The Chiefs appeared to be cruising to their third straight AFC championship game as they led the Browns 19-3 in the third quarter on Sunday, but what was trending toward a blowout quickly became a nail-biter at Arrowhead Stadium.
Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes exited the contest with a potential concussion in the third quarter, leaving the rest of the game to backup QB Chad Henne. And with Henne under center, the Browns made their push. A three-yard touchdown run from Cleveland running back Kareem Hunt cut Kansas City's lead to 22-17 with 11 minutes to go, and an interception from Henne gave the Browns a chance at the lead with just over eight minutes remaining.
Cleveland couldn't convert its opportunity to take the lead. The Browns punted the ball to Kansas City after a pair of first downs, failing to regain possession after Henne converted a clutch fourth-down pass to Tyreek Hill with just over a minute remaining. After a dominant win over Pittsburgh in the wild-card round, Cleveland's Super Bowl dream ended in Kansas City.
Kansas City will host the Bills in the AFC championship game on Sunday. Mahomes's status for the contest has yet to be announced as he goes through the concussion protocol. The Chiefs are currently seeking their second straight Super Bowl appearance after winning Super Bowl LIV in February 2020.