Bills vs Chiefs Divisional Matchup: Game of the Decade?

In the final game of the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, there was a rematch of the AFC Championship last year and a rematch of week 5 of the regular season, the Buffalo Bills traveling to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. In the AFC Championship game last year, the Chiefs took down the Bills 38 to 24. However, in week 5 of this past season, the Bills punished the Chiefs 38 to 20. The Chiefs were slight favorites to win this game, as they opened as a one-point betting favorite.

Bills vs. Chiefs score and reactions: NFL playoffs AFC Divisional result as Kansas  City outlasts Buffalo and Josh Allen in OT - The Athletic
Photo provided by The Athletic

The game started as flashy as many expected it would, the Bills converted on two fourth-down conversions on the opening drive, with the second one being a one-yard touchdown run by Devin Singletary. The Chiefs answered right back with an eight-yard touchdown run from Patrick Mahomes. The second quarter was filled with even more back and forth action, with neither team scoring until the 1:58 mark where Mahomes converted on a 2-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Byron Pringle to take a 14-7 lead. With 42 seconds left in the half, Allen fired a touchdown to Gabriel Davis from 18 yards out to tie it up. While the Chiefs had a nice drive at the end of the half, kicker Harrison Butker missed a field goal to keep the game tied at 14 after two quarters.

The second half of this matchup is where things really heated up. The Chiefs started off the half with a Harrison Butker field goal to take a 3 point lead. Following a stop on defense, Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman took a jet sweep handoff 25 yards to the endzone to extend the lead to 9 due to Butker missing an extra point. The Bills didn’t hesitate to strike back, as Gabriel Davis took a Josh Allen pass 75 yards for a touchdown for his second touchdown of the night. Going into the final quarter, the Bills trailed 23 to 21. 

After back-to-back punts from both teams to open the final 15 minutes, the Chiefs found themselves at Buffalo’s 16-yard line after a big punt return from Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs ended up settling for 3 points to take a five-point lead with just under 9 minutes to go. On the Bills’ next drive, they were faced with a 4th and 4 with 2:48 left in the game. Josh Allen rushed for 6 yards, and the drive continued. Then, with two minutes left, on 4th and 13, Josh Allen converted on a 27-yard laser to Gabriel Davis once again to take a 3 point lead after a Stefon Diggs catch on the two-point conversion. The Chiefs would fire right back with a Patrick Mahomes 64 yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill to take a 4 point lead with a little over a minute remaining. After another two huge catches for Gabriel Davis on the following Bills drive, he scored his 4th touchdown, an NFL record in the playoffs. This gave the Bills a 3 point lead with a mere 13 seconds left in regulation. The game seemed all but over, as getting into field goal range from their own 25-yard line with under 15 seconds left seemed nearly impossible. However, Patrick Mahomes delivered a 19-yard pass to Tyreek Hill before calling the first of two remaining timeouts. On the following play, Mahomes hit tight end Travis Kelce for a gain of 25. With only 3 seconds left, the Chiefs called a timeout, to kick the game-tying 49-yard field goal to send the game into overtime, with the score at 36 all. It was one of the most amazing drives to set up a game-tying play in the history of the NFL unquestionably.

The beginning of overtime was one of the more talked-about moments of this game, as the Chiefs won the coin toss and were able to start with the ball. The current NFL overtime rules say that if the team that receives the ball first scores a touchdown, the game is over and the other team will not receive a chance with the ball unless the receiving team settles for a field goal or does not score. Regardless of all of the arguments surrounding these rules, the Chiefs received the ball first in this game. Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense moved down the field effortlessly and ended the game on a walk-off Travis Kelce 8 yard touchdown reception. 

The duel between two of the most promising and talented quarterbacks in the league lived up to expectations and provided viewers with maybe the greatest game in the decade or longer. While the Kansas City Chiefs move on to the AFC Championship to go against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Bills will return back to Buffalo with revenge on their mind next season.

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