13 Seconds - Was Buffalo at Kansas City the Greatest Playoff Game Ever? Let's Rank Them.
Thought for today...
Don't wait for the hearse to bring you to church.
What a game! The Chiefs beat the Bills 42-36 in overtime on Sunday. Let's recall what happened and fit it into the top dozen playoff games of all time. First, here is a recap of the Chiefs win.
Kansas City 42 Buffalo 36 (OT) - This game doesn't have an official nickname yet, but it deserves one. How about "13 Seconds"?! The game featured the best quarterback play I have ever seen in my life. Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen duked it out for the entire game. One haymaker after another was thrown in this one. Devin Singletary ran in a TD to start the scoring. Mahomes ran in TD then threw a TD pass to Byron Pringle to put the Chiefs up 14-7. Josh Allen threw a TD pass to Gabriel Davis to tie it 14-14. Harrison Butker missed a 50-yard field goal just before the half. The Chiefs got a field goal to go up 17-14, then Mecole Hardman had a 25-yard run to put the Chiefs up 23-14, but Butker missed his second kick, this one being an extra point. Now, the fireworks are really starting. It took Josh Allen one play to respond. Allen threw a 75-yard bomb to Davis to make it 23-21. In the fourth quarter Butker hit a short field goal for a 26-21 Chiefs lead. Buffalo got the ball late in the game. Allen marched the Bills downfield. He converted 4th and 4 with an incredible scramble down the sideline. Then, on 4th and 13, he fired a TD pass to Davis. He followed that up with a 2-point conversion to Stephon Diggs to go up 29-26 with only 1:54 left in the game. Mahomes led the Chiefs downfield. He fired a pinpoint pass to Tyreek Hill on a slant. Hill had a step on the defender, and that's all he needed. If anyone doubts Hill is the fastest player in the NFL, they should watch the replay of that play. He blazed down the right sideline for a TD making defensive backs look like they were jogging. That put the Chiefs up 33-29 with 1:02 left. Could Josh Allen bring the Bills back with only 1:02 left? He worked the ball down the field making pinpoint throw after pinpoint throw. He ran and passed down to the Chiefs 19-yard line with 17 seconds to play. Davis caught his playoff record 4th TD pass from Allen with 13 seconds to play, and the celebration was on. Bills players were hugging each other. My son packed up his stuff to leave my house. The Chiefs had three timeouts left, but what can anyone do in 13 seconds? The kickoff went through the end zone, so the Chiefs got the ball at the 25-yard line. Mahomes threw a short pass to Hill who ran quickly to the 44-yard line before being tackled. Timeout with eight seconds left. The Chiefs called a play to try to get the ball to TE Travis Kelce. Kelce noticed that the Bills were playing outside coverage to try to keep the Chiefs inbounds. He told Mahomes that he might not run the play the way it was designed. At the line of scrimmage, Mahomes yelled, "Do it, Kelc. Do it! Do it!" Kelce faked like he was going toward the sideline but cut upfield just as Mahomes delivered the ball perfectly. Kelce ran to the Bills 31-yard line. Timeout with three seconds left. Butker had missed two kicks, but he calmly drilled the 49-yard field goal to send the game to overtime, and the crowd went crazy. TV announcer Tony Romo excitedly said, "Nobody scores in 13 seconds in real life!" The Chiefs won the coin toss and quickly moved downfield. Perfect pass after perfect pass led the Chiefs to the Bills 8-yard line. Mahomes threw a back shoulder pass to Kelce in the end zone, and it was over. From that time forward, it will be known that 13 seconds is too much time to give Mahomes and the Chiefs. What a game!
Where does this game rank among the greatest playoff games ever? Here are the playoff games that I consider to be the 12 greatest.
12) Super Bowl 43 - Pittsburgh 27 Arizona 23 - The Cardinals got behind 20-7 in this game, partially due to Steelers LB James Harrison's 100-yard interception TD to end the first half, but they came back to take the lead in the fourth quarter 23-20 when Larry Fitzgerald caught a 64-yard pass from Kurt Warner. With under three minutes to play, the Steelers got the ball back. Ben Roethlisberger led an 88-yard TD drive that ended with an unbelievable TD throw to Santonio Holmes who tapped his toes just barely inbounds near the corner of the end zone.
11) January 4, 2014 - Indianapolis 45 Kansas City 44 - Everything went right for the Chiefs in this game until it didn't! The Chiefs built up a 38-10 lead in the third quarter. The Colts started scoring, and momentum was switched. It looked like the Colts comeback might not happen when they fumbled near the Chiefs goal line, but QB Andrew Luck picked up the fumble and dove into the end zone to keep the comeback on track. WR T. Y. Hilton caught the 64-yard game winner before the Chiefs failed with their last ditch drive.
10) Super Bowl 49 - New England 28 Seattle 24 - This game was tremendous throughout. The Patriots were down 24-14 going to the fourth quarter, but they took the lead with two TDs. Seattle had one last chance. They quickly moved the ball downfield as Russell Wilson passed to Jermaine Kearse for 33 yards. They wound up at the Patriots 1-yard line. Thinking that the Patriots would send the entire defense after RB Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks decided to pass. The pass was picked off by rookie Malcolm Butler as he made a fantastic play to jump in front of the receiver in the front edge of the end zone as the ball was thrown. That led to Tom Brady's highest vertical jump ever... about 10 inches, LOL... as he jumped up from his bench.
9) Super Bowl 25 - New York Giants 20 Buffalo 19 - This is the closest Super Bowl ever. The Bills went up 12-3 in the first half, but Jeff Hostetler and the Giants closed the score to 12-10 at the half and took the lead with a TD in the third quarter. The game came down to a 48-yard field goal attempt by the Bills Scott Norwood with the score 20-19 Giants. The kick was long enough but barely wide right.
8) Christmas Day, 1971 - Miami 27 Kansas City 24 (2OT) - This is the longest game ever played in the NFL (82 minutes, 40 seconds). Ed Podolak of the Chiefs ran, caught passes, returned punts and returned kickoffs for an unbelievable 350 all-purpose yards. The Chiefs went up 10-0 in the first quarter. The Dolphins tied it up 10-10 at the half. Each team scored in the third quarter to make it 17-17. Another TD apiece in the fourth quarter made it 24-24. One overtime period of 15 minutes didn't settle things. Finally, deep into the second period of overtime, Garo Yepremian kicked a 37-yard field goal to win it.
7) January 3, 1993 - Buffalo 41 Houston 38 (OT) - This game was so great that it has two nicknames, The Comeback and The Choke. The score in the third quarter was 35-3 Oilers. At that point an Oilers radio announcer said, "The lights are on here at Rich Stadium, they've been on since this morning, you could pretty much turn them out on the Bills right now." Never had a team come back from being 32 points down. Never before and never since, but on this day, the Buffalo Bills stormed back with 28 points in the third quarter alone. They took the lead 38-35 only to have the Oilers kick a field goal to force overtime. Steve Christie kicked a short field goal to win the game.
6) Super Bowl 51 - New England 34 Atlanta 28 (OT) - The Patriots were down 28-3 in the second half. They looked dead in the water. Matt Ryan fumbled, Julian Edelman had a fingertip catch, and Danny Amendola had a 2-point conversion to force overtime. Late in the fourth quarter, all the Falcons had to do was run the ball and kick a medium length field goal to seal the win, but they tried to pass and goofed it up. You don't goof up against Tom Brady. In overtime, James White scored on a 2-yard run to win it.
5) NFL Championship, 1958 - Baltimore 23 New York Giants 17 (OT) - Many still call this the greatest game ever. It was the first great TV game. Johnny Unitas was the Colts QB, and the Giants were led by Frank Gifford and Sam Huff. Raymond Berry caught 12 passes for the Colts. Alan "The Iron Horse" Ameche ran in the winning TD in overtime.
4) NFL Championship, 1967 - Green Bay 21 Dallas 17 - The Ice Bowl! Temperatures were around -13 degrees. The winner of this game would go to Super Bowl 2. Without the crazy weather, this game would still make the list. The Packers took a slim 14-10 lead into the half. The Cowboys scored in the fourth quarter to make it 17-14 Cowboys. The Packers worked their way downfield, then with under 20 seconds left to play, they were at the Dallas 1-yard line, and it was fourth down. They could have kicked a field goal to force overtime, but Vince Lombardi decided to go for the win. Bart Starr ran a quarterback sneak behind Hall of Fame offensive lineman, Jerry Kramer. Kramer drove back the Dallas defensive lineman in front of him. It was a clear TD.
3) January 16, 2022 - Kansas City 42 Buffalo 36 (OT) - Here is where I put the Chiefs/Bills game. (See recap above.) It's not the best I've ever seen, but it's really close!
2) January 2, 1982 - San Diego 41 Miami 38 (OT) - The Chargers had an unbelievable cast of offensive players. QB Dan Fouts, RB Chuck Muncie, RB James Brooks, WR Charlie Joiner, WR Wes Chandler, TE Kellen Winslow were some of those players. Before the Rams had the Greatest Show on Turf, these players comprised Air Coryell, named after the Chargers head coach, Don Coryell. If you blinked your eyes, you could miss two touchdowns. The Chargers jumped out to a 24-0 lead in the first quarter! The Dolphins closed to 24-10, then just before the half, Don Strock threw to WR Duriel Harris for 15 yards then Harris lateralled the ball to RB Tony Nathan who ran down the sideline for a TD. That unbelievable play got them within 24-17 at the half. The Dolphins tied it up before Winslow caught a TD pass to put the Chargers back ahead. The Dolphins scored the next two TDs to go up 38-31. Fouts threw a great TD pass to Brooks to tie the game at 38-38, then Kellen Winslow blocked a field goal at the end of regulation to send it to overtime. Players were slam worn out by now since they were playing in the Miami humidity. Winslow was lying down on the bench, and players were cramping up. Finally, in overtime, Rolf Benirschke's 29-yard field goal won it. The lasting image in my mind will always be Winslow with a small towel over his head and his arms draped around a player's shoulders on his left and on his right helping him get to the locker room. He had given everything he had.
1) January 10, 1982 - San Francisco 28 Dallas 27 - This game featured "The Catch" by Dwight Clark. The Cowboys were the established powerhouse, and San Francisco was the upstart team led by Joe Montana. The Cowboys took a 27-21 lead, and the 49ers got the ball on their own 11-yard line late in the fourth quarter. Montana led the 49ers down to the Dallas 6-yard line. I believe it was third down. Montana moved to his right. Just before he reached the sideline, he lofted a pass that appeared to be a throw away out of the back of the end zone, but Dwight Clark reached as high as he could and caught the ball while being closely guarded by Everson Walls. "The Catch!" The game still was not over. The Cowboys had a few seconds left and completed a 31-yard pass to Drew Pearson. He almost broke free for a TD, but the 49ers defender grabbed Pearson's jersey with one hand to make the tackle. QB Danny White was sacked and fumbled to save the game for the 49ers. After the game, Ed "Too Tall" Jones of the Cowboys told Joe Montana, "You just beat America's Team." Montana replied, "Well, you can sit on your ass with the rest of America and watch the Super Bowl." The 49ers went on to win that, too.
May God always be your number 1 draft pick!