Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs Beat Josh Allen, Bills in OT Thriller to Reach AFC Title Game

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 24, 2022

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrates after beating the Buffalo Bills overtime during an NFL divisional playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022 in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)
AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann

The Kansas City Chiefs won one of the most electrifying games in NFL history on Sunday as the two-time defending AFC champions beat the Buffalo Bills 42-36 in overtime in the divisional round.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes tossed an eight-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce for the game-winner.


MAHOMES TO KELCE. <br><br>THE <a href="https://twitter.com/Chiefs?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CHIEFS</a> WIN THE GAME OF THE YEAR! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLPlayoffs</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ChiefsKingdom?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ChiefsKingdom</a> <a href="https://t.co/9eM2Ur15O0">pic.twitter.com/9eM2Ur15O0</a>

The two teams combined for 25 points in the final two minutes of regulation.

KY3 News @kytv

MOVIN' ON! The Kansas City Chiefs outlast the Buffalo Bills in a back-and-forth contest that featured three lead changes in the final two minutes of regulation. The Chiefs advance to their fourth straight AFC Championship. <a href="https://t.co/ia8BgAfz9Y">pic.twitter.com/ia8BgAfz9Y</a>

Down 26-21, the Bills orchestrated a 17-play, 75-yard drive that included two fourth-down conversions.

The second one, on 4th-and-13, led to quarterback Josh Allen finding wide receiver Gabriel Davis for a 27-yard score with 1:54 left after cornerback Mike Hughes slipped in coverage:


THE <a href="https://twitter.com/BuffaloBills?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BUFFALOBILLS</a> HAVE THE LEAD. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLPlayoffs</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BUFvsKC?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BUFvsKC</a> on CBS<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/bCIjXIlFWh">https://t.co/bCIjXIlFWh</a> <a href="https://t.co/NrxNk9jSHq">pic.twitter.com/NrxNk9jSHq</a>

Allen then found wideout Stefon Diggs for a two-point conversion to give Buffalo a 29-26 lead.

Undeterred, Mahomes threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who sprinted his way past the Bills defense for six.


MAHOMES. TYREEK. <br><br>CHIEFS RETAKE THE LEAD. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLPlayoffs</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BUFvsKC?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BUFvsKC</a> on CBS<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/bCIjXIlFWh">https://t.co/bCIjXIlFWh</a> <a href="https://t.co/QCPXcRYAT7">pic.twitter.com/QCPXcRYAT7</a>

Following the point-after attempt, the Chiefs went up with 1:13 remaining.

Then it was Allen's turn as the Bills got the ball back with 1:02 left and all three timeouts on tap. Once again, Davis was the star, catching three passes for 59 yards. The last catch resulted in a 19-yard touchdown with 13 seconds left.


JOSH ALLEN AND GABRIEL DAVIS' 4TH TD GIVES THE BILLS THE LEAD WITH 17 SECONDS.<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BUFvsKC?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BUFvsKC</a> on CBS<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/bCIjXIlFWh">https://t.co/bCIjXIlFWh</a> <a href="https://t.co/DgdL4Pwvnd">pic.twitter.com/DgdL4Pwvnd</a>

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

With 0:13 left and up 36-33, the Bills had a 91% chance to win according to ESPN's win probability.<br><br>You know the rest. <a href="https://t.co/v29uxYdpPS">pic.twitter.com/v29uxYdpPS</a>

Mahomes got the ball back on the Chiefs' 25-yard line with 13 seconds on the clock and three timeouts, and that was more than enough time for him to set up Harrison Butker for the game-tying 49-yard field goal.


BUTKER. GOOD FROM 49. TIE GAME. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLPlayoffs</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BUFvsKC?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BUFvsKC</a> on CBS<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/bCIjXIlFWh">https://t.co/bCIjXIlFWh</a> <a href="https://t.co/BHVNy9Rkek">pic.twitter.com/BHVNy9Rkek</a>

The Chiefs' signal-caller hit Hill for 19 yards and Kelce for 25 more, calling timeouts after each completion to set up the kick with two seconds left.


MAHOMES HAD 13 SECONDS! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLPlayoffs</a> <a href="https://t.co/68g4cJ0sqW">pic.twitter.com/68g4cJ0sqW</a>

The Chiefs won the overtime coin toss and marched down the field in eight plays for 75 yards, capped by Kelce's sideline grab.

Sunday featured a rematch of the 2020 AFC Championship Game, when the Chiefs beat the Bills 38-24.

The game was far closer this time around and featured standout performances from both sides.

Notably, Davis had an NFL playoff record of four touchdowns alongside eight catches and 201 yards. Allen had 397 total yards (329 passing, 68 rushing) and four passing touchdowns.

Mahomes threw for 378 passing yards and three scores, with Hill catching 11 passes for 150 yards. Mahomes also led the Chiefs in rushing with 69 yards and one score, finishing with 447 total yards.

In the end, an instant classic went to the Chiefs in a game that featured two Super Bowl-worthy teams.

Kansas City will be moving on, though, as it searches for its third straight AFC. title.

Notable Performances

Bills QB Josh Allen: 27-of-37, 329 passing yards, 4 TD; 11 carries, 68 rushing yards

Bills WR Gabriel Davis: 8 catches, 201 receiving yards, 4 TD

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes: 33-of-44, 378 passing yards, 3 TD; 7 carries, 69 rushing yards, 1 TD

Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill: 11 catches, 150 receiving yards, 1 TD

Chiefs TE Travis Kelce: 8 catches, 96 receiving yards, 1 TD

Football Doesn't Get Better Than This Generational Mahomes-Allen Duel

Three hundred former players reside in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. All of those men can list off incredible accomplishments that landed them in Canton, Ohio, but only a select and special few were true game-changers that shaped the future of the sport.

Seems like we're already witnessing some revolutionary quarterbacks in Mahomes and Allen.

On Sunday, the pair dueled in a game that felt as if it carried more weight than a typical divisional-round matchup.

Sure, all games this late in the season are important, but Allen and Mahomes showed off quarterback play far above their peers. They dodged defenders all night to find receivers, as neither defense had any answers for them.

The two were simply electric, to the point where 25 points were scored in the final 114 seconds.

Sure, there were some defensive breakdowns, but the fact that the quarterbacks were still playing at peak levels late in the fourth quarter despite an exhausting and emotionally draining game can't be understated.

That's not something you see every day. It was special.

Everyone knows both quarterbacks are already excellent, but it feels like these two are going to lead the NFL into its next generation in the 2020s and 2030s.

For starters, they threw the pigskin like former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway tossed Vortex footballs in the 1990s.

Allen's 75-yard laser to Davis to cut the Chiefs' lead to 23-20 in the third quarter stood out the most:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

THIS THROW BY JOSH ALLEN 🤯<br><br>Gabriel Davis gets his 2nd TD of the night on a 75-yard BOMB<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>) <br> <a href="https://t.co/x0Fj0fhfl2">pic.twitter.com/x0Fj0fhfl2</a>

Quarterbacks don't regularly throw frozen ropes 57 yards down the field on the fly, but Allen is built different.

Next Gen Stats @NextGenStats

Josh Allen's 75-yard TD pass to Gabriel Davis traveled 57.1 yards in the air, Allen's longest touchdown pass of his career.<br><br>🔹 Completion Probability: 31.7%<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StatThat?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StatThat</a> | Powered by <a href="https://twitter.com/awscloud?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@awscloud</a> <a href="https://t.co/X0XfDYyGJZ">pic.twitter.com/X0XfDYyGJZ</a>

Meanwhile, Mahomes continued to defy logic with his dazzling array of throw, tossing one sidearmed to Hill:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

MAHOMES WITH A CHEAT CODE THROW 😮<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/ht3Dx2mnmq">pic.twitter.com/ht3Dx2mnmq</a>

When he wasn't dropping dimes, Mahomes proved to be too slippery for Buffalo's front seven. At times, it appears a Bills defender would sack Mahomes only to see the quarterback evade a grasp and complete a pass or run for a few yards.

This was most evident when Mahomes ran backward 13 yards in the midst of incoming Bills traffic to somehow find Byron Pringle in the end zone for six after the first half's two-minute warning:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Mahomes hits Byron Pringle on a WILD TD throw 🔥<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>) <br> <a href="https://t.co/AcjaxLY7Mn">pic.twitter.com/AcjaxLY7Mn</a>

These highlights happened before the two players combined to lead their teams to 31 total points in 1:54 of regulation plus 4:15 of overtime.

That six-plus minute stretch featured the pinnacle of offensive football, with neither attack slowing down. It was as good as football can get, with two legendary quarterbacks executing their team's plans to perfection.

One of the talking points postgame was the Bills not squibbing the ball to run some precious seconds off the clock before Mahomes got the ball in regulation one last time with 13 ticks left.

But think about that for a moment: It's thirteen seconds, or maybe the time it took to read these last two paragraphs.

Mahomes may be a superhuman quarterback, but leading his team down in time to get into field goal range seemed like a stretch.

With a touchback, the Bills could at least prevent a good return that could have led to a better field position.

It turns out that Mahomes found a different gear, though. He didn't even need all 13 seconds, with the Chiefs calling a timeout with three to go.

Once overtime hit, it felt as though the team that won the coin toss was taking this game. Both quarterbacks were on fire, and both defenses were gassed.

In the end, the coin not rolling one more half-rotation may have led to the Bills going home early.

That begs the question of whether both teams should get offensive chances regardless of whether one scores a TD first. Nonetheless, Mahomes and Allen put on an absolute show.

Teams will (and already have) been trying to copy the Bills' and Chiefs' successes, and attempting to find the next Mahomes or Allen will (and has) been commonplace already.

These two appear to stand out from the rest, though, and that's a big win for pro football as the game continues to evolve thanks to the generational talents.


What's Next?

The Chiefs will host the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.

The winner will face the NFC champion in the Super Bowl, which will occur Feb. 13 from Los Angeles' SoFi Stadium.

The San Francisco 49ers will visit the Los Angeles Rams to determine the NFC's representative. That matchup will occur at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.