Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce push Chiefs to halftime lead over Ravens in AFC Championship Game


The Athletic has live coverage of Ravens vs. Chiefs in the AFC Championship game.

Star power came to play Sunday for the Kansas City Chiefs as they took a 17-7 lead into halftime over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game at M&T Bank Stadium.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has played six of his better quarters this season during last week’s AFC divisional win and in Sunday’s AFC title game. In Sunday’s first half, he went 20-of-25 passing (opening with 11 consecutive completions) for 161 yards with one touchdown resulting in a 106.8 passer rating.

And tight end Travis Kelce added nine receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown. Also in the first half, the Chiefs tight end passed Jerry Rice for the all-time postseason receptions record.

Mahomes and Kelce capped off Kansas City’s first possession when the two connected on a 19-yard touchdown pass midway through the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead. Tailback Isiah Pacheco punched in a 2-yard TD run on the Chiefs’ second possession to go up 14-7 early in the second quarter. Harrison Butker nailed a 52-yard field goal with four seconds left in the half to extend Kansas City’s lead to 17-7.

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Mahomes, Kelce toss Tucker’s equipment ahead of Ravens-Chiefs

Baltimore’s offense only showed life in one first-half possession making it 7-7 when Lamar Jackson hit Zay Flowers on a 30-yard deep ball for a touchdown. Other than the TD connection, the offense stumbled the rest of the half. Jackson went 5-of-12 passing — one completion went to himself on a batted ball — for 67 yards and one TD resulting in an 87.8 passer rating. The offense as a whole only tallied 110 yards in the first half.

The Ravens defense thwarted a potential momentum shift midway through the second quarter. Chiefs edge rusher Charles Omenihu raked Jackson’s arm from behind for a sack fumble allowing George Karlaftis to recover the loose ball inside Baltimore territory. But the Chiefs turned the ball back over on downs with less than seven minutes remaining in the half thanks to a Ravens fourth-down stand by halting Pacheco short of a first down at the Ravens’ 13-yard line.

Baltimore’s defense lucked out near the end of the first half when a Rashee Rice 30-yard TD reception on a screen pass came off the scoreboard because of a Chiefs holding penalty.

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NFL Championship game expert picks for Lions vs. 49ers and Chiefs vs. Ravens

Recent series history

Baltimore owns the teams’ only postseason meeting, a 30-7 win in 2011. The Ravens also won the last regular-season matchup, 36-35, in 2021.

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(Photo: Patrick Smith / Getty Images)





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