Stopping Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen in the final moments of the 2021 AFC division game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills seemed impossible. Two of the NFL’s best quarterbacks traded punches at Arrowhead Stadium.

Led by their quarterbacks, the teams scored 25 points in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter, the second most in any game of the Super Bowl era. This game was the first in NFL history in which both quarterbacks threw for at least 300 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, and ran for at least 50 yards. He served as a showcase for two of the NFL’s most unique and productive players in that position.

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As the Chiefs move on to another AFC Championship game with a 42–36 overtime win, the two quarterbacks’ dominance and offensive prowess will be remembered from this matchup between the quarterbacks who led the NFL in combined assists and rushes. landings since 2019.

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“One of the biggest challenges is just the ability. They have the ability to go left or right, see the field, and take shots that not many people in the league can take,” said longtime New England Patriots quarterback Devin McCourty. “I think the second part of that is that they are both mobile enough to really hurt you. We saw it when they played against each other. [to watch]but it was also great to see their greatness shown over and over again because these two guys were playing.”

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Current Caesars Sportsbook MVP favorites Allen +200 and Mahomes +450 will meet for the fifth time on Sunday (4:25 pm ET, CBS). With the Bills and Chiefs leading the NFL in several offensive categories, the outcome of the game could once again depend on what kind of defense can stop.

Whichever way the game ends on Sunday, it will be a mandatory matchup between two quarterbacks who have been some of the toughest on the opposing defense. — Alaina Getzenberg


MAHOMES COMPLETED many unconventional passes in four-plus seasons as an NFL starting quarterback, whether they were out of sight, with a gun, or even left-handed.

He added to his collection in a recent Sunday game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After being chased out of the pocket and making his way 39.4 yards behind the line of scrimmage, Mahomes did a 360 spin to avoid a defender before passing a 2-yard touchdown pass to running back Clyde Edwards-Heler.

What distinguishes Mahomes more than anything is his ability to quickly adapt to changing circumstances and play when they seem to be non-existent.

“The NFL has never seen anything like Mahomes, I promise you that,” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelsey said after the game. “You saw it today. He is the Houdini of our era. This guy just finds ways to play throughout the game – good third downs, good goal line plays, just wanting our team to go into the end zone, wanting our team to win. This is our main leader, man.”

Kelsey will no doubt get the nod from the opposing teams that Mahomes has most flourished against. One of them is the Las Vegas Raiders. After a brilliant performance in the Chiefs’ 30-29 win on Monday night, Mahomes leads 8-1 against the Raiders with 26 touchdowns and three interceptions.

“The thing is, Mahomes is obviously very, very good when things don’t go according to plan, when the game breaks, he’s obviously the type to adapt,” Raiders defenseman Clein Ferrell said. the hardest thing for a rusher, because once you know where the quarterback is… it’s a lot easier to figure out how you’re going to rush him. But Pat Mahomes, it could be a game where he’s backing down, he’s 20 feet deep, and he’s throwing the ball with his back foot.

“It’s just caution, knowing how to rush him, knowing when to take risks and when not to. Despite all this, we must be prepared for the fact that he will run all day. ‘Cause he’s really good at it, too, when the play breaks down Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wanna talk [he’s] unconventional. He knows he has a plan when he goes there. I just feel like he’s adjusting really well.”

The Mahomes are leading 3-1 against the Bills, including a 2-0 playoff lead up to Sunday’s game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mahomes has a QBR of 84.2 against Buffalo.

“You think you have something covered and then it starts to move and it turns into backyard football and the guys try to get in position to play,” Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. “He is just an amazing athlete who can shoot from anywhere at any angle. There really is no defense against this. You just have to hold on and hope you can play a few times along the way. But he’s going to play a few plays, get out of his pocket, run for the first down, make weird throws, knock him off balance.”

Blitzing and pressuring Mahomes was generally not a good strategy for the opposing defense either. He became the first since he became a starter in 2018 at QBR to be scored (91) and the first to be pressured (64).

Confusing it with coatings was more effective. In the first half of last year’s AFC Championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Mahomes threw for 220 yards and landed three times. The Bengals then changed tack, moving almost exclusively to a three-handed rush and dropping eight into coverage.

In the second half and overtime, Mahomes threw for 55 yards with two interceptions.

“It got him a little bit on the ball, but kept him in the pocket and didn’t let him win overtime or get out of cover,” McCourty said. “I thought it was very interesting.” some of the 3 man rush they did. Sounds good, but you still need to create some pressure.”

In Kansas City, Kelsey isn’t the only chief admiring Mahomes’ performance. Coach Andy Reid too. He said he reminds his coaches to appreciate the moment every time Mahomes does one of his special games.

Maybe the only one unimpressed is Mahomes himself. For him, he just does what he does.

“I’m just trying to win,” Mahomes said after the game in Tampa Bay. “After all, that’s what I’m trying to do. It’s not like I’m planning these things when I drop my sidearm or whatever it is, spinning, running. I always say that I am an athlete and I will do everything in my power to make our team successful.

“There was a turn today and a little, I don’t know, basketball shot that ended in a touchdown.” — Adam Tycher


ALLEN STARTED The dismantling of the Bills 38-3 by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday with a bang. On the Bills’ third play from their 2-yard line, Allen shot 38 yards downfield in high winds. Wide receiver Gabe Davis caught the pass midway and raced into the end zone after gaining 98 yards.

Allen didn’t let go. In three minutes in the second quarter, he added three more touchdowns before finishing the first half with 348 passing yards and four touchdowns to one interception. He finished the game with 424 yards, completing 20 of 31 passes, and also led Bill with 42 yards on five carries.

Josh Allen is a creature. He’s a beast,” Bills linebacker von Miller said. “He can make any shot on the football field. He can control the ball. He’s big, he’s strong. The aspect I like most about him is his ability to get guys to play at a level they wouldn’t normally play at. in … It’s Josh Allen’s ability to make these guys feel like superheroes.”

Allen, 26, is 1-3 all the time against the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes, but that doesn’t reflect his overall performance in those games, including 11 passing touchdowns, two interceptions and one rushing touchdown.

After steadily improving in his first two seasons in the NFL, Allen has since become the best quarterback in the league in the past three years. His best career season to date came in 2020, when his completion percentage jumped from 58.8% a year earlier to 69.2%. His touchdown percentage increased from 4.3% to 6.5%.

“[Allen] plays smart. He makes you make sense. He’ll take his chances when he can, but he won’t force the ball,” Bills wide receiver Stephon Diggs said.

Extending the hand has become one of Allen’s specialties, and a lot of it has to do with his improvement in out-of-pocket play. After hitting five touchdowns against seven steals and posting 12.1 QBR in his first two seasons, Allen has been a different player since 2020.

Allen has a QBR of 70.9 on out-of-pocket shooting since 2020 and has thrown 22 touchdowns in just two interceptions.

“Usually when you play a guy who can run, you have to look deep into the field, look at the pressure and then run,” McCourty said of the defense. “When you play with these guys, who can be pocket passers, but can also run from the pocket, throw or run, it presents a very difficult challenge. I think how you slow them down – you must create some confusion.”

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich said he was highly respected for how much Allen has grown as a player.

“I just think when you start looking at the specific skills of a quarterback, you know, I saw it come out like his first year, I thought he was great,” Reich said. “But I thought its accuracy needed to be improved. And I think he did a phenomenal job on that. I mean, not only has he really developed into a great athlete and a great playmaker, but I think he has developed into an accurate passer. I think he worked on it.”

Allen is also unique because of his size – 6’5″ and 237 pounds – which makes him hard to knock down when the ball is in his hands, which is often the case.

In a winning run against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4, Allen appeared to be ready to take the sack for a loss of about 10 yards, with linebacker Odafe Ove closing in on him. Instead, he turned around, ran to the left and found rookie wide receiver Khalil Shakir in the bottom of the field next to…