Kansas City, Missouri — In a match where no one gave up or stopped scoring, it was the toss of a coin that was decisive.
Patrick Mahomes found Travis Kelce in the far corner of the promised zone early in overtime, and the Kansas City Chiefs rallied to beat the Buffalo Bills 42-36 on Sunday in a memorable playoff artillery duel.
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“Everything worked out for us this time,” said Mahomes, who will play his fourth consecutive AFC final.
The lead changed hands three times in just the last two minutes of regulation of this divisional matchup.
Then Harrison Butker, who had missed a field goal and an extra point, hit from 49 yards for Kansas City as time expired to force overtime.
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The Chiefs won on the toss of the coin and rushed into the opposite field against the highest-ranked defense in the NFL, which by then, however, was absolutely molten.
Mahomes’ final delivery put the Chiefs back in the AL final. They will face the Cincinnati Bengals next Sunday night, in pursuit of a ticket to the Super Bowl.
“When you’ve got two teams scoring, it’s disgusting that you don’t have a chance to attack for an equalizer,” Mahomes said of what happened with Buffalo. “But all you can do is play by the rules out there, and that’s what we did.”
Mahomes finished with 378 passing yards and three touchdown passes, including a 64-yarder to Tyreek Hill in the electrifying closing minutes of regulation. For the second year in a row, the Chiefs eliminated the Bills at Arrowhead Stadium.
“The guys never wavered,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid emphasized. “We are talking here about an epic match. Well, that’s how the players took it. They had great respect for Buffalo and knew this was going to be a battle, so they kept fighting.”
Josh Allen did everything humanly possible to prevent it. He threw a touchdown pass for Gabriel Davis’ go-ahead touchdown with 1:54 remaining in regulation.
With 13 seconds left, he notched his career-best fourth touchdown drive in the playoffs, again with Davis.
Allen finished with 329 passing yards. Davis totaled eight receptions for 201 yards.
But the Bills, who had blown out the Chiefs in October, suffered their ninth straight postseason road loss. His last victory in the playoffs and in foreign fields dates back to the American final after the 1992 campaign.
In a postseason game that will go down in the history books, the Bills and Chiefs engaged in a 58-minute give-and-take duel.
The remaining two minutes of regular time, as well as the overtime, were something else, unforgettable.