Lions, Chiefs survive Sunday Divisional Round dramas

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) looks to pass against Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of the NFC divisional round at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024.
Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) looks to pass against Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of the NFC divisional round at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024.

Kansas City 27, Buffalo 24

 

Tight end Travis Kelce caught two touchdown passes from quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and the Kansas City Chiefs advanced to their sixth straight AFC championship game with a 27-24 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday night in Orchard Park.

 

Isiah Pacheco scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 4-yard run 40 seconds into the fourth quarter, the fifth lead change in the game. Buffalo’s Tyler Bass was wide right on a 44-yard field goal attempt with 1:43 remaining, and Kansas City ran out the clock.

 

The defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs (13-6) move on to Baltimore to face Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, the AFC’s top seed.

Kansas City hasn’t lost in the divisional round since Mahomes took over as its starting quarterback in 2018, and the Chiefs have won five consecutive playoff games since a 27-24 overtime loss to Cincinnati in the AFC championship game two years ago.

Mahomes went 17 of 23 for 215 yards, and Pacheco rushed for 97 yards.

 

 

Detroit 31, Tampa Bay 23

 

Quarterback Jared Goff threw two touchdown passes and Detroit beat Tampa Bay, lifting the long-suffering franchise into the NFC championship for the first time in 32 years and just the second time in franchise history.

 

The Lions (14-5) won two playoff games in a season for the first time since 1957, the last year they won the NFL title. They will play at San Francisco, the NFC’s top seed, next Sunday for a spot in the Super Bowl — a game they have never played in.

 

Jahmyr Gibbs ran through a huge hole for a tiebreaking, 31-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter, and Goff made it a two-TD lead when he connected with Amon-Ra St. Brown for a 9-yard score with 6:22 left.

 

Baker Mayfield threw three TD passes for Tampa Bay (10-9), including a 16-yard toss to Mike Evans that got the Bucs within one score with 4:37 left. Detroit couldn’t run out the clock on offense, giving Tampa Bay one last chance, but Mayfield’s pass over the middle was intercepted by linebacker Derrick Barnes, the QB’s second pick of the day.

 

Goff finished 30 of 43 for 287 yards and directed an efficient second-half offense for the Lions, who had long touchdown drives on three consecutive possessions. Mayfield was 26 of 41 for 349 yards.

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