Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes may be the two best quarterbacks in the NFL. In 2022, their head-to-head matchups gave us an instant classic we’ll remember for years.
Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes started 2022 with one of the most incredible playoff games in NFL history. They went back and forth down the stretch, trading epic plays and combining for 707 passing yards, 137 rushing yards, 7 passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. When the dust settled, the Chiefs had a 42-36 overtime win and the Josh Allen vs. Patrick Mahomes rivalry had another unbelievable chapter.
Any additional playoff matchups won’t come until 2023 but they’ve both picked up right where they left off at the beginning of the new season — as arguably the two best quarterbacks in the league.
As part of our Fandoms of the Year project, we’re taking this week to celebrate some of the best rivalries of 2022. To get more perspective on the Patrick Mahomes vs. Josh Allen rivalry, and what it felt like to be on either side of it in 2022, we’re turning it over to some of their biggest fans.
The Patrick Mahomes perspective
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Troy Aikman and Steve Young. Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach.
Typically, the NFL has a singular quarterback rivalry that defines a generation of its action. It appears Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen could be such a partnership.
The duo have been starting quarterbacks since the 2018 season but didn’t square off until 2020. Since then, they’ve played an astonishing five times, with Mahomes winning three of the battles.
None were more legacy-defining than on Jan. 23, 2022.
It’s the game that will forever be known as 13 Seconds. It’s also, quite possibly, the best-quarterbacked game in NFL history.
On that night in the AFC Divisional playoffs at Arrowhead Stadium, the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs showed us what perfection looked like for 60 minutes and then some. In an epic defined by one haymaker met by another, the Chiefs won 42-36, advancing to host their fourth consecutive AFC Championship Game.
Yet the evening is remembered not for who won, but for who threw the ball.
Allen was brilliant, going for 329 passing yards with four touchdowns, along with a team-best 68 rushing yards. It was Allen who stormed back in the final minute of regulation, giving his Bills a 36-33 advantage with 13 ticks on the clock.
Somehow, it was too much time.
For Mahomes was even better, throwing for 378 yards and three scores while rushing for a game-high 69 yards and an additional touchdown.
On the final two offensive plays of regulation, Mahomes drove Kansas City 35 yards, setting up a game-tying Harrison Butker field goal. In overtime, the Chiefs won the toss, and Mahomes won the game, finding Travis Kelce along the right boundary for the winning score.
This year, Buffalo got a small measure of revenge. The Bills went back to Arrowhead and won 24-20, rallying to win on another last-minute drive by Allen.
Of course, Buffalo wants to finally beat Kansas City in the postseason, having lost to the Chiefs each of the past two years. Considered by many the two best teams in the league, there’s a good chance a rematch will be for the right to play in Super Bowl LVII.
Manning and Brady, Aikman and Young, Bradshaw and Staubach.
Mahomes and Allen aren’t a rivalry in that breath quite yet, but if 2022 is a harbinger of what’s to come, it will be soon.
The Josh Allen perspective
Sunset or sunrise?
Whiskey or beer?
Book or the movie version of the book?
These are questions I can answer with ease. I’ll take a tangerine sunset overlooking the southtown shore of Lake Erie in Buffalo, NY over a sunrise anytime. Pour me an old-fashioned made with Four Roses Single Barrel and keep your IPA. And the book is always — always — better than the movie.
Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes?
It’s not as simple.
Growing up a Bills fan is a right of passage for anyone from Western New York, especially during the Bills’ heyday of the early nineties. But somewhere along the way, when I was 13 or so, I strayed and became a devoted Kansas City Chiefs fan as well. I won’t go into the nitty-gritty details. It would take too long to explain, and I’ve written about it before. Besides, it’s not that hard juggling the fandom of two different teams. That is, until they play each other. When that happens, I fall back on my roots every single time. And it’s always Bills and Allen first.
Last season, when Allen and Mahomes met in the AFC Championship Game, we witnessed one of the greatest quarterback performances of all time and the beginnings of what is sure to be a long, respectful and thrilling rivalry. Play after incredible play. Throw after mind-blowing throw. Every time Mahomes did something magical, Allen pulled his own rabbit out of his hat. The game was a white-knuckles ride right up until those last measly 13 seconds (sigh).
I know, I know. Mahomes got the last word. And the rivalry is now 2-3. He also has the accolades and hardware Allen doesn’t — Super Bowl LIV Champion and MVP, 2018 MVP, and four consecutive Pro Bowl selections. Statistically, in 2021, their overall stats were similar. And this season, Allen has the slight edge.
But for me, it goes beyond the hardware and stats.
I love Allen’s grit on the football field. His confidence. His I’m-putting-this-team-on-my-back-and-flying-over-players-in-a-single-leap mentality. His playfulness. His lack of ego. His willingness to continue to grow and evolve on and off the football field. His honesty in interviews and postgame conferences, win or lose. But mostly, I love how much Allen loves Buffalo. This city has embraced him and he has returned that embrace 100-fold. You can’t ask for more in a quarterback.
Except maybe, a Super Bowl win.