Photograph: Jay Biggerstaff/USA Today Sports
Moments after Josh Allen’s 19-yard strike to Gabriel Davis deep in the fourth quarter, television crews cut to the quarterback’s family celebrating in a box at Arrowhead. The Bills led 36-33 and the champagne was about to be popped. Tears of joy streamed down Joel Allen’s face as he watched his son, who was having a perfect postseason, punch his ticket to the AFC Championship.
Or so we thought.
Then the Allen family had to sit through the most excruciating 13 seconds of their lives. CBS’s Tony Romo actually joked about the improbability of what was to come, “What can Patrick Mahomes do with 13 seconds left? Probably nothing. [Pause] But maybe something…”
Maybe something was right because thanks to his immense skill and Buffalo’s inexplicably bad prevent defense, Mahomes had two quick completions, the first a 19-yard pass to Tyreek Hill, followed by a 25-yard dart to Travis Kelce. In marched Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker to knock through a 49-yard field goal with no time in regulation remaining. 36-36.
Buffalo were stunned. Arrowhead was deafening. Kelce later explained how he and his quarterback freestyled on the completion: “I told [Mahomes] I’m probably not going to run the route that’s called and I was going to run to the open area. And in his cadence he was yelling to me, ‘Do it! Do it!”
Again, the Bills coaching staff are going to have a lot of regrets when they evaluate film of those final 13 seconds. And Bills fans will wonder why the team didn’t try a squib kick after scoring their final touchdown, something that would have taken vital seconds off the clock (instead, Tyler Bass’s touchback saved the Chiefs valuable time).
Butker’s field goal was the culmination of perhaps the most exhilarating two minutes the NFL has ever produced. Yes, there were bad defensive calls from both teams. But above all, it was Allen and Mahomes showing every inch of their talent and heart, the best v the…