Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions advance to conference championship games

Next weekend’s conference championship lineups have been decided after the Kansas City Chiefs secured their sixth consecutive AFC championship game spot on Sunday and the Detroit Lions are headed to their first such faceoff in decades in the NFC.

The Chiefs cemented their spot with a wild 27-24 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. Earlier in the day, the Lions finished with a 31-23 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit’s Ford Field.

Next Sunday, the Lions will play the San Francisco 49ers and vie for a place at Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas next month.

The Chiefs will also travel to Baltimore next weekend to face the Ravens in the AFC championship game, making it the second team ever to advance to six straight conference championship games, trailing only the New England Patriots’ eight consecutive advancements between 2011 and 2018.

The Chiefs game on Sunday began with a brisk kickoff, with the temperature 26 degrees at the stadium, according to the CBS broadcast. Still, tight end Travis Kelce was cheered on by his girlfriend, Taylor Swift, and brother, Jason Kelce of the Philadelphia Eagles, in the stands.

The game’s first touchdown came in the second quarter at a 3-3 tie when Bills quarterback Josh Allen scored on a five-yard rush to take a 10-3 lead. Allen ran it again for his second rushing touchdown to make it a 17-13 game at halftime.

The Chiefs’ offense came out of the half swinging, driving 75 yards down the field. Star quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed it short to Kelce and dove for the pylon to score his second touchdown of the game and give Kansas City a 20-17 lead.

The move marked the pair’s 16th touchdown in the playoffs, moving them past former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski for the most QB-TE touchdowns in NFL postseason history.

The back-and-forth battle between both teams continued as the Bills responded with an Allen touchdown throw to wide receiver Khalil Shakir to take a 24-20 lead.

Early in the fourth quarter, after Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco ran it in for a touchdown to take the lead back, the Kansas City defense forced the Bills to go three and out on the pursuing drive.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Bills offense went on a 16-play, 54-yard drive to set up a potential game-tying 44-yard field goal. However, Bills kicker Tyler Bass missed, securing the victory for the Chiefs.

Speaking on the CBS broadcast after the game, Mahomes reflected on the week of preparation ahead for the Chiefs.

“We know we are going to have a heck of a challenge this next week, but our guys will be ready to go and go out there and see what we can do.”

Lions victorious over Buccaneers

Detroit Lions wide receiver Josh Reynolds celebrates with teammates Jameson Williams and Jared Goff after scoring a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. - Jose Juarez/AP

The Lions’ win over the Buccaneers sends the team to its first NFC Championship game since 1991.

The first quarter was a defensive battle that saw both teams trade field goals. The Lions found the endzone first on a nine-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jared Goff to wide receiver Josh Reynolds to take a 10-3 lead.

The Buccaneers’ offense was stagnant for most of the first half until the team’s final drive before halftime. Tampa Bay quarterback Baker Mayfield finally connected on a touchdown pass to tight end Cade Otton to knot things up at 10 at the half.

Both teams traded scores in the third quarter to keep things tied up at 17 before rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs flashed his speed and ran it in for 31 yards to give Detroit a 24-17 lead.

With just over six minutes left in the game, the Lions tacked onto the lead after a touchdown pass from Goff to wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown to make it a two-possession game.

The Buccaneers responded by marching down the field 75 yards and capping it off with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Mayfield to wide receiver Mike Evans. But the Buccaneers were not successful on the two-point conversion and made it a 31-23 game with just over four minutes to go.

The Buccaneers forced a stop on the Lions’ offense to get the ball back and give them a chance to score a touchdown with a two-point conversion to tie the game at 31 with just about two minutes to go.

Finally, the Lions forced Mayfield to throw his second interception of the game and seal the victory for Detroit.

Goff finished the game with 287 yards and two touchdowns and Mayfield had 349 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Goff said the crowd was “the best” when speaking to the NBC broadcast after the game and said he hopes to “give them a lot more” in the future.

“Just look around. They are not going to leave here for quite some time,” Goff said. “They were special tonight just like they were last week but they deserve it. They deserve this and they deserve to enjoy this.”

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