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Highlights from the Chiefs’ epic overtime victory over the Bills

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrates after beating the Buffalo Bills in overtime Sunday night in Kansas City, Mo. (Reed Hoffmann/AP)
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tom Brady was only minutes removed from his early playoff exit and Aaron Rodgers still too “fresh” off the Green Bay Packers’ loss a night earlier to contemplate his future. Turns out, neither really needed to give an answer.

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The future of the NFL was confirmed Sunday evening in Kansas City, where a quarterback duel between the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and the Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen flipped the page to the league’s next era.

Chiefs win OT thriller as Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen usher in new era for quarterbacks

In a rematch of the AFC Championship game here almost exactly a year ago, Mahomes again guided the Chiefs to victory, edging Allen’s Bills in a 42-36 overtime thriller that featured nine total touchdowns and 18 points in the final two minutes. The victory, coupled with a Cincinnati Bengals victory a day before, ensured Kansas City will host the conference title game for the fourth consecutive season, a feat no other team has ever achieved.

Continue reading for highlights and real-time analysis from Sunday’s game.

9:57 p.m.
Headshot of Mark Maske
Mark Maske: A team doesn’t qualify as a dynasty by winning one Super Bowl title.So call the Chiefs are a mini-dynasty.They’re headed to a fourth straight AFC title game, and they’ll be a solid favorite when they host the upstart Cincinnati Bengals next Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. They’re one victory from reaching a third straight Super Bowl.This was a far-bumpier-than-usual ride through the regular season for the Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes was throwing too many interceptions through the season’s early going. The Chiefs were 3-4 at one point. But Mahomes reassessed. Andy Reid didn’t panic. The Chiefs stuck to what they do. They got back to being the Chiefs.And now, after a memorably great game against the Bills, they’re right back to where they’ve become so accustomed to being in late January.
Mark Maske, Sports reporter covering the NFL
9:51 p.m.
Headshot of Mark Maske
Mark Maske: What a game.The first three games of this NFL divisional playoff weekend were decided by field goals as time expired in regulation. Yet this Bills-Chiefs game is better than all of them. And now it’s headed to overtime.Patrick Mahomes vs. Josh Allen could be the NFL’s next great QB rivalry has been a quarterbacking duel as good as they come. They traded clutch plays down the stretch and the lead changed hands three times in the game’s final two minutes.Mahomes had only 13 seconds to get the Chiefs down the field for the tying field goal. And he did it, no problem whatsoever. Harrison Butker didn’t even have to make a particularly difficult kick.The most amazing thing is that the most consequential plays of the night are still to come.
Mark Maske, Sports reporter covering the NFL
9:51 p.m.
Headshot of Jerry Brewer
Jerry Brewer: Let’s keep it simple: Two quarterbacks have never played better down the stretch than Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes did to end regulation. Probably, in some corner of history, there’s a comp somewhere. But this collective performance is, at worst, as great as we’ve ever seen. Splendid, flawless football — and the message is clear: With Allen, Mahomes and the rest of the elite 26-and-under quarterbacks in the NFL, the future is also the present now.
Jerry Brewer, Sports columnist
9:35 p.m.
Headshot of Mark Maske
Mark Maske: That was actually too good by the Chiefs.They scored too fast.They made it look too easy.There’s still 1:02 remaining for Josh Allen and the Bills.Patrick Mahomes took advantage of his opportunity. Now it’s Allen’s turn again.
Mark Maske, Sports reporter covering the NFL
9:33 p.m.
Headshot of Mark Maske
Mark Maske: That’s beyond unreal by Josh Allen and the Bills.The fourth-and-four run by Allen was otherworldly.The fourth-and-13 touchdown pass was clutch, even if it resulted from a slip and fall by a Chiefs defender.The two-point conversion was big, giving the Bills a three-point lead. But it’s far from over. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs still have 1:54 left on the clock. That’s forever.
Mark Maske, Sports reporter covering the NFL
9:33 p.m.
Headshot of Jerry Brewer
Jerry Brewer: Win or lose, Josh Allen should be remembered fondly for how he willed the Buffalo Bills on that touchdown drive — and in this game overall. He gave his team a 29-26 lead with his legs, with his arm, with his guts. He refused to be denied, and at 6-foot-5 and about 240 pounds, it’s hard to deny him even on a bad day. That seven-minute, 17-play, 75-yard drive was one of the most incredible get-on-my-back drives I’ve seen. And he completed the two-point conversion. Masterful.
Jerry Brewer, Sports columnist
9:12 p.m.
Headshot of Mark Maske
Mark Maske: The Chiefs outsmarted themselves and got too cute on the third-and-one play.An option play on a direct snap out of wildcat formation?Why?It just wasn’t necessary. You have Patrick Mahomes. You have Travis Kelce. You have Tyreek Hill. You have a running game that has been productive on this night.Just line up and run a play.
Mark Maske, Sports reporter covering the NFL
8:58 p.m.
Headshot of Mark Maske
Mark Maske: This is shaping up as a memorably great NFL playoff weekend.Each of the first three games of this divisional playoff round has been won by the road team with a field goal as time expired—Bengals over Titans, 49ers over Packers, Rams over Buccaneers.That could bode well for the Bills in this game as they try to make road teams go 4-0 this weekend.
Mark Maske, Sports reporter covering the NFL
8:52 p.m.
Headshot of Jerry Brewer
Jerry Brewer: The little plays are adding up for Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City. Sometimes, offensive simplicity is just as effective as the fireworks. Like every opponent that plays Kansas City, the Bills aren’t allowing Tyreek Hill and Kansas City’s speed to kill them on deep throws. So the Chiefs are creating explosive plays by throwing short, getting yards after the catch and bursting through for nice gains on the ground occasionally. In the third quarter, Mahomes went 9 for 9 for 69 yards and a touchdown. His efficiency is opening up the game. And Kansas City has already rushed for 160 yards.
Jerry Brewer, Sports columnist
8:01 p.m.
Headshot of Jerry Brewer
Jerry Brewer: Give Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes credit for their patience in the first half. Both are showing that they learned some valuable lessons during the regular season about taking what the defense gives them and not being too greedy in the hunt for big plays. At times this season, both struggled to do that, and it led to some uneven results. In this game, neither player has been able to throw the ball down the field the way they’d like to. The Bills’ secondary is too elite for Mahomes to take too many chances. The Chiefs, even without Tyrann Mathieu, are playing some of their best football on the back end. So early on, both quarterbacks are averaging fewer than seven yards per pass attempt, but both have been efficient on short passes and eager to take those plays, delivering accurate passes on time and hoping their receivers can get some yards after the catch. And both have made smart decisions on third down and in the red zone. This may be one of those showdowns in which the game swings dramatically on a turnover, which means it’s critical for both quarterbacks to protect the ball. It’s more important than hunting explosive plays in this game because the margin for error is so small.
Jerry Brewer, Sports columnist
7:21 p.m.
Headshot of Jerry Brewer
Jerry Brewer: In the first quarter, the legs of Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes were just as important as their arms. Allen converted a designed run on fourth down during Buffalo’s opening drive, and he had another 14-yard gain early in the second. On his first drive, Mahomes rushed for 49 yards and scored a touchdown for Kansas City. Both quarterbacks are highly mobile but not necessarily runners. In this game, with both defenses playing well and with the teams so familiar with each other, the threat of the running quarterback may continue to be necessary to open things up for both offenses. I would expect both players to remain aggressive and not shy away from opportunities to scramble. And I would expect both offensive game plans to include more designed QB runs.
Jerry Brewer, Sports columnist
7:03 p.m.
Headshot of Jerry Brewer
Jerry Brewer: Traditionally, we have considered defensive-minded head coaches to be risk averse on offense. Count Buffalo’s Sean McDermott among those who are changing that perception. For better or worse, Brandon Staley of the Los Angeles Chargers was the biggest newsmaker this season for his overly aggressive mentality, but McDermott has some gambler in him too. On their own, those two Buffalo fourth-down conversion attempts on the opening drive — the first at midfield, the second at the 1-yard line — were notably risky. Put them together, and it sends a clear and stunning message that the Bills have come to win, and they’re going to take every chance they deem necessary against the explosive Chiefs. I thought for sure McDermott would just take field goal at the 1. But field goals won’t beat Patrick Mahomes.
Jerry Brewer, Sports columnist
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