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2021 NFL playoffs: What we learned from Chiefs' win over Bills in Divisional Round


  1. Don’t give Patrick Mahomes a sliver of daylight, or he’ll rip your heart out. Thirteen seconds. Thirteen. That’s all it took Mahomes to get into field-goal range to force overtime. Then he buried Buffalo with a quick eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to send K.C. to the AFC Championship Game yet again. The quarterback was masterful all game avoiding pressure with subtle and deft pocket movement to keep plays alive and rifle shots all over the field. Mahomes threw from all platforms, making jaw-dropping throws look effortless, whether dropping sidearm or making pinpoint passes under pressure. The QB looked spry using his legs, leading the Chiefs with 69 rushing yards and a diving TD. He was nearly flawless from start to finish, dicing up the No. 1 defense in the NFL to the tune of 378 yards and three TDs. Unlike Week 5’s loss to Buffalo, Mahomes didn’t have a single turnover, and nary threw a bad pass. Mahomes spearheaded four straight scoring drives in the crucible of the fourth quarter and OT to prove, once again, he’s the quarterback king.
  2. Josh Allen shines, but was saddled to the sideline in overtime. Allen deserved better than to watch from the sideline as his team went down in overtime -- as Mahomes once endured on this very field against Tom Brady. But those are the breaks. Buffalo’s tired D couldn’t get a stop in OT. The loss doesn’t diminish how marvelous Allen played. Every time K.C. threatened to blow the game open, Allen answered. Down nine, he heaved a gorgeous bomb to Gabriel Davis for a 75-yard TD in the fourth quarter. He responded time and time again, gutting out huge runs, including a fourth-and-4 scramble to set up the go-ahead score. Allen did it with his legs, leading Buffalo with 68 rushing yards on 11 carries, and arm. It was a performance that defines franchise quarterback. He rifled a bevy of short passes into tight windows and scorched the Chiefs secondary with four touchdowns when the deep passes opened up. Allen epitomized leaving it all on the field. Alas, those last 13 seconds of regulation and overtime, Buffalo’s best player was a spectator in the crushing loss.
  3. Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill get it done in the cauldron. When Mahomes needed big plays, his top weapons stepped to the forefront. Hill gashed the Bills' defense for 11 catches for 150 yards and a TD. The speedster's 64-yard TD in which he blazed past defenders put K.C. back up with just over a minute remaining in the game after the Chiefs trailed for just the second time all night. Hill also had a marvelous punt return that set up a fourth-quarter field goal. Then there was Kelce, Mahomes' trusty tight end, catching critical passes in the final moments of the game. The first came on a 25-yarder to set up the game-tying FG. Then on third-and-1 in OT, Kelce moved the chains. Finally, he ended the game with a toe-tapping TD grab to ice the contest. Mahomes was patient all game, willing to spread the ball around and take what the defense provided. But in the big moments, it was Hill and Kelce. The duo combined for 19 catches for 246 yards and two TDs, nearly equaling their output from last year's AFC Championship Game win over these Bills (22 catches, 290 receiving yards, 2 TDs). It's no surprise that in those final 13 seconds of regulation, when Mahomes needed plays, first he went to Hill (19 yards), then Kelce (25).
  4. Gabriel Davis lights up Chiefs defense. In an alternate universe, this contest is remembered as the Gabriel Davis Game in a Bills win. The wide receiver caught four touchdown passes, an NFL record in a playoff game. He gobbled up a ridiculous 201 yards on eight catches. Davis tortured the Chiefs secondary all night, particularly in the red zone. His route on fourth-and-13 to set up the Bills' first late lead was marvelous as his break caused CB Mike Hughes to crumple in coverage. On a day in which Stefon Diggs was quiet (three catches, seven yards, one two-point conversion), the Bills needed Davis to step up, and he delivered. Spinning into next season, the 22-year-old should play a massive role in the Bills offense.
  5. Give us this rivalry for a decade. What a freaking game. On the greatest Divisional Round weekend in NFL history, it's apropos that the best was saved for last. Fireworks were expected. Fireworks were provided. Mahomes and Allen delivered on every expectation, and then some. The QBs offered haymaker after haymaker, neither blinking. The defenses each had their moments early until the weight of the offensive firepower broke free. There isn't much question that these were the two best teams in the AFC entering the weekend. Sunday's bout solidified that belief. It's a shame one team had to lose. But it's on to another AFC Championship Game for Mahomes and the Chiefs, where they'll face another young gunslinger in Joe Burrow and the high-powered Bengals offense.

NFL Research: Sunday night marked the first playoff game in NFL history with three go-ahead touchdowns in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter.

Next Gen stat of the game: Patrick Mahomes was pressured on 13 of 46 dropbacks (28.3%) but went 7 of 11 for 136 yards and 2 TDs under pressure.

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