Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes engineered the game-winning drive in overtime in one of the greatest games in NFL playoff history on Sunday, but before he celebrated an electrifying victory he had to find his counterpart on the Buffalo Bills.
Mahomes and Buffalo Bills star quarterback Josh Allen had just put on one of the most incredible playoff displays in history. The two signal-callers combined for 25 points in the final two minutes of regulation before the Chiefs pulled out a 42-36 victory in overtime to put themselves one win away from a third straight trip to the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs star was seen on camera after the game running the length of the field at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium to find Allen and congratulate him on a superlative performance. Video of the moment was tweeted by the NFL.
The divisional round game in the AFC playoffs had been hyped up as a showdown between two of the best quarterbacks in football and more than lived up to its billing.
The Chiefs led 26-21 in the fourth quarter when the Bills answered by taking a 29-26 lead on a clutch fourth-down touchdown pass by Allen. Mahomes then responded with a 64-yard touchdown pass to wideout Tyreek Hill with only 1:02 left in the game to swing the lead back to the Chiefs.
Allen fired back with his fourth touchdown pass of the game to wide receiver Gabriel Davis with just 13 seconds left in regulation for a 36-33 Bills lead. Mahomes then answered with two huge passes to put the Chiefs in position to tie the game on Harrison Butker's 49-yard field goal as time expired in regulation.
After Kansas City won the overtime coin toss, Mahomes led the Chiefs on the game-winning drive, throwing an 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce to send his team to the AFC championship game. Allen never got a chance to touch the ball in overtime because of the NFL rule stipulating that if a team scores a touchdown in overtime, the game is automatically over.
Once the smoke cleared from the epic game, Mahomes made sure to find Allen.
"Again, have a lot of respect for Pat," Allen said about the gesture after the game, according to the Bills website.
"He throws a 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 do that."
The Chiefs now face the Cincinnati Bengals and their own formidable quarterback, Joe Burrow, on Sunday with a trip to their third straight Super Bowl on the line.
Allen finished with 329 yards passing and four touchdowns and also ran for a team-high 68 yards. Mahomes finished with 378 yards and three touchdowns passing while running for a team-high 69 yards and a touchdown.
"(Number) seventeen, Josh, played his ass off, pardon my language," Mahomes said on the CBS broadcast after the game. "It was a great game between two great football teams."
It also was the latest installment of a budding rivalry between the two teams, as the Chiefs have beaten the Bills in the playoffs for two straight seasons. Buffalo beat Kansas City during the regular season in October before the Chiefs exacted their revenge on Sunday night.
"We're going to play this (Buffalo) team a lot of times in games like this," Mahomes said on the broadcast. "With that quarterback, with that coaching staff and the players they have, it's going to be a lot of battles. I'm glad we got this one."