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NFL playoffs: What We Learned from Chiefs' win over Bills in AFC Divisional Round

1. Tyler Bass' miss sinks Bills season. The Bills can point to countless errors along the way, but they had a chance to tie the game with less than two minutes remaining when Bass stepped up for a 44-yard field-goal try. It veered violently to the right, and with the miss, Buffalo's season was over. The Chiefs ran out the clock and now will head to their sixth straight AFC Championship Game next Sunday against the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens. Fans rarely get cheated when these teams meet, and tonight was nothing short of another classic in their rivalry. But this one was marred by some wild plays late and by Bass' miss. His two missed FG tries in the Super Wild Card win over the Steelers were almost forgotten about, but they won't be now. The Bills have been in an elimination mindset since falling to 6-6 after a bad loss to the Patriots, and they made an incredible run to this point. Many people believed they -- and not the Chiefs -- were the greatest threat to the Ravens on this side of the ledger, but their mistakes were just too plentiful to overcome in an emotionally grueling game. Bills fans know all about heartache, and this might not top the "13 second" game, but it certainly will sting for a long time.

2. Mecole Hardman's fumble doesn't come back to bite Chiefs. The Chiefs appeared ready to step on the necks of the Bills early in the fourth quarter after they'd been stopped on fourth down on a fake punt from their own 30-yard line. What followed was a 29-yard run by Isiah Pacheco that set up a goal-to-go situation inside the Buffalo 5-yard line, up 27-24 and poised to make it a two-score lead. Instead, Hardman fumbled through the end zone to give the Bills an improbable turnover when they most needed it -- their first true stop of the day, not counting the halftime kneel down. The Chiefs' defense forced a quick three and out for the Bills, but Patrick Mahomes and Co. couldn't run much clock and kicked it back to Buffalo. Everything set up for a Josh Allen-led game-winning drive in Buffalo -- or at least game-tying. The Chiefs made them work for their yards to get into scoring range and forced a try that was just long enough for Bass to miss. That, along with a first-down run, was enough to end Buffalo's season. Had the Bills taken the lead, we might have looked back at that fumble as the turning point -- and a stark reminder of how many times Chiefs receivers cost the team this season. On Sunday, it did not.

3. Bills defense tightened up late but gave too much ground early. The Bills received good pre-game news when cornerbacks Tyron Johnson and Rasul Douglas were active, but they were without linebacker Terrel Bernard, cornerback Christian Benford and safety Taylor Rapp -- not to mention all the other defensive firepower they've lost during the course of the season. It's not a surprise that Buffalo had its hands full with Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Pacheco. But the Chiefs scored on their first five possessions (not counting the halftime kneel down) as the Bills allowed crucial 75-yard TD drives to start the third and fourth quarters and put them behind the eight-ball. Kelce dominated early, and Pacheco had some back-breaking plays against them after halftime. But the Bills also allowed big plays to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Rashee Rice and Clyde Edwards-Helaire and didn't sack Mahomes. The Chiefs almost had as many 20-yard pass plays (five) as Mahomes had incompletions (six). Jordan Poyer's clutch forced fumble right before the goal line set up the Bills' most inspired defensive stretch of the game after it looked like they were cooked. Credit to that. But a Chiefs offense that struggled to move the ball at times this season had far fewer issues Sunday.

4. Chiefs secondary did their job. Kansas City rang up eight plays of 20 yards or longer. The Bills had none. Josh Allen wasn't sacked, but his longest completion in the game was 15 yards. Fifteen! The Bills didn't have Gabe Davis, and they lost Dawson Knox and Khalil Shakir to injuries for parts of the game. But every time they tried to attack downfield, it just didn't happen. Allen was 0 of 4 on passes traveling 20-plus yards downfield, which is especially impressive considering the Chiefs' pass rush was non-existent for long stretches of the game. Stefon Diggs caught three passes for 21 yards and had a 7-yard run, with only one 3-yard catch after halftime. In two games against the Chiefs this season, he had seven catches for 45 yards on a whopping 19 targets. That was a big reason why the Chiefs had defensive success against the Bills, at least on the scoreboard. Things got a little dicey late, and Shakir made three huge catches among his seven grabs, and Dalton Kincaid was starting to lean on the Chiefs a bit. But again, everything was kept in front of them. The Chiefs played a ton of zone coverage with multiple high safeties, and Allen misfired on several passes where it looked like he was trying to get something -- anything -- going downfield.

5. Sean McDermott's fake punt deserves criticism. It appeared that the Bills were ready to pounce on the Chiefs' apparent mistake when they sent only 10 men on the field for Buffalo's fourth-and-5 play at the Bills' 30-yard line in the fourth quarter. It didn't end well. The direct snap went to Damar Hamlin, who caught it at the 25. That meant he needed to run 10 yards for a first. He was stopped short at the 32-yard line. The play didn't directly hurt the Bills because they forced their one turnover of the game at the goal line a few plays later, but the Bills punted the next possession. And besides, if you're going to go for it on fourth-and-5, shouldn't the ball be in Allen's hands? Allen was far from perfect Sunday, but he was giving the Chiefs' defense all kinds of problems as a runner -- both on designed plays and on scrambles. Instead, McDermott tabbed Hamin, and as Disney a storyline as it would have been had the inspirational safety converted it, he's never had an offensive touch in the NFL.

Next Gen stat of the game: Chiefs LG Joe Thuney held Bills NT Ed Oliver without a pressure across 13 head-to-head matchups in the Divisional Round (10 1-on-1 matchups). Thuney has now allowed a 6.3% pressure rate this season, eighth-lowest among left guards (min. 300 pass blocking snaps).

NFL Research: Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce have the most combined TD (16) by any QB-receiver duo in NFL postseason history. The duo passed Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski Sunday with Kecle's two TD receptions.

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