KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A mere 13 seconds separated the Kansas City Chiefs from the offseason Sunday night, and what transpired in the AFC Divisional matchup against the Buffalo Bills will go down in KC lore as an epic tale almost too good to be true.
But when you listened to coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes recount those fateful fourth quarter moments down 36-33, their confidence made what happened feel inevitable.
“When it’s grim, be the Grim Reaper. Go get it,” Reid quipped after the game.
The latter stages of the fourth quarter featured epic moments and highlights, with the Bills appearing to steal the upper hand for good after Tyreek Hill tilted the tables toward the Chiefs with one minute to play, scoring a 64 yard TD to make it 33-29, Chiefs.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen capped the subsequent six-play drive with his fourth touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis. The Bills were up 36-33, with visions of a return to Buffalo to host their first AFC Championship since beating Kansas City in January of 1994. But, somehow, the 13 seconds they left on the clock proved to be too much time for Mahomes and company.
“We had that belief, we had the belief that we were going to do it. Take it back to the year we lost the AFC Championship Game and got in field goal range in like 18 seconds,” Mahomes relayed.
“If you’re not going to go down fighting, then you don’t deserve to be here. We knew if we could just give ourselves a chance to get in Butker’s field goal range, he was going to knock it in and he did.”
Indeed Butker did, atoning for an earlier missed field goal and point after attempt, but it took a pair Mahomes passes to set the table. First, he found Hill for a quick 19 yards, only surrendering five seconds before taking a timeout. The next pass was another quick-hitter, Travis Kelce lumbering for 25 yards, three seconds were left when KC burned another timeout.
Butker’s knotted the game at 36 with a 50-yard field goal, sending it to overtime.
The Chiefs won the toss, took the ball, and traversed 75 yards in eight plays, Mahomes finding Kelce in the end zone for the walkoff game winner, 42-36.
“That was a fun experience…. I’ll remember that for the rest of my life,” Kelce said.
The Chiefs now host their fourth-consecutive AFC Championship Game, a first in NFL history, and look to win the conference for a third-straight year. A trip to Los Angeles to redeem last season’s Super Bowl loss is on the line, and the Chiefs have another revenge opponent standing in the way.
Kansas City will play the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at 1 p.m., looking to avenge a Week 16 loss, and win the Lamar Hunt trophy in front of the hometown crowd.