Much to the delight of the Bills Mafia and football fans in Western New York, the Buffalo Bills locked up a spot in the AFC Championship game for the first time since 1993. The Bills defeated the Baltimore Ravens 17-3, thanks in part to a 101-yard, Pick-6 interception from Taron Johnson. Buffalo awaits the winner of the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns AFC Divisional matchup.
At the start of the 1990s, the Bills won four-straight AFC Championships and made four Super Bowl appearances under Marv Levy and Jim Kelly. They lost in the Super Bowl four times in a row to NFC East teams. The Bills dominated the AFC in the 1990s, but they could never get over the hump in the Super Bowl, settling for four, disappointing runner-up finishes.
|AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME BUFFALO APPEARANCES|
- 1990: Buffalo Bills 51, LA Raiders 3
- 1991: Buffalo Bills 10, Denver Broncos 7
- 1992: Buffalo Bills 29, Miami Dolphins 10
- 1993: Buffalo Bills 30, Kansas City 13
The Bills lost Super Bowl XXV to the New York Giants in a heartbreaking one-point loss. Buffalo kicker Scott Norwood missed a field goal, and the Giants prevailed, 20-19.
In Super Bowl XXVI, the Washington Football Team defeated the Bills 37-24.
In Super Bowl XXVII, the Dallas Cowboys blew out the Bills 52-17.
The Bills and Cowboys met each other in a rematch in Super Bowl XXVIII where Dallas beat Buffalo 30-13 to win back-to-back NFL championships.
Allen and Diggs Show
The Ravens and Bills were bogged down in a 3-3 defensive slog during a yawn-inducing first half. Despite swirling winds whipping off Lake Erie, both teams traded field goals heading into halftime. Justin Tucker, the most accurate kicker in NFL history, missed a pair of field goals. Tucker clanked the upright on back-to-back misses.
The Bills came out of the locker room all fired up to start the third quarter. Andre Roberts returned the kickoff 26 yards to the 34-yard line.
Josh Allen and the Bills didn’t squander their first possession in the second half. Allen and the Bills marched 66 yards downfield during a drive that lasted five-and-a-half minutes.
Allen hooked up with Stefon Diggs on a three-yard touchdown to put the Bills ahead 10-3. Diggs finished the game with eight catches for 106 yards and a touchdown.
“He proves it every week,” said Diggs about Allen. “They doubt him every week. And he proves them wrong every time. He’s the guy that can do it. You just want to play for him. I love this guy.”
Taron Johnson Seals the Win with Pick-6
Taron Johnson, a cornerback out of Weber State, turned the game around with an interception in the end zone. Johnson thwarted a potential game-tying drive by Baltimore, and his pick-6 resulted in a 14-point swing. Instead of a 10-10 tie, the Bills surged to a 17-3 lead, and never looked back.
The Ravens strung together a strong drive with their first possession in the second half. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens moved the chains during a nine-minute drive that got them into the red zone. With less than a minute remaining in the third quarter, the Ravens were inside the Buffalo 10-yard line and knocking on their front door. On a third and goal situation from the 9-yard line, Johnson picked off Jackson and the momentum of the game shifted back toward Buffalo.
“I caught the ball and kind of looked down, but then looked up and saw a whole bunch of green grass to that side of me,” explained Johnson. “At that point, there’s one person I have to beat (Lamar Jackson).”
“I can’t say enough words for what that game was for our defense,” said Josh Allen. “Taron Johnson’s is a play that people are going to remember for a long time here in Buffalo, potentially a franchise-altering play.”
“It’s just a blessing,” added Johnson. “Our defense stepped up to the challenge.”
Jackson, who was sacked three times, left the game after suffering a concussion on the last play of the third quarter. Backup quarterback Tyler Huntley tried to rally the Ravens, but they couldn’t solve Buffalo’s stifling defense.
— NFL (@NFL) January 17, 2021
Here’s another view of the Johnson Pick-6:
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) January 17, 2021
On Deck for Bills Mafia: KC or Cleveland?
After 27 years, the Bills have a shot at the AFC Championship. Allen will face the winner of Kansas City and Cleveland. That means he’ll be up against Patrick Mahomes or Baker Mayfield for a shot at the Super Bowl.
Kansas City defeated the Bills 26-17 in Week 6. The Bills Mafia knew that matchup in October could be a preview of the AFC title game.
According to the Mirage Sports Book in Las Vegas, the Chiefs are the favorite to win Super Bowl 55 at +200 odds, while the Buffalo Bills are + 350 odds.
Over at DraftKings, Kansas City is -125 odds to win the AFC Championship. If you want to back Buffalo, the Bills are +130 odds to win the AFC title game.