The National Football League

Bills and Buccaneers take Monday wins, setting NFL’s divisional round weekend

Kansas City Chiefs NFL

The Buffalo Bills defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-17 in the AFC wild-card playoff game on Monday afternoon in Orchard Park, New York. Josh Allen threw three touchdown passes and scored a franchise playoff-record 52-yard touchdown run, leading the Bills to victory.

The game was delayed by 27 1/2 hours due to a snowstorm, but the Bills remained ready and showcased a strong performance in the elements. Allen’s impressive play included 203 passing yards, 74 rushing yards, and no turnovers. The Bills will advance to face the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round on Sunday night, seeking redemption after playoff losses at Kansas City in the past two seasons.

Baker Mayfield led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 32-9 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild-card round, despite battling rib and ankle injuries. Mayfield threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the first Buccaneer to achieve this feat in a postseason game. The win secured the Buccaneers’ largest playoff victory since Super Bowl XXXVII. Mayfield’s resilience and performance, despite limited practice time due to injuries, earned praise from coach Todd Bowles. The Buccaneers will face the Detroit Lions in the divisional round, with the Lions currently being 6-point favorites.

The Houston Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud led his team to a 45-14 win over the Cleveland Browns, advancing them to the divisional round. The Texans will face the #1 seeded Baltimore Ravens on Saturday afternoon.

The Green Bay Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 48-32, earning them a chance to face the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round.

Jared Goff led the Detroit Lions to a historic playoff victory, beating Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams 24-23. The Lions ended a nine-game postseason losing streak, dating back to 1992, and secured their first playoff win in 32 years. Goff threw for a touchdown and completed a game-sealing first down against his former team.

The victory means that the Lions will have two home playoff games for the first time in franchise history, hosting Tampa Bay in the divisional round. The Rams had a chance to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, but Detroit’s defense held strong, pushing Los Angeles out of field goal range, and Stafford threw incomplete on fourth down.

Jared Goff completed 22 of 27 passes for 277 yards, while Stafford, playing with a bandaged and bloody hand, finished 25 of 36 for 367 yards with two touchdowns. The Lions’ defense secured the win, and Goff’s connection with Amon-Ra St. Brown for 11 yards allowed them to run out the clock.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes showcased resilience in a challenging weather environment, leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a 26-7 victory over the Miami Dolphins in the fourth-coldest game in NFL history. Mahomes threw for 262 yards and a touchdown, overcoming a shattered helmet after taking a hit in the second half.

Mahomes connected with Rashee Rice for 130 yards and a touchdown, contributing to the Chiefs’ triumph in the wild-card playoff game. Isiah Pacheco added 89 rushing yards and another score, complemented by Harrison Butker’s four field goals.

The Dolphins, hampered by injuries, struggled to replicate their regular-season offensive prowess. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa faced relentless pressure from the Chiefs’ second-ranked defense, and the Dolphins finished with just 264 yards. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill managed a 53-yard TD catch but was largely contained in his return to Kansas City.

The Chiefs extended their home playoff winning streak to 15 games, setting a record for the coldest game at Arrowhead Stadium at minus-4 degrees Fahrenheit. Wind gusts intensified the chill, reaching a bone-rattling minus-27 degrees wind chill.

Despite the adverse weather conditions, Mahomes demonstrated composure, and the Chiefs efficiently scored on four of six first-half drives. Mahomes’ helmet even suffered damage, leading to a replacement from the bench.

While the Dolphins struggled to mount a comeback, the Chiefs maintained control, securing a 26-7 lead. The victory sets up the Chiefs for another matchup with the Buffalo Bills in the next round of the playoffs.