It was a snowy and wintery day in what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 95th Birthday. The Bills had a dream of Mahomes finally coming to Western New York for the AFC Divisional round. Guess what folks, it came true.
With an all-around team effort, the Buffalo Bills eliminated the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-17 in the AFC Wildcard Playoff matchup.
How the Buffalo Bills Got the Job Done52-yard
The Buffalo Bills have quite honestly been in playoff mode since their week 12 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles back on Nov. 26, 2023.
The team fell to 6-6 on the season and the outside noise was that the Bills were done and would have to run the table to even have a shot at making the playoffs.
The AFC East crown was furthermore from a possibility, but the makeup and the character this team has in the locker room and on the field makes them too legit to quit.
Led by a humble and super talented quarterback in Josh Allen, they rallied off five straight wins including a week 18 thriller, 21-14 win over the Miami Dolphins to clinch the AFC East title for the fourth straight year.
This earned them the number 2 seed in the AFC playoffs and a home game with the number 7 seed, Pittsburgh Steelers.
Kaiir Elam Gets out of the Doghouse
After starting (CB) Christian Benford had to depart from the game due to injury, 2022 first-round pick (CB) Kaiir Elam had to fill the void. The struggling defensive back has had to endure a lot of exterior distractions since arriving at Orchard Park.
Due to inconsistent play in the regular season and battling a foot injury, it looked like Elam was going to have another disappointing outing. But that all changed Monday on this one play.
After being run over by Pittsburgh (TE) Pat Freiermuth for 12 yards and causing defensive pass interference, Elam picked off Mason Rudolph’s pass in the end zone, halting a potential Steelers scoring drive.
It was the corner out of the University of Florida who has been struggling to find who he is as an NFL cornerback since being drafted by the Buffalo Bills. Still, it seems like he plays harder during big-time games, as this is his second career int in the playoffs.
AJ Klein was in the Right Place at the Right Time
Most Buffalo Bills fans know who AJ Klein is right? He’s the veteran linebacker who was on the Bills roster regularly under head coach Sean McDermott.
Terrel Bernard was then drafted in the third round of the 2022 NFL draft out of Baylor and he took over the team. Unfortunately, Bernard left the game on a cart upset with a towel over his head.
Having been through this before while just being signed to the practice squad days prior, and after being let go ahead of this year, Klein was back on the team in the absence of Dodson.
The 11-year veteran was calling the plays at middle linebacker in the playoffs like a pro. He also led the team with 11 total tackles, while Williams was just behind him with eight.
Josh Allen Was thinking Touchdown on that 52-yard Scramble
Allen has that dog in him to just take off and run with the ball without giving a care about putting his body in danger.
After easily picking up the first down on the initial scramble, Allen bulldozed a Steeler defender and used his jets to scamper 52 yards for a touchdown, putting the Bills up 21-0.
Allen wants to put his body on the line because he’s naturally a talented athlete and he loves when the game gets put into his own hands because that’s when he’s dangerous and wants to win for his team.
He ended the game throwing for 21 of 30 for 203 yards and three touchdowns. He scored a TD of his own with 74 yards total rushing.
Josh Allen’s 52 yard TD run.
Set to “There Goes My Hero” by Foo Fighters. pic.twitter.com/MSDN9zSCVX
— Rich Luchette (@richluchette) January 16, 2024
What Kansas City Brings to the AFC Divisional Playoff Game
The Kansas City Chiefs bring in a very balanced passing attack complemented by a strong running game led by (QB) Patrick Mahomes and (RB) Isiah Pacheco.
They also bring a stout defense that may be the best unit they’ve had since Steve Spagnuolo has been the defensive coordinator.
The Buffalo Bills will have to pick their poison in going all in to stop either Mahomes or Pacheco without getting burned by both guys.
What the Buffalo Bills’ Strengths are
For the first time since these two teams have met in the playoffs, I can honestly say the one thing the Bills have that is better than the Chiefs is their receiving core. The Bills have Diggs, Shakir, Sherfield, and Harty.
In years past, the Chiefs had the upper hand as they had both Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill to work the middle of the field. Hill is now with the Dolphins and as Kelce is getting older, their receivers have now tended to drop a lot of balls.
Since Week 14, the Buffalo Bills have won six games in a row defeating the Kansas City Chiefs, and are tied for 5th for the longest win streak in franchise history.
The Buffalo Bills will host the Kansas City Chiefs, on Sunday, January 21, 2024, @ 6:30 pm on CBS, (barring any snowstorms).