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Patrick Mahomes jumped into Travis Kelce's arms in the end zone to celebrate their game-winning touchdown hookup. Then he did a 180, sprinting back to midfield and dodging his teammates who wanted to join in on the revelry like they were Buffalo Bills' oncoming pass rushers.
Mahomes dropped his helmet and wrapped his arms around another player on the field. But it wasn't someone in red and gold. It was Josh Allen.
"A lot of respect for Pat. He throws the winning touchdown and he comes straight over and finds me," Allen said after his Bills' crushing 42-36 overtime loss to the Chiefs. "To be in that situation and to do that, that was pretty cool of him to do that."
Instant reactions: Bills suffer one of most gut-wrenching losses in history in OT to Chiefs
Allen, who was spectacular in the playoffs — he had nine touchdowns passes, 771 total yards and no turnovers in two games — never got a chance to touch the ball in overtime. Kansas City won the coin toss and promptly drove 75 yards for the win.
“It was a heck of a game. No. 17, Josh, played his (butt) off, pardon my language,” Mahomes told CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson after the game. “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."
— NFL (@NFL) January 24, 2022
Mahomes has been in Allen's cleats before. Three years ago, the New England Patriots won the coin toss, marched 75 yards and won the AFC Championship Game on the first possession of overtime to advance to the Super Bowl against the Chiefs. Mahomes never got the ball in overtime. Tom Brady sought out Mahomes in the Chiefs' locker room after the game to give him advice and encouragement.
Allen and Mahomes put on a show, duking it out in a heavyweight fight that deserved to be more than the second round of the playoffs. They combined to complete 60 of 81 passes for 707 yards and seven touchdowns and each led their team in rushing. It was the first playoff game in NFL history that both quarterbacks had a passer rating of 123 points or higher. There were 25 points scored in the final two minutes of regulation.
It's the second straight year the Bills' season has ended in the playoffs in that stadium. Buffalo is 0-4 on the road in the playoffs under head coach Sean McDermott.
Allen stayed on the field to see and feel the festivities at Arrowhead Stadium.
"It sucks the way it happened. We wanted to win that game," Allen said. "I was taking it all in and holding onto that feeling, making sure we don't feel like this again. Back-to-back years in the same spot, it's tough to take in but it's part of the game, part of the learning process."
This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Patrick Mahomes stopped celebrating Chiefs win to hug Josh Allen