The Bills drove to the Chiefs’ 2-yard line with seconds left before halftime, but faced with a fourth-down play, Buffalo chose to kick a short field goal. That cut Kansas City’s lead to 21-12 after two quarters, with the winner representing the AFC in the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs went three-and-out on their opening drive, but only after Tyreek Hill let what would have been a long completion go through his hands on a third-down play. After that, Kansas City scored touchdowns on its next three possessions, with quarterback Patrick Mahomes completing 17 of 23 passes for 173 yards, one touchdown and a 109.5 passer rating.
Perhaps the best news for the Chiefs was that Mahomes, who was cleared from the NFL’s concussion protocol Sunday, also showed little to no ill effects from a toe injury he suffered last week against the Browns. The injury, reported to be a case of turf toe that might require offseason surgery, necessitated a left shoe a half-size bigger than normal to accommodate an orthotic device, but Mahomes displayed good mobility in Sunday’s first half.
Allen had an uneven first half, completing 12 of 23 passes for 104 yards, a touchdown and a 78.9 rating, while taking one sack for a 15-yard loss. He struggled to connect with star wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who led the league this season with 127 catches and 1,535 receiving yards but caught just two passes for 12 yards in the first half.
The time of possession split was fairly even, with Kansas City holding a 15:48-14:12 edge, but the Chiefs took sizable advantages in first downs (11-6), total yards (244-162) and yards per play (7.6-4.6). While wide receiver Cole Beasley led Buffalo with 31 yards on two catches, Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce had nine catches for 92 yards and Hill had three for 52.
All told, the Bills might feel reasonably fortunate to only be down by nine points at the half, particularly given Allen’s performance thus far, which included two near-interceptions and other miscues. However, Buffalo will probably need to force Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense into some more mistakes of their own, following an early and costly muff on a punt return, or Kansas City appears more than capable of steadily pulling away.