals and the Chiefs finally coming alive with their own play-makers. By the end, Hill, Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce had all dominated the box score, and Andy Reid had punched his second trip to the Super Bowl in as many years, thanks to a 38-24 rout at Arrowhead.

Next on the docket: A rematch with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Feb. 7, when the next Lombardi Trophy will be issued.

Here are some immediate takeaways from Sunday night's AFC title showdown:

Why the Chiefs won

Remember the weapons they used to win it all a year ago? They were on full display Sunday night. Patrick Mahomes. Tyreek Hill. Travis Kelce. The whole gang came to life after a slow start, and once it did, the Bills had basically no answer for the explosiveness. Kelce was darn near unguardable over the middle, Hill reminded the rest of the NFL that he could be an Olympic sprinter, and Mahomes just thrived playing point guard to help seal the deal. Kansas City's defense, particularly up front, deserves plenty of credit, too, for getting in Josh Allen's face, executing blitzes all night, and holding star wideout Stefon Diggs to a near-non-existent role in the early stages of the showdown.

Why the Bills lost

On a night where they either needed the Chiefs to completely implode or a perfectly executed offensive attack from Brian Daboll, they got neither. Buffalo capitalized on K.C.'s early hiccups, but Josh Allen was erratic for much of the first half -- and the Bills had absolutely zero ground game aside from his legs. The defense, meanwhile? Not even Tre'Davious White and Jordan Poyer and Tremaine Edmunds could save them from getting gashed by Kelce and Hill downfield. Allen picked things up in the second half and battled until the end, but with pressure in his face, he too often backed up and lost the Bills precious yards rather than unleashing his trademark big-play magic. It didn't help that Sean McDermott was content to settle for field goals multiple times, either.

Turning point

You might say it was the Bills deciding to kick a field goal when they already trailed by 12 late in the third quarter. That just allowed the Chiefs to blow the game open with a touchdown to go up 31-15 on its ensuing series. But the real turning point felt like it occurred when Allen had a nice drive erased by a bobbled John Brown pass that ended up in the arms of Rashad Fenton for a huge interception. That one came at the Chiefs' 20-yard line, wiped out a potential Bills score and put momentum firmly in Kansas City's favor.

Play of the game

Rashad Fenton didn't have to do much but wait for the ball to arrive in his arms on the big fourth-quarter pick, but it was still a monumental play, complete with a nice return to push Kansas City in position for another scoring drive:

What's next

The Chiefs are headed back to the Super Bowl! They'll get a week of rest and/or preparation ahead of Feb. 7's championship against the Buccaneers. The Bills, meanwhile, will begin their 2021 offseason with reason to look forward to the future, thanks to some strong steps forward from Josh Allen and the AFC East's new reigning champions.

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KC -3, O/U 54.5

Season Leaders

passing
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J. Allen 4544 YD, 37 TDS, 10 INTS
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J. Allen 4544 YD, 37 TDS, 10 INTS
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P. Mahomes 4740 YD, 38 TDS, 6 INTS
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P. Mahomes 4740 YD, 38 TDS, 6 INTS
rushing
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D. Singletary 156 ATT, 687 YD, 2 TDS
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D. Singletary 156 ATT, 687 YD, 2 TDS
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C. Edwards-Helaire 181 ATT, 803 YD, 4 TDS
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C. Edwards-Helaire 181 ATT, 803 YD, 4 TDS
receiving
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S. Diggs 127 REC, 1535 YD, 8 TDS
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S. Diggs 127 REC, 1535 YD, 8 TDS
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T. Kelce 105 REC, 1416 YD, 11 TDS
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T. Kelce 105 REC, 1416 YD, 11 TDS
Live updates
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@Chiefs via Twitter
January 25, 2021, 3:54 AM

The defending champion Chiefs are going back to the Super Bowl. We'll see you all back here in two weeks for Chiefs vs. Bucs.

January 25, 2021, 3:06 AM

I'm both a CBS employee and a Cowboys fan so I'm biased, but I love how Romo gets so excited about everything. He's the biggest football nerd on TV. It's fun.

January 25, 2021, 3:05 AM
@Chiefs via Twitter
January 25, 2021, 3:03 AM
@Chiefs via Twitter
January 25, 2021, 3:01 AM

Another nice game from Darrel Williams, who was playing behind CEH early but took over the backfield as the game went on.

January 25, 2021, 3:00 AM

Not that it isn't already, but if the Chiefs can get the first down here, this game will be ~officially over.

January 25, 2021, 2:59 AM

Well now this is devolving into ridiculousness.

January 25, 2021, 2:56 AM

OK so it's a two-score game again!

January 25, 2021, 2:54 AM

So we've got Josh Allen throwing the ball at Okafor, then Dion Dawkins coming and laying him out. Maybe two personal fouls plus the sack?

January 25, 2021, 2:50 AM

The Bills might lose like 40 yards on that play?

January 25, 2021, 2:48 AM

THERE's Stefon Diggs down the field. First truly big play of the game for him.

January 25, 2021, 2:45 AM

Wow! The first successful onside kick in the playoffs in six years!

January 25, 2021, 2:43 AM

That's McKenzie's third touch of the game, but they have all been very valuable. Two first-down runs and now a touchdown. Nice game.

January 25, 2021, 2:41 AM

Eric Fisher's Achilles injury could end up being massive. With that Bucs pass rush waiting for KC in the Super Bowl, the Chiefs might be without both of their starting tackles.

January 25, 2021, 2:39 AM

Beasley just limped off the field after that catch. He's been battling several leg injuries for the last few weeks.

January 25, 2021, 2:36 AM
@Chiefs via Twitter
January 25, 2021, 2:35 AM

That mobility is what makes Allen special. Having to use it to run rather than throw, though, is what has kept Buffalo's offense in check today.

January 25, 2021, 2:35 AM
@Chiefs via Twitter
January 25, 2021, 2:35 AM

Not sure how you leave the best tight end in the league that wide open. The Chiefs are going back to the Super Bowl, folks.

January 25, 2021, 2:31 AM

The Chiefs might have two undrafted running backs that are just better than their first-round pick running back, between Darrel Williams and Damien Williams, the latter of whom opted out of this season.

January 25, 2021, 2:30 AM
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