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AFC Championship Game review: Chiefs upset Ravens as Mahomes heads to another NFL Championship

The Kansas City Chiefs got an upset win the road over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game to set up a showdown with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL Championship.

The Chiefs and Niners will battle it out in Las Vegas in two weeks, but before we prepare for the big game, let's take a look back at the AFC Championship game and how the Chiefs were able to defeat the Ravens. 

Mahomes reaches NFL Championship again

Patrick Mahomes has been the starting quarterback for the Chiefs for six seasons, and he has led Kansas City to the NFL Championship four times. 

At just 28-years-old, Mahomes has been to more NFL Championships than Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Steve Young combined. 

However, not many expected Mahomes and the Chiefs to make the NFL Championship this season. An AFC Conference matchup in Baltimore against the No. 1 seed had Mahomes and the Chiefs listed as the underdog.

Mahomes thrived against a strong Baltimore defense as he finished 30/39 for 241 yards with one passing touchdown. 

He never turned the ball over and played a near-perfect game against one of the best secondaries in football. 

Mahomes’ connection with Travis Kelce looked stronger than ever with the tight end catching 11 passes for 116 yards and a score, and 17 points were all the Chiefs needed to beat the No.1 seed in the AFC.

Kelce breaks Jerry Rice's playoff record

When the lights shined the brightest, Travis Kelce played his best. He caught every single one of his 11 targets on Sunday.

His first quarter touchdown marked his third score of the playoffs, and Kelce broke Jerry Rice’s record for the most receptions in the playoffs.

After Kelce’s big game, the tight end now has 156 catches in 21 career playoff games, beating Rice's previous league record of 151.

Turnovers bring down Baltimore

Turnovers became the Achilles heel of the Ravens. It started with a strip sack of Lamar Jackson in the second quarter, which led to the Chiefs having excellent field position. 

However, Baltimore got lucky with an excellent defensive stand, and the Chiefs failed to score. 

That’s when the luck ran out for the Ravens. To start the fourth quarter, Jackson found Zay Flowers over the middle of the field, and he appeared to score a touchdown as he dove for the goal line. But in a replay review, Flowers fumbled the ball at the 1-yard line, and the Chiefs took over.

If that wasn't enough heartbreak for Baltimore fans yet, Jackson made one last mistake. 

On a crucial drive late in the quarter, Jackson made a bad decision and threw an interception in the end zone. 

Baltimore could have settled for a field goal on that drive, so an interception was the worst possible outcome for the Ravens. In the end, those three turnovers led to the downfall of the Ravens and cut their season short of their end goal.

Abandoning the run hurt the Ravens

One of the strong points to the Baltimore offense was the rushing attack. Between Lamar Jackson, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill, the Ravens have a three-headed monster in the backfield. 

Baltimore had been dominating the opposing team’s run defense all season, and it seemed to be the secret to their success. However, the Ravens went down early, and they completely abandoned their rushing attack. 

The Ravens appeared to force the action way earlier than they needed, and that led to a lot of short possessions. 

Edwards and Hill finished with a combined six rushing attempts - astonishingly low for those two. Jackson only took off eight times too, so the premature end of their rushing attack seemed to come back and bite them. 

After the Ravens took to the air, they seemed to play right into Kansas City’s hands because the Chiefs have an excellent secondary. When it came time for the biggest test of their season, the Ravens went away from what got them to that point.

The Chiefs are -105 on the Money Line for the NFL Championship showdown with the -115 49ers, who are favored by -1.0 point.

Any odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.

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