KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was too busy Sunday night to consider the thoughts of most everyone watching, that the Kansas City Chiefs–Buffalo Bills divisional round playoff game was one that’s going to be talked about for a long time.
But afterward, after he and fellow quarterback Josh Allen had gone back-and-forth for more than 64 minutes, combining for four touchdown passes in the final six minutes, he did have a sense of the game’s epic nature.
“To be in this moment in this game against that team, to make a play to walk off a game at Arrowhead, I’ll remember this game for the rest of my life,” Mahomes said after his 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce in overtime gave the Chiefs a 42-36 win.
“It was definitely special to win a game like this at Arrowhead. Obviously the Super Bowl was probably No. 1 for me but this one is right up there. To be able to come back a couple of times, get points when we needed to get points, score touchdowns, get in field goal range, I’ll remember it forever.”
The Bills and Chiefs combined for 25 points in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, the second-most among any game in the Super Bowl era. Mahomes and Allen each came into the game after five-touchdown passing performances the previous week and neither disappointed. The game was the first in NFL history with both quarterbacks throwing for at least 300 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions and with at least 50 rushing yards.
The Chiefs will move on to Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Cincinnati Bengals (3 p.m. ET, CBS). The Bills’ season is over.
Here, in the words of Mahomes, Allen and others involved, is how the final minutes played out to send the teams on their separate paths.
Rex Ryan and Dan Orlovsky are in awe over Josh Allen’s and Patrick Mahomes’ performances in the AFC divisional round.
1:54 to go: Bills take first lead since first quarter
What happened: Bills end 17-play, 7:01 drive with 27-yard touchdown pass from Allen to receiver Gabriel Davis on fourth-and-13.
Score: Bills 29, Chiefs 26
Coach Sean McDermott: “I looked at [Davis] on the sideline and I said, ‘Hey, you’re gonna make the play.’ And he darn sure made two big-time plays for us down the stretch there.”
Davis: “[Allen] is always going to make a play with the ball in his hand, we got a lot of trust and faith in him. He’s the best quarterback in the NFL and I stand by that and I know that when it’s time to make plays, I know he’s gonna be there to make them.”
McDermott: “Tremendous [drive]. We knew we were going to have to be very resilient out here with the environment the way it is and how good of a team they are.”
Center Mitch Morse: “I wish you guys could have been in that fourth down, I think it was the first fourth-down conversion with a minute and change. It was just a lot of love. Guys saying they loved each other, ‘Let’s execute, let’s do this for each other.'”
1:02 to go: Chiefs retake lead in less than a minute
What happened: Mahomes connects with receiver Tyreek Hill on 64-yard touchdown pass to complete a five-play, 75-yard drive in 52 seconds.
Score: Chiefs 33, Bills 29
Hill: “I always have faith that each and every time I step on the field, I am going to score. Sometimes it may not happen, but that time it was two-man coverage, the safety was very deep, the corner was inside leveraging. That is just Pat, you know, knowing exactly when I was going to break. Perfect timing, perfect execution, perfect playcall and the rest is history. I was able to use my speed getting into the end zone.”
McDermott: “They’ve got great speed. A 5-yard catch can turn into a 50-yard run after catch. You saw the one. We were in two-man I think after the second-to-last touchdown by our offense when we went up a little bit there and Tyreek made a play and then he took it to the house. So, they challenge you defensively because of the speed that they have on offense.”
Hill on whether he should have taken a knee before the end zone, or “churched” as the Chiefs call it, to leave less time for the Bills to rally: “Nobody said church mode. Coach [Andy Reid] didn’t say church mode. [Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy] didn’t say church mode. Patrick Mahomes didn’t say church mode. So I’m going to get a touchdown. Why not? Plus I had a crazy touchdown celebration planned but Pat, he like stopped me.
Reid on whether Hill should have churched: “We wanted him to score. We probably would have liked to have had less time on the clock. But he was battling on that. There wasn’t necessarily going to be any slowing him down. Just to get there was a feat.”
0:13 to go: Allen connects with Davis for fourth TD pass
Stephen A. Smith laments the Bills’ inability to stop the Chiefs on their final drive after Josh Allen’s remarkable performance.
What happened: Bills go 75 yards in six plays, scoring to get within seconds of advancing to the AFC title game.
Score: Bills 36, Chiefs 33
Davis: “I talk about this all the time, but when your number’s called, you have to make the play. I knew it was going to be a night like that tonight, especially knowing that we have guys like Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley that will be getting doubled more often than I would. So, I was just prepared for anything coming my way and I was able to, again, make the most of the plays that were called.”
0:13 to 0:00: Chiefs drive 44 yards for tying FG
What happened: Kicker Harrison Butker ties the score with a 49-yard field goal, set up by passes of 19 yards to Hill and 25 yards to Kelce.
Score: Bills 36, Chiefs 36
Kelce: “It is a pretty common defense in a situation like that. The defense will try and take away the sideline throws to give you more of the seams and the middle of the field open. That and they are soft so you can get a head start. … I told [Mahomes] I am probably not going to run the route that is called. I am just going to run to the open area. Midway through his cadence, he was screaming at me at the line of scrimmage, ‘Do it. Do it. Do it.’ I was just like, ‘All right, here we go boys.’ It was just a little backyard football with a couple of seconds left that gave us an opportunity to take the game into overtime.”
Mahomes: “The first play, we hit Tyreek and he got as much as he could, got down, and then the play to Travis, it was kind of a thing where he wasn’t necessarily supposed to do that, but after the timeout, we got a look at what the defense was doing, and he actually said it to me, he was like, ‘If we do it again, I’m going to take it down the middle between both the guys guarding me.’ And he went up the field, I gave him the ball and he got into field goal range.”
Morse: “When that quarterback in that offense is at the helm, the game’s not over. They executed and that’s why they’re continuing and we’re not.”
Hill: “Nobody panicked. Nobody was like, ‘Oh, the game is over’ with 13 seconds left. We just went out and made plays and the rest is history. We have a great head coach, a great offensive coordinator, and obviously a great quarterback. We also have the playmakers to go along with it.”
McDermott on handling the Chiefs final regulation drive: “I don’t want to really get into specifics. Just overall, there’s things we talked about and we can just execute better and that starts with me and goes all the way down. I don’t want to get into specifics right now. I’m really proud of the guys and their effort. Obviously they made a couple plays down the stretch. So I’ll just leave it at that right now.”
Allen: “I’m thinking it’s Pat Mahomes on the other side. They made some good plays there at the end, and unfortunately the coin toss went the way it went. But I mean, again, scoring with 13 seconds left, it was an unbelievable play by him.”
Butker, who missed a 50-yarder wide to the right at the end of the first half: “I adjusted my aiming point too much [on the missed kick]. … After that missed kick, I kind of hit myself on the butt and said I just need to stick with the game plan I had in warm-up and that’s what I did for the 49-yarder. It’s almost like I had a practice kick with the miss and I was able to bounce back and take what I could from the miss to help with the 49-yarder.”
10:45 to go in OT: Chiefs don’t give Bills another chance
Patrick Mahomes throws a game-winning touchdown pass to Travis Kelce in overtime as the Chiefs beat the Bills.
What happened: Allen never gets a chance as Mahomes & Co. drive 75 yards in eight plays. Mahomes throws 8 yards to Kelce for the winning touchdown.
Final score: Chiefs 42, Bills 36
Reid on the TD catch, which officials had to review: “The overtime play was just a double move off of one of Kelce’s favorite routes that he has and that we call quite a bit. As a matter of fact, he had a big catch on it earlier in the game. Then, it’s just a double move off of that play and he made a great catch. That was a heck of a catch. It was such a heck of a catch that the official kept me right there and said, ‘The game’s not over,’ for, it felt like, five minutes. Everybody was celebrating and I’m going, ‘Good luck getting everybody back.'”
Kelce: “I knew right away that it was a touchdown. I got full control of it and got both feet in the ground.”
Safety Micah Hyde: “We limited them most of the game on those big, explosive plays. And then, it just got out of the gate. Like I said, we take pride in not doing that. And that’s why it hurts even more because we were able to allow them to do that.”
Safety Jordan Poyer: “Obviously not the way we wanted to end our season. Frick, man, offense did everything they had to do. Defense, we had to go out there and make a stop, weren’t able to do it. It’s just a tough feeling, man.”
Allen on not getting the ball back: “The rules are what they are. I can’t complain about that because if it was the other way around, we’d be celebrating, too. It is what it is at this point. We just didn’t make enough plays tonight.”
Mahomes on the overtime rule: “It worked out well for us this time. Whenever you got two teams going back-and-forth like you’re going, it kind of stinks that you don’t get to see the other guy go, but I’ll take the win this time. Obviously, it hurt me last time [in the January 2019 AFC Championship Game against the Patriots]. All you can do is play the way the rules are explained and that’s what we did today.”
Offensive tackle Dion Dawkins on the OT rule: “We should never let a football game be determined from a coin — like, I think that’s the most craziest rule in sports. You can fight your entire fight the whole game and then the game comes down to a 50-50 chance of a coin toss? Like, this ain’t Vegas. We’re not at the casino table.”
Allen: “Pat played amazing. I’ve got a lot of respect for him and the Chiefs as a whole. They made one more play than we did. That’s what it came down to.”
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