Brothers and Foes: Bills’ Allen, Mahomes Chiefs Rivals, Friends

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The last time Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen saw each other in the heat of battle was not at Arrowhead Stadium in their epic January playoff game, when the Chiefs quarterback rallied past Allen and his Bills for an overtime win and return to the AFC title game.

In fact, it wasn’t on a football field at all.

And both turned out to be losers.

It happened in June, when the ultra-competitive QBs teamed up against Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady in a match-play in Las Vegas. Mahomes and Allen led after the first eight holes of the 12-hole exhibition, only to watch Brady tie it on the 10th and Rodgers birdie putt winner on the final hole.

It was the latest example of their budding friendship, which also happens to be one of the best new rivalries in the NFL, one that will be renewed when the Bills visit the Chiefs on Sunday.

“Josh is a great guy. He’s a great quarterback – physically talented, he can throw, he can run. He really can do it all,” Mahomes said. “But he’s also a great guy. And so obviously when we’re on the football pitch, we’re competing against each other and we want to beat each other’s teams, but I have a ton of respect for him. , the player and the person he is.

Mahomes won three of their four matchups, including the two that mattered the most: that January divisional round win, when the teams combined for 25 points in the final two minutes of regulation before Kansas City won in overtime , and the AFC Championship game in the 2020 season, when the Chiefs went to the Super Bowl.

Allen’s only victory? A largely forgotten regular season game last year at Arrowhead Stadium.

However, it’s not entirely on Allen’s shoulders that the Bills continue to fail. Take the game in January, when he threw for 329 yards and four touchdowns while running for 68 extra yards. It was an incredible performance, but one matched by Mahomes, who had 378 passing yards and three touchdowns to go with 69 rushing yards and another score.

It was the first time in NFL history that a quarterback — let alone two — threw for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns while completing 70% of his passes and leading his teams with at least 65 yards on the ground.

“As a football fan myself, when I watch games, I love watching him play,” Allen said. “He can do anything you want. His teammates love him, and I know he has a good understanding of the dressing room there, and how he behaves, the things he does off the pitch for his charity. He’s a special football player and a special guy.

The similarities between Mahomes and Allen help form the foundation of their friendship.

When Mahomes walked out of Texas Tech in 2017, many called him just another “Air Raid” quarterback, whose prolific passing streak would never translate to the NFL. And when Allen was drafted the following year, critics jumped on his erratic performance at Wyoming, as well as the fact that he was playing at a lower level of competition.

Since then, Mahomes and Allen have been proving people wrong.

“You’ve heard all these stories about when (Allen) was coming out, about this and that, and you’re still shooting for these guys who even do better than expected,” he said. said Chiefs coach Andy Reid. “He’s a good footballer, a badass. In a good system too. He’s lucky to have good coaches, which helps.

Allen head coach Sean McDermott learned the ropes from Reid over a decade ago in Philadelphia.

There are, however, many great rivalries in the NFL. Mahomes and Allen transferred theirs off the field.

They first spent a lot of time together at the Masters in April 2021, and both competed in the American Century Championship, an annual celebrity golf tournament in South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Earlier this year, the two reunited in Miami for the Formula 1 weekend. Mahomes called Allen on FaceTime and invited him over, and the two spent a few hours on the Saturday night before the race.

Yet it is on the pitch that they shine the most.

Their styles are remarkably similar – big arms, lots of athletic ability and the natural creativity and improvisational skills that make them a handful for opposing defenses. They’re improving everyone around them, and as a result, everyone has their team 4-1 and at the top of their division heading into their final game Sunday at Kansas City.

“Whenever they prepare to put Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen in the Hall of Fame,” said Bills pass rusher Von Miller, “this game (in January) and of course the games of these years to come, will be the games they talk about and it’s just an honor and a privilege to be a part of it.

NOTES: DE Frank Clark (illness), SS Bryan Cook (concussion) and CB Rashad Fenton (hamstring) did not practice Thursday. … K Harrison Butker (ankle) trained for the second straight day and could play Sunday for the first time since Week 1, although substitute kicker Matt Wright is still available. said Toub. “Get the two guys ready and make the decision.”

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