AFC Championship Game: Chiefs top Ravens 17-10 to reach Super Bowl

Travis Kelce

BALTIMORE — The Kansas City Chiefs earned their fourth trip to the Super Bowl in five seasons on Sunday, controlling the clock and coming up with three turnovers to defeat the Baltimore Ravens 17-10 in the AFC Championship Game.

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The Chiefs (12-6), heading to their second straight Super Bowl, will face the San Francisco 49ers, who defeated the Detroit Lions 34-31 in the NFC Championship Game. That sets up a rematch of Super Bowl LIV, won 31-20 by Kansas City. They will square off in Super Bowl LVIII on Feb. 4 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Baltimore, the top seed in the AFC, finished its season at 13-5.

The Chiefs took advantage of an efficient offense, a record-breaking day by tight end Travis Kelce and clutch defensive plays to advance.

Kelce had nine catches for 96 yards in the first half, passing Jerry Rice for most postseason catches. He finished the game with 11 catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. He caught all 11 passes thrown his way.

Kansas City also dominated the clock, holding the football for 37:30.

Sunday’s game at M&T Bank Stadium was the first AFC Championship Game in Baltimore since 1971, when the Colts were still playing in Maryland. The Colts beat the Oakland Raiders 27-17 that day to advance to Super Bowl V.

On a celebrity note, Sunday’s game also marked the first appearance of pop superstar Taylor Swift at a conference championship game.

Sunday’s matchup was the fifth conference championship game in NFL history featuring two former MVP quarterbacks -- Patrick Mahomes (2018, 2022) and Lamar Jackson (2019). It was also the first in which both quarterbacks were under the age of 30.

Baltimore had narrowed the Chiefs’ lead to 17-10 on Justin Tucker’s 43-yard field goal with 2:34 to play, but Kansas City maintained possession at the two-minute warning when Mahomes completed a 32-yard pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling to the Ravens 22 on a third-down play.

The Ravens squandered several scoring chances earlier in the fourth quarter.

Trailing by 10 points early in the final period, Baltimore was poised to score after Jackson completed a long pass to Zay Flowers. However, on the first play of the period, on a 2nd-and-8 play from the Chiefs 9, Flowers caught a pass but fumbled just before the goal line. The ball was recovered by Kansas City’s Trent McDuffie in the end zone for a touchback.

Another back-breaking turnover by the Ravens occurred with 6:54 to play. Jackson’s deep pass intended for Isaiah Likely was intercepted in the end zone by Deon Bush.

Harrison Butker’s 52-yard field goal gave the Chiefs a 17-7 lead at the half. Kansas City dominated play in the first half, collecting 16 first downs to just five for the Ravens. The Chiefs also held a commanding advantage in possession at the half, holding the football for 20:39 while the Ravens were limited to 9:21.

Kansas City took a 14-7 lead in the second quarter, as Mahomes engineered a 16-play, 75-drive that chewed 9:02 off the clock. Isiah Pacheco scored on a 2-yard run with 10:56 left in the half.

The Ravens tied the game late in the first quarter, with Jackson finding Flowers for a 30-yard touchdown with 4:58 left in the period.

The Chiefs struck first, with Mahomes finding Travis Kelce for a 19-yard touchdown with 7:41 left in the first period. Kansas City’s opening drive was prolonged when Mahomes found Kelce for 13 yards on a 4th-and-2 play. Kelce’s TD grab was his sixth in a championship game, setting an NFL record.

The Chiefs, appearing in their sixth consecutive championship, became the third team to advance to four Super Bowls in five seasons, matching the Buffalo Bills (1990-93) and the New England Patriots (2014, 2016-18).

Chiefs coach Andy Reid became the fourth head coach in NFL history to reach five or more Super Bowls. New England’s Bill Belichick did it nine times, with Pro Football Hall of Famers Don Shula (six) and Tom Landry (five) rounding out the list.

The Ravens were seeking their third Super Bowl appearance and first since Super Bowl XLVII after the 2012 season.

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