HomeFootball DirtBills victory paves the way for another thrilling Allen-Mahomes showdown

Bills victory paves the way for another thrilling Allen-Mahomes showdown

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When Josh Allen picked apart the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday, he didn’t just earn a playoff win. He earned a shot at revenge. Allen’s Buffalo Bills stomped an outmatched Steelers team early, then held on for a 31-17 win. Now Buffalo gets to face the rival that knocked it out of the playoffs two of the last three seasons. And, unlike in 2021 and 2022, the Bills get the opportunity to face the Kansas City Chiefs at home. Arrowhead Stadium was the backdrop for the the last four clashes between the two recent AFC powerhouses. The 2021 Conference Championship was a rote affair between a scrappy Bills team and a much stronger Chiefs side in a 38-24 Kansas City win. The 2022 Divisional Round matchup between the two, however, is one of the most thrilling postseason games of the millennium; a game where the Bills took a 36-33 lead with 13 seconds to play and still lost. A 2023 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals ruined Buffalo’s plan for a rematch last winter. That left this feud on simmer through two regular season matchups — both in western Missouri, both one possession Bills wins. That includes a potential game-winning score negated by Kadarius Toney’s inability to understand the rules of football. TRAVIS KELCE LATERAL TO TONEY GETS CALLED BACK 😭 — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 11, 2023 That leaves the latest round of this heavyweight fight the most highly anticipated game on the Divisional Round slate. Patrick Mahomes hasn’t quite been himself. A combination of uncharacteristic throws and a weak supporting cast — his targets combined for a league-high 44 drops in the regular season — made the two-time MVP look mortal in stretches despite an AFC West championship. Allen, on the other hand, has looked a lot like Josh Allen. This embodies all the good and bad that comes with it. His 18 interceptions were a career high. But just looking at his turnovers fails to take into account how he can change a game with just one broken play. JOSH ******* ALLEN!!!! 📺: @NFLonCBS pic.twitter.com/PdKuDqemFI — Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 15, 2024 That’s what we’ve got on tap next weekend. Let’s take a look at the four games that preceded it in order to understand why the hype meter is so high. Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports Honestly? This one was kind of a clunker. The Bills announced their arrival as a power in the AFC with the first two playoff wins of Allen’s career. Then they ran into Mahomes in a season in which he threw for more than 4,700 yards in only 15 games. He added 325 more and three touchdowns as the Chiefs took a 38-15 lead in the fourth quarter and cruised to a Super Bowl invite. Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports That AFC title game was merely the appetizer — well, complimentary breadsticks — to this prime rib dinner. The Chiefs led by five points at the two minute warning, only for Allen to deliver a 29-yard touchdown strike to Gabriel Davis and take a 29-26 lead. Mahomes threw three incompletions on his next four passes, but the fifth was a 13-yard strike Tyreek Hill that turned into a 64-yard touchdown: Allen got the ball back at his own 25 with 62 seconds to play and all three timeouts. All he needed was four completions to take a 36-33 lead with 13 seconds left in the game: This was, incredibly, too much time to leave Kansas City. A 19-yard completion was followed by a 25-yarder before Harrison Butker’s 49-yard field goal sailed through the uprights as time expired. The Chiefs won the overtime coin toss and marched 75 yards for a win that offered Allen no final chance at rebuttal. It was a glorious, unfair ending to a wonderful game. Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports 2022: Bills 24, Chiefs 20 Kansas City led a back-and-forth affair 20-17 when Allen got the ball at his own 24-yard line with 5:31 to play. From there, he orchestrated a 12-play touchdown drive, capped with a 14-yard strike to tight end Dawson Knox. Mahomes got the ball back with 64 seconds left to play. After a first down defensive holding penalty, his deep shot to Skyy Moore was intercepted by Taron Johnson, preserving the Bills’ road win. 2023: Bills 20, Chiefs 17 Buffalo had a 14 percent chance to make it to the playoffs after limping into a late bye week at 6-6. Standing in its way was an 8-4 Chiefs team trying to get back on track after a surprising Week 13 loss to the Green Bay Packers. The Chiefs’ struggles continued thanks to an early 14-0 deficit, but some clutch play from Travis Kelce and rookie Rashee Rice helped tie the game 17-all by the fourth quarter. Tyler Bass’s 39-yard field goal with 1:54 to play set up what could have been a classic game-winning two-minute drill from Patrick Mahomes. For a moment, Kansas City delivered. We got this glorious, all-timer of a lateral from Kelce to Kadarius Toney for what could have been the game-winning touchdown. Except, whoops, Toney lined up offside. All 22 angle of the Kelce lateral/Toney offside play. Doesn’t appear Toney once checks with the sideline judge on his side from this. Also amazing job still from Kelce finding him in space. pic.twitter.com/UyiVABuBSp — Shaun Newkirk (@Shauncore) December 11, 2023 The Bills held on to win, and *that* was the last time these teams saw each other. Man, oh man, the Divisional Round rematch between these two is gonna rule.

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