In their recent history, so much about the Kansas City Chiefs has been about their shift from the team working its way to the mountain top to the one sitting on it. But the trouble that comes with sitting on the mountain top is that to stay there, you have to bring the energy and passion of those trying to knock you off.
On Sunday night, the Buffalo Bills brought all that — and more.
The 25-year-old Josh Allen was fantastic, as was second-year wide receiver Gabriel Davis in his now-you-know-my-name party in front of a national audience. Without Tyrann Mathieu for most of the game, the Chiefs defense struggled mightily to tame either player. And Davis’ touchdown to give the Bills a three-point lead with 13 ticks to go felt like the end.
It was one of those games at Arrowhead Stadium in which both teams deserved to win. But that isn’t playoff football — and that’s why we all enjoy it so much. The Bills were so impressive — and in Buffalo, this one will hurt for a long time.
If Tom Brady did not exist, many other quarterbacks would have rings they no doubt deserve over the last 20 years. And there’s the unfortunate truth that a lot of franchises that visit Arrowhead Stadium will begin to understand: This Patrick Mahomes kid is going to prevent us from winning a title. Again.
As Allen gave the Chiefs their biggest scare since Tampa Bay, Mahomes went blow for blow, throwing for 378 yards and three touchdowns — plus one on the ground. Much was made about Allen running all over the Chiefs, but Mahomes actually finished with one more rushing yard (69). And at that 13-second mark — with the game seemingly over — Mahomes calmly orchestrated a drive to get Harrison Butker into field goal range.
We toss around the idea of “In Mahomes We Trust” because it is a catchy thing to say, but there isn’t another quarterback that you want in any situation. In Los Angeles a few weeks ago, a tails call got them the first possession in overtime and the win. The Bills called tails ahead of this game — and when that coin landed on heads, everybody knew it was a death sentence.
After missing a few kicks, Butker battling back was critical. It allowed Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce to build on what is going to be seen as one of those historical trios — think Aikman, Smith and Irvin. It’s wild to know that Mahomes at 26 and Hill at 27 are already Canton-bound — while the 32-year-old Kelce is likely to eventually be seen as the greatest tight end in history.
Players with accolades are always tied to signature wins. What we witnessed at Arrowhead on Sunday night surely fits the bill. Because of them — and Andy Reid and Brett Veach and Clark Hunt for bringing them to Kansas City — the Chiefs will host their fourth straight AFC championship game next Sunday.
One win from a third straight AFC title. Two wins from another championship.
This is the golden era of Chiefs football. Relish that.