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 beat the Chiefs 24-20 in the battle between the two AFC heavyweights, the match was tied after the first, second and third quarters.
Chiefs manager Andy Reid also noted how fast the action was, a description usually reserved for playoff matches.
“It was a great battle. You love these games, “Reid said.” The kids are competitive. They know each other. ”
Perhaps the most familiar players of the two rivals are the two quarterbacks: Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.
Arguably the two best players in the game, they are also the two highest paid in terms of overall contract value and duration. 27-year-old Mahomes makes $ 450 in 10 years while 26-year-old Allen makes $ 258 million in six years.
Just as the game was played evenly, so was the quarterback’s game. Entering the interval both passersby had mirrored each other, completing 13 of 23 attempts with a touchdown.
Allen was sensational the whole time, completing 27 of 40 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns and also producing a highlight-reel, 16-yard run, in which Justin Reid passed safety.
“He’s a great quarterback,” Mahomes said. “Physically gifted, he can throw, he can run. He can really do everything ”.
Mahomes also displayed his game’s myriad skills, though critics will understandably point to Mahomes’ game interception. He still threw for 338 yards and two touchdowns against a defense that came into play ranked first in points allowed and second in yards.
He also displayed Mahomes’ usual magic when he escaped defensive linemen Greg Rousseau and DaQuan Jones before pouncing on his body to a 42-yard touchdown to JuJu Smith-Schuster.
What makes the Allen-Mahomes bout (and therefore the Chiefs-Bills rivalry) so compelling is that they formed the kind of mutual respect that Peyton Manning and Tom Brady had for each other when their teams fought for the supremacy of the AFC.
In fact, Allen and Mahomes joined forces against Brady and Aaron Rodgers in The Match, a 12-hole alternative-stroke match play competition at Wynn Golf Club in Paradise, Nevada during the summer.
Mahomes spoke brilliantly about Allen during the week leading up to Sunday’s game.
“He’s a great guy,” Mahomes said. “Obviously when we are on the football field, we are competing against each other and we want to beat each other’s teams, but I have a lot of respect for him.”
This game may not have featured the theatricality of the latest Mahomes-Allen match on the pitch. In that 2021 AFC Division playoff match, teams combined for 31 points, 296 yards and 13 first downs after the two-minute warning, but Sunday’s race was a back and forth affair.
And with 1:04 left, Mahomes seemed to have every chance for another epic comeback. Then, after an incompleteness, Mahomes tried a corner for rookie Skky Moore.
But the Bills, who played bullet cover throughout the game, came under pressure from onboard rusher Von Miller, and then Matt Milano forced Mahomes to reset before Taron Johnson jumped the route for the Mahomes key interception.
“He was trying to make something happen,” Andy Reid said. “Normally it does.”
Mahomes could have a chance at redemption. Just as the teams met in the playoffs last year, January 2023 saw two of the best teams in the NFL face off.
“If we keep playing well and they play well,” said Andy Reid. “I’m sure (could) come back around.”