Burrow, Mahomes best in AFC again

AFC Divisional Playoff Recap



Mahomes faced Tampa Bay in a Super Bowl LV matchup on Sunday night.

LUKE WESTFALL, Evergreen reporter

The divisional round of the NFL playoffs is widely considered to be one of, if not the most interesting rounds in the playoffs. It is the week of the season which is known for having the best football.

However, this year there was a different trend on Divisional weekend, less down-to-the-wire football and more dominant football. So let’s take a look at how the four AFC teams fared this weekend and what we learned heading toward Championship Sunday.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Coming off back-to-back seasons ending in the No. 1 pick and the third-largest postseason comeback of all-time, the Jags, led by Super Bowl-winning coach Doug Pederson looked to dethrone the top-seeded Chiefs.

The Chiefs scored on their first drive of the game, a 12-play, 83-yard drive ending with a classic Patrick Mahomes to Travis Kelce touchdown pass. The Jaguars quickly responded with a 63-yard kick return from Jamal Agnew and capped off a five-play touchdown drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Lawrence to Christian Kirk.

After a Chiefs field goal to go up 10-7, Mahomes suffered a scary ankle injury and had to go to the locker room.

In his short absence, veteran journeyman quarterback Chad Henne led a 12-play, 93-yard drive and hit Kelce for his second touchdown. The Chiefs led 17-10 at halftime.

Mahomes returned to the game and seemed to shake off any injury concerns with a 10-play, 75-yard drive and a six-yard touchdown pass to Marques Valdes-Scantling to make it 27-17 Chiefs. The Jaguars seemed to be on the move until Agnew fumbled on the Chief’s five-yard-line and the Chiefs recovered.

Lawrence got another shot but he couldn’t come through as he was intercepted by Chiefs rookie cornerback and WSU alum Jaylen Watson.

Jacksonville tacked on a late field goal, but after a failed onside kick ultimately fell to the Chiefs, 27-20.

Some things are just meant to be, like Travis Kelce having a big day and the Chiefs being in the AFC Championship. This is the fifth year in a row for the Chiefs and Kelce had 14 catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie running back Isiah Pacheco also pitched in for the Chiefs with 12 runs for 95 yards averaging 7.9 yards per carry.

So who will the Chiefs play next weekend?

Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Everybody loves a snow game, and this was a highly anticipated rematch of the week 17 game canceled because of Damar Hamlin suffering from cardiac arrest. Hamlin is alive and well and attended the game.

The Bengals exploded out of the gates with a six-play, 79-yard drive and a 28-yard touchdown pass from Joe Burrow to Ja’Marr Chase, a forced punt from the Bills and a 10-play touchdown drive. All of a sudden the Bengals were up 14-0, already scoring more in two drives than the Bills would all day.

Bills quarterback Josh Allen scored a rushing touchdown to get the Bills on the board.

The Bills put together a long drive that stalled out on the Bengal’s seven-yard-line. They settled for a field goal to make it a one-score game, 17-10. But that was short-lived as the Bengals quickly scored on a 1-yard Joe Mixon rushing touchdown to make it 24-10.

The fourth quarter, despite home-field support, did not go the Bills’ way at all. Down, 27-10, Allen threw an interception to Bengals rookie cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt to seal the game.

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs was also seen yelling at Allen on the sideline and reportedly attempted to leave the locker room in nearly full uniform before a teammate got him to return.

Many tickets were sold prior to the game for a Chiefs vs. Bills neutral site AFC Championship in Atlanta to which Burrow told reporters “send those refunds.” Ultimately Burrow threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns accompanied by a strong performance by Mixon who ran 20 times for 105 yards and a touchdown.

The Bengals will now head to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri for an AFC Championship rematch from last year with the Chiefs which saw the Bengals advance to the Super Bowl before falling to the Los Angeles Rams.

It is sure to be an action-packed AFC Championship rematch next week between potentially the two best quarterbacks in the NFL.