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The Winners and Losers of Divisional-Round Weekend


The Winners and Losers of Divisional-Round Weekend

Every week this NFL season, we will celebrate the electric plays, investigate the colossal blunders, and explain the inexplicable moments of the most recent slate. Welcome to Winners and Losers. Which one are you?

Winner: Allen-Mahomes

I don’t know how actual fans of the Chiefs and Bills could have possibly handled that. I have my guesses. Kansas City fans are probably trying to scream so loudly in celebration that their brain can’t hear their thoughts about how their team just stared certain death in the face. Bills fans are probably staring into a moonlit snowdrift, wondering why bad things happen to good football teams. I can only know how I reacted when I got done watching the best playoff game in recent memory, a 42-36 overtime thriller that could have decided this year’s Super Bowl champion.

This season has always felt like it would come down to Bills-Chiefs. The two teams met in last year’s AFC championship game, with Kansas City winning 38-24. They met again earlier this regular season, with Buffalo winning by the eerily similar score of 38-20. When they both hung 40 points on their opponents in the wild-card round, it set up the rubber match.They are two peas of the same pod, high-powered offenses led by spectacular quarterbacks. Patrick Mahomes is somehow inventing new ways to throw a football; Josh Allen is somehow combining the running style of Cam Newton with the throwing style of a surface-to-air missile. Nobody has ever played the game like either.

The game was a banger from start to finish. The Bills’ first touchdown was immediately followed by the Chiefs’ first touchdown on the next drive. The Chiefs’ second touchdown was immediately followed by the Bills’ second touchdown on the next drive. The largest lead of the game was nine points—but that lasted for only one play, as the Bills answered a Kansas City TD with this 75-yard pass from Allen.

Regulation ended with a remarkable flurry of three go-ahead touchdowns in a span of 110 seconds. First was this touchdown to Gabriel Davis to give the Bills the lead:

Then Tyreek Hill scored a 64-yard touchdown, speeding past the…

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