With an AFC Championship Game on the horizon, we have yet another matchup involving rich history. Like the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns last week, the Chiefs and Buffalo Bills have each gone through tough times. Fast forward to 2020, and both teams were among the top two or three throughout the season.
Behind two young, dynamic quarterbacks, deep rosters and some of the best leaders at head coach, both teams are set to win now and in the future. Those are some of the more compelling items that we will be discussing as top headlines. Meanwhile, we will turn back the clock. The last time these two teams met in the playoffs, two future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks were pit against each other. Now, let’s take a look back into the past and focus on the immediate future surrounding Chiefs vs Bills. Here are our top thrilling headlines entering Sunday.
- 2021 Chiefs Draft Prospect: Teven Jenkins
- This Or That: Draft Wide Receiver Round 1 Or Later?
- 2021 Chiefs Draft Prospect: Kadarius Toney
- This Or That: Eric Fisher Or Mitchell Schwartz?
- Staying Or Going: Chiefs 2021 Pending Free Agents
Kelly Bests Montana
The last time the Buffalo Bills were in a conference championship game their opponent was the Kansas City Chiefs. This was in January 1994 following the 1993 season. Buffalo would wind up winning handily 30-13, led by a massive day from running back Thurman Thomas. His 186 rushing yards and three touchdowns left Kansas City’s defense in the dust. Meanwhile, the dual between quarterbacks Jim Kelly and Joe Montana was cut short. A concussion knocked Montana out of the game, forcing Dave Krieg to takeover under center.
The victory was the Bills fourth straight in four years in an AFC Championship Game. A week later, Buffalo and Kelly lost in the Super Bowl for the fourth straight year, their second straight to the Dallas Cowboys.
This year’s AFC Championship Game will be the first playoff meeting between the Chiefs and Bills since that Kelly vs Montana matchup. When kickoff commences on Sunday, it will be 27 years and one day removed from their previous playoff meeting with a chance of reaching the Super Bowl on the line.
Reid Faces Former Protégé
The Andy Reid coaching tree is vast. More importantly, it has been extremely successful. Multiple playoff wins and Super Bowl appearances have resulted for former disciples like John Harbaugh, Ron Rivera and Doug Pederson just to name a few. Now attempting to join the ranks of those coaches is Sean McDermott. He may be already well respected, commanding and controlling his team in a strict, but fun way. That is similar to Reid’s approach, which is part of the reason as to why both the Chiefs and the Bills are in the position they have currently.
Let’s look back on how McDermott came up under Reid’s wing. He joined Andy’s staff with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2001, as an assistant to the head coach. McDermott worked his way up. He held certain titles like defensive assistant and quality control coach (2002-2003), assistant defensive backs coach (2004-2006), secondary coach (2007), linebackers coach (2008). Eventually, he would assume the role of Eagles defensive coordinator in 2009 and 2010.
He would go on to join the staff of the Carolina Panthers as their defensive coordinator thereafter. Working with another Reid disciple in the aforementioned Rivera, the Panthers defense was one of the best for a handful of years. They appeared in Super Bowl 50 with McDermott leading the defense.
Now nearly 20 years after originally joining Reid’s staff, the two will face off in the playoffs. The teacher is known as one of the best play callers in recent NFL history. He has also become more aggressive in the last few playoff years. On the other hand, the student has a daring side in his own right. With a positive culture and disciplined coaching style, McDermott has achieved more success than most pundits anticipated. He was rewarded with a six year contract extension this past summer, tying him through 2025.
Mahomes vs Allen
There is still no definite announcement that Patrick Mahomes will play on Sunday. However, we have heard encouraging reports. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted on Tuesday that he cleared “some big steps” in concussion protocol. In addition, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted “Mahomes has no symptoms.” Both reported that Mahomes will take part in practice on Wednesday. As a result, one would think the quarterback is over halfway through the five steps of the NFL’s concussion protocol.
If we do see Mahomes, the draft day history will be exciting to revisit. Of course, the team that the Chiefs traded with when moving up to nab Mahomes was the Bills. It garnered an additional first round pick for Buffalo the following year. The Bills were also able to add a shutdown corner in that 2017 first round as well. Tre’Davious White looked like a good pick at the time, and now it has resulted in dominance for Buffalo’s defense. And they have recently rewarded the LSU product with a four year contract extension for $70 million.
Possibly in some parallel universe, the Bills are having the success with Mahomes that we have recently seen. But at this point, they have to feel pretty comfortable with their own first round gamble on a quarterback. Josh Allen was not viewed in the spotlight among the other 2018 first round quarterbacks. This was not new for Allen, who received no NCAA Division I scholarship offers. He spent one year at a junior college in California. Finally, his Division I shot would come after accepting an offer from Wyoming.
Neither Mahomes nor Allen were heavily revered at first as early draft picks. Their teams have always had the utmost belief in them, nonetheless. Both continue to churn out win after win. Mahomes already has a Super Bowl ring, and Allen looks destined for a shot at one down the line. Both are two of the top quarterbacks currently in the league. Both have unmatched confidence and swagger. And simply, both have some of the best arm talent in the NFL.
All They Do Is Win
Winning in the NFL may look easy to some. Yet, that is far from the case. These two teams have been the hottest in the league in the last couple of years. Let’s look back on some of the recent greatness from the Chiefs and Bills.
Kansas City was stunned by a road loss against the Tennessee Titans in Week 10 last year. It was in a game they blew at the end. Since that contest, the Chiefs have been nearly perfect. Including the regular season and playoffs, they are winners in 24 of the last 26 games. Their command over the division rivals over the last handful of years has also been well documented. The Chiefs have now won the AFC West division crown for five consecutive seasons.
The success the Buffalo Bills have tasted recently may not be as lengthy as this week’s opponent. However, they have learned how to finish and complete games the right way. Buffalo’s 13 wins in the regular season this year was their most since 1991. It was also just their second campaign with double digit wins since the turn of the century. The Bills near perfect run this season was extremely noticeable in December. Since their bye, they currently have an eight game winning streak, which includes both regular season and playoffs. The Bills 11-1 record in their last 12 games could easily be a perfect 12-0. That lone loss was a result of a miracle play. Kyler Murray somehow completed the cleverly coined “Hail Murray” to DeAndre Hopkins in triple coverage to beat them.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs articles throughout the week. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.