AFC Divisional Round Review: Winners, losers, upsets, surprises and takeaways
Here is a rundown of who advanced and who was eliminated in the divisional round of the playoffs for the AFC titles. Mahomes vs Burrow once more.
The better teams are winning after ten of this year’s thirteen NFL playoff games have been played. The AFC title game from last season features a rematch between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals’ victory guarantees the Chiefs their fifth consecutive year as hosts of the AFC championship game, which will be played the upcoming weekend. Due to the postponement of Week 17′s Bengals-Bills game when Damar Hamlin had an on-field cardiac arrest, Sunday’s Bills victory would have been the first neutral-site conference championship game. According to the NFL’s reasoning, if Buffalo had won, it would have been the AFC’s top seed. Tickets between the Chiefs and Bills in Atlanta have already gone on sale.
Burrow does it again, and the Bills disappoint yet again
Buffalo Bills 10 - 27 Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals were forced to start three players who had seen minimal action all season Hakeem Adeniji at right tackle, Jackson Carman at left tackle, and Max Scharping at right guard. Adeniji’s performance at right guard in last year’s Super Bowl probably did more than anyone else to win the Rams a title, while Carman was benched to let Adeniji fall apart in the playoffs. This trio averaged a paltry 48.7 rating from Pro Football Focus in the first four months of the season, during which they played no significant roles for the Bengals (out of 100). Against the Bills, they ought to have been eliminated.
Instead, a makeshift line for Cincinnati was dominant versus Buffalo. Only one sack was recorded against Burrow, which cost a loss of 2 yards. Joe Mixon had his second 100-yard game of the season, and the Bengals rushed for 172 yards as a team, more than in 16 of their 17 previous games this season. Take a look at the huge lane that was created for Mixon on this run, which culminated with a dump of Bills defender Tremaine Edmunds into the icy sideline.
Patrick Mahomes in a league of his own
Kansas City Chiefs 27 - 20 Jacksonville Jaguars
A compelling case for Patrick Mahomes’s status as the NFL’s most indispensable player was made during the Chiefs’ opening drive against the Jaguars. During that march to victory, Mahomes, the presumptive MVP, completed a series of ridiculous throws that only he can complete, including a jump pass and a sidearm pass.
He had to be taken out at the end of the second drive. After injuring his ankle, Mahomes was unable to do even the most basic quarterback duties. He couldn’t move in the pocket, create strength on passes or even complete handoffs. It looked like the whole NFL playoffs may change depending on how soon Mahomes could get rolling again.
Mahomes’ heroic effort in the second half, in which he returned and delivered touchdown passes while being crippled, was a major reason why the Chiefs won the game and advanced to the AFC championship game. However, Henne positioned them well to secure the victory. They scored seven points on Henne’s unbelievable field-length TD drive—his sole drive of the game—and they finally won by seven points, making him essential for their win.
Mahomes vs Burrow one more time
Possibly the best QBs in the league, especially the Chiefs’ main guy, will see their faces again after last year’s AFC final. In last year’s battle, Burrow won and advanced to the Super Bowl, where the Bengals lost to the Rams in the end. But this year, it seems the Chiefs are poised to reach the last game of the season. Although whether Mahomes will be at 100% is a mystery after he had to be taken out.