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Wow! Mahomes-Allen duel one for the ages as Chiefs edge Bills in OT

Four scores in final two minutes of regulation sets up unlikely Chiefs overtime win

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In one of the most thrilling games in NFL playoff history — and in perhaps the most clutch example of back-and-forth, elite-level QB one-upmanship in any league game, ever — Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs knocked off Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills in overtime, 42-36 on Sunday.

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After winning the OT coin toss, it took Mahomes and the K.C. offence just eight plays to march 75 yards for the winning touchdown — a perfectly aimed eight-yard Mahomes lob into the end zone to his trusty tight end Travis Kelce, who got two feet down in the corner, with ball secured, before tumbling out of bounds.

With stunning poise and otherworldly play, Mahomes and Allen produced four — yes, four — scores AFTER the two-minute warning to close out the fourth quarter, prior to the Mahomes-to-Kelce winner in OT. Twenty-five points in the final 1:54 of regulation, to be precise.

It was hard to believe.

And so, for the fourth straight year, the AFC championship game will be played at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, next Sunday at 3 p.m. EST against the rolling Cincinnati Bengals. On the line: A berth in Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

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For the Bills, this loss must be the most gutting in franchise history. Yes, even over the four Super Bowl defeats, and the Miracle in Music City. Total gut-punch. The Bills had this game won with 13 seconds left. But no.

Buffalo wideout Gabriel Davis caught four touchdown passes — an NFL playoff first. Even that is a down-story factoid from this classic.

“We’re all hurt. Sick to our stomach,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott said. “It stings. I’m not going to sugar-coat it.”

The wild, transcendent ending went down like this.

The game was tied 14-14 at halftime, and with the drama and quarterbacking heroics already red-lining, Kansas City took a 26-21 lead with 8:55 left in the fourth quarter.

Then offensive fireworks the likes of which we might never see again gripped millions watching on TV across North America. Viewership numbers ought to be through the roof.

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After the K.C. kickoff, Allen and the Bills slowly began driving down the field, down only five. Allen kept giving Buffalo a new set of downs with his legs, mostly — most crucially on a 4 th -and-4 from the Chiefs’ 30 with 2:48 left. On that play he dropped to throw, nearly got sacked, moved around the backfield for what seemed like half-an-hour, then finally reached the right sideline, along which he tight-roped for a six-yard gain.

Three botched plays set up another fourth down, this time after the two-minute warning, with 13 yards to gain from the K.C. 27, after a blown-up screen to running back Devin Singletary on third down lost seven.

If the Bills failed to convert here, the Chiefs would be in great position to run out the clock. Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll called a five-receiver pass play, while Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo chose not to blitz, rushing just four.

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The lack of pressure allowed Allen to safely dance around the backfield, until he spotted a quarterback’s dream: Davis, the wideout who’d already caught two TDs at that point, ran a fake out-route down the left side, and the Chiefs cornerback covering him totally bit on the fake and fell down. Davis ran into to the end zone all alone, and Allen lofted a perfect pass into his hands.

Touchdown.

Buffalo went for two and got it, when Allen rolled left, looked like he was going to try to run it in, then lofted a pass to the back of the end zone, where receiver Stefon Diggs snared it.

Buffalo 29, Kansas City 26 — with just 1:54 left.

Game winner? Not even close.

On the fifth play after the kickoff, from the K.C. 36, Mahomes threw to his incredibly fast, smurfy wideout Tyreek Hill on a crosser, and he caught it in stride and was gone, veering up the right side and leaving Bills defenders in his wake as he sprinted 64 yards for a score. Harrison Butker converted with 1:02 left.

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Kansas City 33, Buffalo 29.

Moments after that lightning bolt, CBS showed Allen calmly assuring teammates on the Buffalo sideline that the Bills would still win.

He was nearly right. Should have been right, actually.

In just six plays Allen passed the Bills 75 yards for the go-ahead score, culminating with what should have stood as the winner — a 19-yard strike to Davis breaking across from the left to the middle, then quickly into the end zone with just 13 seconds left.

Tyler Bass converted as Buffalo took a 36-33 lead.

“(No.) 17, Josh, played his ass off, pardon my language,” Mahomes said afterward.

But here the Bills opted to have their strong-legged kicker, Bass, kick deep, for a touchback. Crucially, no time ticked off the clock. Mahomes and crew still had 13 seconds to try to get a couple deep completions to hopefully be able to attempt a game-tying field goal.

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And that’s exactly what the Chiefs did, against Buffalo’s totally gassed defenders. Mahomes quickly hit Hill for 19 yards, timeout. Then Kelce for 25, timeout. Butker forced overtime with a 49-yard field goal.

Buffalo coaches should have had Bass squib the kickoff, to burn up around half of the remaining 13 seconds. They’ll never live down that they didn’t.

“We talk about a lot of things,” McDermott said, when asked about Bass kicking deep there. “I’m just going to leave it at the execution, and that starts with me.”

Look, as long as you weren’t a fan of either team, this game had to have been an absolute joy to watch. The Mahomes vs. Allen prime-time show proved as entertaining as we’d all hoped.

“I mean, it was a heck of a game,” Mahomes said. “Tyreek and Travis made the plays that won (it).”

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Said Allen: “It sucks the way this happened … It’s tough to take this in … They made one more play than we did. That’s what it came down to. We’ve got to find a way to be better next year, and accomplish what we want to accomplish.”

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

After three weekend NFL divisional playoff games of mostly sputtering and sloppy offence — if ultimately thrilling endings — the Chiefs and Bills gave us what we wanted, and needed, after all those turnovers and sacks.

The ‘wow’ plays jammed onto our wide-screens down the stretch by Mahomes and Allen was almost beyond comprehension. These two indeed are the NFL’s young superstar, dual-threat quarterbacks without equal. They specialize in off-the-cuff creativity, transforming their special talents into often breath-taking gains and scores, nearly all of which other NFL passers cannot replicate.

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The impressive final stats don’t come close to underscoring all of that. Here they are anyway.

For Mahomes: 33-of-44 (75%) for 378 yards, three TDs, no interceptions.

For Allen: 27-of-37 (73%) for 329 yards, four TDs, no interceptions.

Each even led his team in rushing — Mahomes with 69 and a TD on seven carries, Allen with 68 on 11.

In a phrase a radio announcer coined generations ago, these two men did everything but sell tickets and blow up the football. And we’re all the better for it.

John Kryk now writes a weekly newsletter on NFL matters. You can have it automatically dropped into your email inbox on Wednesdays simply by signing up — for free — at torontosun.com/newsletters/

JoKryk@postmedia.com

@JohnKryk

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