Patrick Mahomes had every reason to join the raucous celebration with his teammates after the Kansas City Chiefs squashed the Buffalo Bills' Super Bowl dreams for the second consecutive year.
Josh Allen and Gabriel Davis connected for four touchdowns – including two inside the two-minute warning to twice give the Buffalo Bills a late lead – but the NFL’s best defense couldn’t hang on in a thrilling 42-36 OT loss.
His third touchdown pass, an 8-yard toss to Travis Kelce in overtime, was the decisive moment in a 42-36 victory at Arrowhead Stadium, sending Chiefs fans into ecstasy and punctuating a remarkable never-say-die performance.
Instead of basking in the spotlight and rubbing the loss in the Bills' face, Mahomes ran across the field, bobbing and weaving around players and media, to meet his counterpart – Bills quarterback Josh Allen – to share a hug and pats on the back. The gesture was a sign of respect for Allen, who threw for four touchdowns – all to Gabriel Davis – in the losing effort.
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Mahomes' act was meaningful to Allen, who mentioned the exchange when asked in the postgame press conference about how he was taking in the emotions immediately after the gut-wrenching defeat.
"I have a lot of respect of Pat," Allen said. "He throws the winning touchdown and he comes straight over and finds me. To be in that situation and to do that, that was pretty cool of him to that."
The 42-36 overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs will immediately join the four Super Bowl losses and “Homerun Throwback” as the absolute most painful in franchise history, writes Jay Skurski.
The Chiefs' quarterback, selected this year to his fourth-straight Pro Bowl, also quick to praise Allen – and recognize what's blooming into a legitimate rivalry with staying power – in his postgame interview.
“Josh played his [butt] off, pardon my language,” Mahomes said. “It was a great game between two great football teams ... we're going to play this team a lot of times in games like this. With that quarterback, with that coaching staff and the players they have, there's going to be a lot of battles.
Mahomes and Allen are considered the elite young quarterbacks in the NFL – despite Allen's snub from the Pro Bowl – and Sunday showcased their special qualities on a mammoth stage.
Combined, the pair tallied more than 700 passing yards and seven touchdowns without committing a turnover. Each quarterback also led his team in rushing yards, with Mahomes' 69 nipping Allen's 68.
They saved their best for last, too, totaling 31 points in the game's final 5:22 in a true "last one with the ball wins" scenario.