For the Kansas City Chiefs, it doesn't matter if you call it Run it Back or Road to Repeat. Either way, they're right on schedule.
Behind a complete team performance in front of the Chiefs Kingdom at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs earned their second consecutive AFC title by defeating the Buffalo Bills, 38-24.
They advance to the Super Bowl where they will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Chiefs dug themselves an early hole, first trailing 3-0 and then 9-0 just minutes into the game, thanks to a Bills field goal and a muffed punt by Chiefs return man Mecole Hardman.
But the Chiefs and Hardman would get the last laugh.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes went 29-38 for three touchdowns - including one to Hardman - on the night.
Mahomes had plenty of help from his pass catchers: Receiver Tyreek Hill caught nine passes for 172 yards, and tight end Travis Kelce caught 13 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns.
FINAL: The Kansas City Chiefs earned their second consecutive AFC title Sunday, defeating the Buffalo Bills 38-24. The Super Bowl is next.
UPDATE, 8:40 p.m. | Chiefs starting left tackle Eric Fisher has left the game with an achilles injury. Corner back L'Jarius Sneed is out for the rest of the game and is in the concussion protocol.
The Bills added a touchdown late in the 4th quarter 38-21
UPDATE, 8:33 p.m. | Chiefs extend lead to 38-15. 7:36 remain between them and a return trip to the Super Bowl.
UPDATE, 8:06 p.m. | That's what speed do! (wait, wrong sport). Anyway, on the back of a long completion between Mahomes and HIll, and a TD to Kelce, the Chiefs now lead 31-15 late in the 3rd.
UPDATE, 7:58 p.m. | Buffalo takes its first possession of the second half and matches the Chiefs with a field goal. It's 24-15 deep into the third quarter.
UPDATE, 7:45 p.m. | The Chiefs take the first possession of the second half and turn it into a 45-yard Harrison Butker field goal. The lead is now 24-12 Chiefs.
UPDATE, 7:15 p.m. | After an early deficit, the Chiefs rallied back against the Bills. They take a 21-12 lead into halftime.
UPDATE, 6:54 p.m. | The Chiefs cap a 77-yard drive with a Clyde Edwards-Helaire touchdown. The lead over the Bills is now 21-9.
UPDATE, 6:37 p.m. | The Chiefs use a big play from Hardman. D. Williams brings home the touchdown. Chiefs now lead 14-9 in the second quarter.
UPDATE, 6:22 p.m. | Mecole Hardman grabs TD pass from Mahomes. Chiefs trim Bills lead to 9-7 early in the second quarter.
UPDATE, 6:17 p.m. | Through the first quarter, the Bills maintain a 9-0 lead. Chiefs are looking to get on the board early in the 2nd quarter
UPDATE, 6:04 p.m. | The Bills extend their lead 9-0 after turning a muffed punt by the Chiefs into a touchdown. 6:14 left in the first quarter.
UPDATE, 5:48 p.m. | The Bills open the scoring with a 51-yard field goal to take an early 3-0 lead.
UPDATE, 5:20 p.m. | The winner of tonight's Chiefs vs Bills game will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl.
The Bucs knocked off the Green Bay Packers 31-26 in the NFC Championship.
With the win, the Bucs will become the first team in NFL history to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium.
UPDATE, 4:15 p.m. | The final list of inactive players ahead of the AFC Championship Game contains good and bad news for Chiefs fans.
Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who hasn't played since a hip/ankle injury on Dec. 20, will be back in action.
Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins continues to deal with a calf injury and will miss today's game.
WR Sammy Watkins
RB Le’Veon Bell
CB BoPete Keyes
LB Willie Gay
OL Yasir Durant
DE Tim Ward
DT Khalen Saunders
QB Jake Fromm
CB Dane Jackson
LB Tyrel Dodson
OL Jordan Devey
WR Kenny Stills
TE Tyler Kroft
DE Trent Murphy
While Mahomes is good to go, linebacker Willie Gay Jr. won’t play and five other Chiefs are listed as questionable for the 5:40 p.m. kickoff from Arrowhead Stadium.
The next update on the availability of running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le'Veon Bell, cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland and Rashad Fenton and wide receiver Sammy Watkins may not come until the Chiefs' inactives are released around 3 p.m. Sunday.
Our "4th & 1" podcast crew, analyst Nick Jacobs and host Tod Palmer, break down what those potential absences may mean and the keys to a Chiefs win in the latest episode.
Many view Bills quarterback Josh Allen as a rising star in the NFL, one of the challengers to Mahomes’ throne in his QB generation, and the Chiefs recognize his talent.
Dissolving the chemistry Allen has with wide receiver Stefon Diggs will be among the Chiefs’ chief challenges to securing a second straight Super Bowl berth.
Kansas City lost in overtime to New England two years ago in the first AFC Championship Game in Arrowhead's history. The Chiefs clipped the Tennessee Titans then went on to beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV a year ago.
For those who are superstitious, the Chiefs named CEO and Chairman Clark Hunt as the pregame Drum Honoree for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game. He also had the honor before last season’s title game (and we just can’t recall who did it two years ago).
It will be forgiven and forgotten if Kansas City wins.
Mayor Quinton Lucas made a bet with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, which could net some wings for health care workers at Swope Health with a Chiefs win.
A Parkville bar owner originally from Buffalo is making a few friendly wagers, too.
But that wasn’t the only way Chiefs fans, of which Lucas if a lifelong and vocal one, showed their spirit this week.
Kansas City swamped another online vote, netting $25,000 for tight end Travis Kelce’s charity.
A barbecue sauce ban in Buffalo also turned out to be a boon for Harvesters Community Food Network and a Buffalo-area food bank.
Assuming, the Chiefs win, here’s how you can score some AFC champions merchandise after the game.
While there may be a parade to local sporting goods stores in the coming weeks, don’t expect one through the streets of Kansas City, even if the Chiefs become the first repeat NFL champions since the 2003-04 Patriots by going on to win Super Bowl LV.
Lucas said there will be no parade in 2021 due to the pandemic.
Want more Chiefs content? Find our "Chiefs Playoffs Special: Road to Repeat" with stories from across Chiefs Kingdom and highlights from Friday’s news conferences, including coach Andy Reid and Mahomes, on streaming services across all platforms.
The special airs at 8 p.m. on Friday; midnight, 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday; and midnight at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
You also can catch our "Chiefs Playoffs Special: Relive the Championship" at 9 p.m. Friday; 1 a.m., 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturday; and 1 a.m. and noon on Sunday.