The Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills have met five times since October 2020, and the latest iteration was another epic competition.
Before the Bills eventually topped the Leaders 24-20 in the battle between the AFC’s heaviest heavyweight teams, the game was tied after the first, second and third quarters.
Andy Reed, the head coach, even pointed out how fast the movement is – a description usually reserved for playoff games.
“It was a great fight,” Reed said. “The guys are competitive. They know each other.”
Perhaps the most familiar players between the two opponents are the midfielders: Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.
Arguably the two best players in the game, they are also the two highest paid in terms of total contract value and duration. 27-year-old Mahomes earns $450 over 10 years while 26-year-old Allen earns $258 million over six years.
Just as the game was played equally well, so was the quarterback. Entering the first half, the two lanes reversed each other, completing 13 of 23 one-touch attempts.
Allen was exciting, completing 27 of 40 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns, and also produced a highlight reel, 16 yards, where he hampers the safety of Justin Reed.
“He’s a great midfielder,” Mahomes said. “He is physically gifted, he can throw, he can run. He can really do everything.”
Mahomes has also demonstrated the myriad skills in his game, although critics will understandably point to Mahomes’ objection to closing the game. He still shoots for 338 yards and two touchdowns against a defense that entered the game first in points allowed and second in yards.
He also showed the usual Mahomes charm when he slipped past Greg Russo and Daquan Jones before throwing his body for 42 yard touchdown to JuJu Smith-Schuster.
What makes the Allen-Mahomes match (and thus the rivalry between the Chiefs Bells) so compelling is that they formed the kind of mutual respect Peyton Manning and Tom Brady used to have for each other when their teams competed for supremacy over the AFC.
In fact, Allen and Mahomes united against Brady and Aaron Rodgers in the match, a 12-hole alternating match play competition. At Wayne Golf Club in Paradise, Nevada during the summer.
Mahomes spoke glowingly about Allen during the week leading up to Sunday’s game.
“He’s a great man,” said Mahomes. “Obviously when we’re on the football field we compete against each other and want to beat each other’s teams, but I have a lot of respect for him.”
This game may not have featured the theatrical performances of the last Mahomes-Allen meeting on the field. In that 2021 AFC playoff, the teams combined for 31 points, 296 yards, and 13 first touchdowns. after, after The two-minute warning, but Sunday’s competition margin was only four points.
With 1:04 left, Mahomes looked like he had every chance of another epic comeback. Then, after not completing it, Mahomes attempted a corner route for the novice Skiy Moore.
But Beals, who played the cover of chance in the play, was pressured by arrogant Von Miller, then Matt forced Milan Mahomes to reset before Taron Johnson jumped the road to Mahomes intercept key.
“He was trying to make something happen,” Andy Reed said. “You usually do.”
Mahomes may get a chance at redemption. Just as the teams met in the playoffs last year, one can see two of the NFL’s best games in January of 2023.
“If we keep playing well and play well,” Andy Reed said. “I’m sure he (could) come back.”