The best weekend in history? The best playoff game in history?
Those are legitimate questions after a fast-paced weekend of NFL divisional playoff matchups. All four games were won on the final play.
Saturday was great. The Bengals, led by second-year quarterback Joe Burrow, beat the top-seeded Titans 19-16 on Evan McPherson’s 52-yard field goal after an interception with 22 seconds remaining. The 49ers knocked out Aaron Rodgers and the NFC’s No. 1 seed Packers 13-10 on Robbie Gould’s 45-yard field goal on snowy Lambeau Field as time was running out.
Sunday was even better. The Buccaneers rallied from a 27-3 second-half deficit on a trademark Tom Brady comeback, only to lose after Matthew Stafford’s 44-yard pass to Cooper Kupp set up the 30-yard game-winner from Matt Gay when time expired in a 30-27 thriller.
All of that led to Bills-Chiefs, a game that will be on the short list of the best NFL postseason games of all time. The Chiefs won 42-36 on Patrick Mahomes’ 8-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce in overtime.
The weekend was great, but the Chiefs-Bills game will live forever. Was it the best NFL playoff game of all time? Sporting News takes a closer look:
The last two minutes were incredible.
Kansas City was leading 26-21 with 8:55 left in the fourth quarter, but like a big basketball game, you could fast-forward to the last two minutes.
The Bills and Chiefs combined for 25 points and three lead changes in the final two minutes. Josh Allen gave Buffalo a 29-26 lead at 1:52 with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis.
Kansas City answered in five plays with a 64-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes to Tyreek Hill.
Allen responded with a six-play drive and 19-yard touchdown pass to Davis with 13 seconds remaining.
That somehow turned out to be too long. Mahomes hit Hill and Kelce on two passes for a combined 44 yards, setting up Harrison Butker’s game-tying 49-yard field goal.
Allen and Mahomes combined for 221 passing yards in the final two minutes.
Overtime didn’t last long
It reignites the debate over NFL overtime. Kansas City won the toss and rushed for 75 yards in eight plays. Mahomes hit Kelce jumping into the back of the end zone for the game-winning score.
As a result, the Bills did not get a possession. For the Chiefs, this was the reverse of their result in the 2018 AFC championship game, when the Patriots’ Tom Brady led the game-winning TD drive and denied Mahomes a possession in overtime in a thriller 37 -31.
What are the most memorable Bills and Chiefs playoff games?
The Bills were on the wrong end of an instant classic this time. On January 3, 1993, Buffalo rallied from a 35-3 deficit to beat Houston 41-38. The Bills lost to the Titans 22-16 on January 8, 2000 at the “Music City Miracle.” Those games were both in the wild card round.
Kansas City lost 27-24 to Miami in the divisional round on December 25, 1971, in double overtime; it is the longest playoff game in NFL history. The Chiefs also lost a 45-44 shootout with the Colts on January 4, 2014, in the AFC wild card round.
Was this the highest scoring playoff game?
No. The Packers and Cardinals set the NFL record on Jan. 11, 2010. Arizona won 51-45 in overtime in a shootout between Kurt Warner and Rodgers, who was making his first postseason appearance.
However, that game was also in the wild card round. This Bills-Chiefs matchup was in the divisional round; Another game that is often considered the best playoff game comes to mind.
Was Chiefs-Bills better than the ‘Epic in Miami’?
The 1982 AFC Divisional Round Classic between the Dolphins and Chargers in the Orange Bowl is generally considered the greatest playoff game of all time outside of the Super Bowls.
The Chargers jumped out to a 24-0 lead, but the Dolphins tied the game in the third quarter. A full-fledged shootout ensued. Dan Fouts passed for 433 yards, three TDs and an interception. Miami’s Don Strock had 403 yards, four touchdowns and an interception.
Fouts, who had 10 rushing yards, and Strock combined for 846 total yards of offense.
San Diego won 41-38 in overtime on Rolf Benirschke’s 29-yard field goal. The iconic image of Chargers players carrying tight end Kellen Winslow, who had 13 receptions for 166 yards and a TD, off the field became a mural at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
How did the Allen-Mahomes duel compare?
The difference? Allen and Mahomes didn’t have an interception. Allen finished 27 of 37 for 329 yards and four touchdowns. That included a 75-yard pass to Davis in the second quarter that traveled approximately 57 yards through the air. Mahomes finished 33 of 44 for 378 yards and four touchdowns and made his usual series of amazing passes.
Allen and Mahomes also led their teams in runs. Allen had 11 carries for 68 yards and Mahomes had 69 yards and a TD.
Allen and Mahomes had 844 total yards of offense.
What separates Bills-Chiefs from the rest?
The wild endings of the weekend leaked into the Chiefs-Bills game, and the Allen-Mahomes spectacle will not be forgotten. It was heralded as the best game of the postseason and it did not disappoint.
There were five passes of 25 yards or more after the two-minute warning, an amazing display of high-level quarterback play between the two young stars.
There have been better breakouts, but think about the final two-minute sequence. The walk-off touchdown may seem anticlimactic given the Bills didn’t get a shot, but that didn’t detract from what both teams did.
This was the best playoff weekend in history. And we won’t stop you from calling Chiefs-Bills the greatest game ever, either.