It was the greatest football game of all time. It was the highest level of quarterback play there has ever been in a single NFL football game, and it came down to a wild finish in overtime.
It was a sprint, a total track meet from start to finish. The game lasted just over three hours which is very fast considering that it involved so many late scores and an overtime finish, but the AFC Divisional matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills lived up to every bit of the hype. The Bills came into the game as overwhelming national favorites, led by quarterback Josh Allen and the league’s number one ranked defense. All week the pundits picked Buffalo as the superior team and Allen as the superior quarterback.
The predictors and analysts all seemed to have forgotten that Patrick Mahomes is the best football player on planet earth, and when he and all of his weapons are dialed in, the Chiefs are nearly unstoppable.
Mahomes was fantastic all game, throwing for 378 yards, three touchdowns, and rushing for 69 yards and one touchdown. 447 total yards of offense and his decision-making was impeccable all game. He knew when to push the ball down the field, when to take the short passes, and when to sit in the pocket vs when it was time to run. He was decisive.
The Chiefs’ offensive scheme headed into this week was also on point, for countering what they saw earlier in the season vs Buffalo, as well as with some wrinkles for how teams have started to play them recently. One such wrinkle was having wideouts run slants or shallow in routes across the middle of the field, opposite of which side the running back was going. The Chiefs had gained solid yards out of the backfield with running backs for the last several weeks, but now we see another wrinkle, something else defenses will have to look for.
It has been a little bit since we have seen Mahomes start to take over games with his arm and legs, but his 70 rushing yards in this game led the entire NFL for Divisional weekend. All players, not just quarterbacks.
Back and forth the action went all game, and with just seconds to play Josh Allen delivered yet another strike to Gabriel Davis for the touchdown that looked like it would give Buffalo the lead for good. The game looked over. Patrick Mahomes then became the grim reaper, first completing a pass short to Tyreek Hill, on “The Hill Marry” look.
Then came the now infamous play that as seen on NFL Films Mic’d up Kelce and Mahomes both seemed to call their shot on what play to run.
Two plays in 13 seconds. It seems so impossible, but how many times have the Chiefs, and specifically Patrick Mahomes done the unthinkable? The team is never out of it. Time management was flawless, the players have done this so many times they had the exact idea of how much time it would take to move the ball. Awareness of down and distance from Mahomes and Kelce was key, and despite his earlier struggles the team trusted kicker Harrison Butker to atone for prior misses and send it to overtime.
The coin flip and the subsequent drive as Mahomes finished the drive to Kelce in the endzone capped off a brilliant offensive game against the best defense in the NFL. It was remarkable, unprecedented, and very much lived up to the billing of the greatest game of all time. Patrick Mahomes somehow ascended himself, becoming as Andy Reid said the “Grim Reaper”.
The name was fitting, and the faces on the Bills players after the game make the nickname seem even more real. Josh Allen played about as good as any quarterback ever has in a losing effort. In a game that ended similarly to the 2018 AFCCG where Mahomes battled Tom Brady and the New England Patriots till the end, but ultimately didn’t get to see the ball in overtime. The media told the Chiefs to get better on defense, and the Chiefs listened, but we shall see if the media and the NFL have the same reaction for this game.
The win for the Chiefs sets up the fourth consecutive AFCCG at Arrowhead Stadium, an NFL record for any franchise. They will face yet another team in the Cincinnati Bengals that beat them prior in the year, and yet another young talented quarterback in Joe Burrow who as we all have all seen has plenty to work with. Another chance to avenge a loss, and another chance to further the legacy of Mahomes. The kickoff is set for 2 pm Sunday afternoon.