KC Chiefs vs Bills: The numbers that made the perfect game
By KC Proctor
Following the Titans’ forfeiture of the high seed with their loss to the Bengals on Saturday, the divisional round matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills took on a different level of stakes. The bragging rights for the season’s matchup — and stature in the young rivalry — took a back seat to the newly available prize: hosting the AFC Championship.
With ownership of the roadmap to Super Bowl 56 on the line, the already immeasurable hype leading into the game was raised, and there was something strange in the air. An aura surrounded the Sunday night game, and what unfolded, quite possibly the greatest football game ever played, one that had the nation on the edge of its seat with childlike wonder, seemed all but inevitable.
The peaks, valleys, and everything in between, every awestriking and heartbreaking moment that built this game of all games for the Kansas City Chiefs is worthy of celebration and will be shared as a folktale for generations to come. This, however, will be the game by the numbers. An objective explanation of how this story unfolded.
An endless variety of options for the title of this game clouded the internet’s airwaves Monday morning as people were desperate to put a label on the tape and file it away for later recall from the NFL’s all-time vault. There was the Minnesota Miracle in 2017, The Comeback in ’92, and The Ice Bowl in ’67. Sunday night’s divisional round between the Chiefs and Bills ought to be known, from here on out, as The Perfect Game.
The back and forth nature, the relentless effort from both teams, and the reimagination of what is possible on the gridiron all serve as justifiable support for the name, but its roots, truly, were born from the quarterback play. Josh Allen went 27/37 (73%) for 329 yards and 4 touchdowns on the same field, and on the same night that Patrick Mahomes completed 33/44 (75%) for 378 yards and 3 touchdowns. They each led their team in rushing yards, and, additionally, became the first two quarterbacks to post a 123 or higher passer rating (minimum of 20 passing attempts) in the same game in NFL history.
In other words, there has never before been a more immaculately performed game by opposing quarterbacks in the history of professional football. Those are wildly impressive stat lines, but as they stand alone, can only tell so much of the story. What made the game perfect is what happened in the final two minutes of regulation.
Following Sunday night’s 2-minute warning, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen combined for 13 completions, 246 yards, and 4 touchdown passes. The lead changed four times in the final two minutes as the two greatest titans of the 2020s went blow for blow with one another until the game clock called for mercy. Each quarterback led two go-ahead touchdown drives in the final moments of the fourth quarter, and Mahomes’ magic led to the most awe-inspiring field goal drive that anyone has ever seen with just 13 seconds remaining.
A battle between two behemoths never seems to bring the “wow” factor that gets force-fed to the masses in the week leading up to it, but everyone rose to the occasion of The Perfect Game.