The Kansas City Chiefs remain on track to win back-to-back Super Bowls after beating Buffalo Bills 38-24 in the AFC championship game.
Waiting for them in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium, Florida on February 7 will be Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers after their 31-26 win over the top-seeded Green Bay Packers clinched the NFC title on Sunday.
Showing no lingering effects from a concussion, Patrick Mahomes sliced up Buffalo’s secondary with ruthless efficiency as the defending NFL champion Chiefs’ quarterback threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns with most of it to favourite targets Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill.
Kelce finished with 13 catches for 118 yards and two TDs, and Hill added nine catches for 172 yards, becoming the first duo in NFL history with consecutive games of at least 100 yards receiving each in a single postseason.
Earlier, the Bucs became the first team in American football history to secure playing the NFL decider on their home field.
“We’re coming home,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said.
“We’re coming home to win.”
Brady, a 43-year-old NFL superstar, owns six Super Bowl rings with New England and now heads to his 10th NFL championship game with his new team.
The Bucs (14-5) earned their franchise-record eighth consecutive road victory to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since their 2002 championship season.
“It’s great to get another road win, and now we got a home game,” said Brady, who went 20-of-36 for 280 yards with three touchdowns.
“We played sporadically a little bit, but the defence came up huge. We’re going to need it again in a couple weeks. I know it’s a big game coming up.
“Who’d ever thought a home Super Bowl for us? But we did it.”
They were helped by a strange decision by Packers coach Matt LaFleur with just over two minutes remaining and down by eight points. On fourth-and-goal, he elected to kick a field goal. Tampa Bay then ran out the clock on the Packers (14-4).
“I didn’t have a decision on that one,” Packers’ All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers said before pausing.
“That wasn’t my decision, but I understand the thinking, above two minutes with all of our time outs, but it wasn’t my decision.”
Rodgers went 33 of 48 for 346 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, but fell to 1-4 in conference championship games as a starting quarterback.
The Buccaneers are the third Tampa team to play for a championship during the pandemic. The Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2020, and the Rays lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.