The Kansas City Chiefs won an absolute thriller on Sunday night, outlasting the Buffalo Bills in a game that will surely go down as an all-time classic.
Here are some quick notes from the game.
1. The last two minutes were nothing short of bonkers.
It's difficult to put into words the absolute insanity that took place at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night. It was frankly something that every football fan simply needed to experience for themselves as momentum swung dramatically in both directions numerous times in just 120 seconds of game action.
From the 1:54 mark of the fourth quarter through the end of regulation, 25 points were scored between the two teams. It was the highest combined total in the final two minutes of a game in postseason history. Neither team would quit despite increasingly growing odds in the opponent's favor, and that was never more true than when the Chiefs got the ball at their own 25-yard line, trailing by three points with just 13 seconds remaining in the game.
Chiefs' quarterback Patrick Mahomes made the most of two offensive snaps – a 19-yard completion to wide receiver Tyreek Hill and a 25-yard strike to tight end Travis Kelce – before kicker Harrison Butker connected on a game-tying, 49-yard boot that sent the game to overtime.
It was nothing short of remarkable, and once overtime got underway, the Chiefs' offense made sure that Buffalo wouldn't touch the ball again. Mahomes found Kelce for an 8-yard touchdown on Kansas City's opening series, bringing what may go down as one of the greatest games in NFL history to an end.
2. This was a legacy game for Patrick Mahomes, and he delivered in the biggest way.
It's strange talking about legacy with a player who's only in his fourth year as a starting quarterback, but this will undoubtedly be one of those games that fans discuss decades from now when reviewing Mahomes' career.
In a game where two of the top young players in football were at their absolute best – Mahomes and Bills' quarterback Josh Allen – Mahomes found a way to come out on top in heroic fashion. In the last two minutes of regulation and overtime, Mahomes completed 10-of-13 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. It was an incredible performance, and one that moved Mahomes' playoff record to 8-2 in his career.
Additionally, Mahomes now owns the NFL record for touchdown passes (25) through a player's first 10 postseason games.
3. Travis Kelce stepped up when he was needed most.
Kelce has normalized greatness during his career in Kansas City, but it's important to point out that what he's currently doing is anything but normal. He finished the game with eight catches for 96 yards, and while he fell just shy of the 100-yard mark, it's still worth putting his performance into context. No player in NFL postseason history has more games with 95+ receiving yards than Kelce (8), as he matched Jerry Rice and Julian Edelman on that list with Sunday's game.
His efforts during the final minutes of the game were critical, too. Kelce caught four passes in the final two minutes of regulation and overtime: an 11-yard grab that moved the chains on third down and set up Hill's 64-yard touchdown two snaps later, a 25-yard reception that made Butker's field goal attempt possible, another third-down reception that moved the chains on Kansas City's overtime possession and, of course, the 8-yard, game-winning touchdown that sealed the game.
Big time players are expected to make big time plays in big time moments, and Kelce delivered.
4. Tyreek Hill put together a massive game.
Just like Kelce, Hill stepped up when the Chiefs needed him most by hauling in a team-leading 11 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown in the game. His biggest play was undoubtedly the 64-yard touchdown that briefly put the Chiefs back in front with just over a minute left, serving as one of the many scoring volleys between Buffalo and Kansas City late.
Hill also did the bulk of his work after the catch, making Buffalo pay for a defensive scheme that was determined to stop the big, over-the-top play. The Bills were in a two-high safety look on 92 percent of snaps, according to Next Gen Stats, providing Hill with room to work underneath that he didn't waste.
5. Overall, the offense was simply at its best throughout the game.
The efforts of Mahomes, Hill, Kelce and the rest of the offense led to 552 net yards and 30 first downs. Kansas City was just the fifth team in league history to tally 550+ yards of offense and 30+ first downs in a postseason game. Additionally, the Chiefs were 8-of-13 on third down, didn't turn it over and were penalized just once offensively.
To make matters even more impressive, the Chiefs managed to do all of that against a Bills' defense that led the NFL in numerous categories this season, including points allowed.
6. The defense made numerous plays in huge moments that made the late heroics possible.
The Chiefs' defense would surely like to have some plays back from Sunday, particularly late, but what shouldn't be lost is the fact that Kansas City made some massive stands defensively against a Bills' offense that was rolling at a historic level this postseason.
Entering Sunday's game, Buffalo had scored touchdowns on nine consecutive possessions dating back to Week 18 (excluding drives that ended in kneel downs). That trend continued on the Bills' first drive of Sunday's matchup, but following that opening-series touchdown, Kansas City forced Buffalo to punt on four of its next six possessions. For context, Buffalo didn't punt at all in three of its previous four games.
Some of the Chiefs' best performers on defense were edge-rusher Frank Clark (who racked up six pressures), defensive lineman Chris Jones (4 pressures) and edge-rusher Melvin Ingram, who earned the top overall grade among all Chiefs' defensive players according to Pro Football Focus. Ingram recorded a sack on Buffalo's second possession that stalled the Bills' drive and forced their first punt of the playoffs.
7. Nick Bolton had a game to remember.
Another player who put together a great game on defense was rookie linebacker Nick Bolton, who racked up eight tackles and one tackle-for-loss. The stats don't truly tell the full story, however, because it was more about the moments in which he made those tackles that really stood out.
First, Bolton blew up a rushing play by running back Devin Singletary on a short third down during Buffalo's third series that lost yardage and forced the Bills into another punt. Then, late in the third quarter, Bolton stuffed a rush by wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie to once again stop the Bills on a short third-down attempt and bring about a punt.
In a game that was decided by the slimmest of margins, those two plays completely altered the outcome and helped Kansas City earn the victory.
8. The Chiefs have now won six-straight playoff games at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.
Kansas City has hosted six playoff games at home since 2019 – the most of any team in the NFL – and the Chiefs have emerged victorious in all of them. It's the longest active winning streak in the league and the 10th longest in NFL history.
Among those games are some classics, too. This stretch began with the 24-point comeback over Houston in the Divisional Round three seasons ago. Kansas City then fought back from a 10-point deficit to defeat Tennessee in the AFC Championship Game in 2019, converted a late fourth down attempt with Chad Henne at quarterback to seal the win versus the Browns last season and climbed back from an early nine-point hole against Buffalo in last year's conference title game to win.
Sunday's victory is just another entry into an ever-growing list of moments in which those in attendance will never forget that they were there.
9. Kansas City is headed to a fourth-consecutive AFC Championship Game.
The Chiefs are just the seventh team in NFL history to reach four-straight conference title games, and remarkably, they're set to become the first team in league history to ever host four of these things in a row.
Kansas City has won the AFC in each of the last two seasons, and with a win over Cincinnati on Sunday, the Chiefs would make it three titles in a row.
10. Coach Reid matched Don Shula in terms of all-time postseason victories.
Reid is authoring an incredible legacy right before our eyes. Sunday's victory marked his 19th career postseason win, matching Don Shula for the third-most in NFL history. Only Bill Belichick (31) and Tom Landry (20) own more.
Reid is already going to go down as one of the greatest coaches of all-time, and with every postseason victory, that legend only grows.