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Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen provide QB battle for the ages

The winning quarterback shook his head. He smiled a weary smile. He knew what he’d just done. He knew what he’d just seen. He understood what he’d just taken part in. Mostly, he looked across the field at Arrowhead Stadium and saw the losing quarterback. 

“Josh,” Patrick Mahomes said, “played his ass off.” 

The losing quarterback shook his head, too, but there were no smiles. Maybe in a week, maybe in a month, maybe years from now he’ll look back and be able so grin. Not now. Not yet. He scanned the field, at the gathering madness. He shook hands with the winning quarterback, exchanged hugs and good wishes. 

“Pat was amazing,” Josh Allen said. “He really was.” 

They both were. They were extraordinary. They were remarkable. They gave us what has to be the greatest, grandest display of back-and-forth quarterbacking in a big game that anyone has ever seen. The Chiefs won the game 42-36 in overtime, and will play a fourth straight AFC Championship game at home, at Arrowhead, next week against Cincinnati. 

Patrick Mahomes walks off the field.
Patrick Mahomes walks off the field.
Getty Images

The Bills lost, and will spend the offseason wondering how. They will certainly spend next weekend scattered to the wind, watching or ignoring that title game, knowing they should be the ones playing the Bengals at their big, old stadium in the Buffalo suburbs. 

“We ended up on the wrong side of one of the best games in NFL history,” Mitch Morse said. He centers for Allen in Buffalo now. He used to do that for Mahomes. Nobody better understood what had just happened than Morse. 

“Incredible,” he said. “Just … incredible.” 

Josh Allen
Josh Allen
Getty Images

It was every bit of that. The game, as a whole, was an epic. The 5 and 28 seconds after the two-minute warning were something even beyond that, football elevated to art, elevated to majesty, Mahomes and Allen throwing haymaker after haymaker at each other, fighting, as all great heavyweights do, for the championship of each other, in addition for the right to buy another week of season. 

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