It wasn’t quite the changing of the guard, as the old guard, Tom Brady, managed to outgun Patrick Mahomes in a thrilling 37-31 overtime win by the Patriots over the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game on Sunday.
But football fans got to see the greatest of all-time in Brady have to do everything in his power to hold off the man who is his heir apparent, Mahomes.
It was a thrilling fourth quarter and overtime period as it came down to literally the last man with the ball wins.
After the game, Brady was so impressed by his counterpart that he went to the Chiefs locker room to meet with Mahomes privately, ESPN’s Jeff Darlington tweeted after the game.
“Tom Brady just quietly approached a security guard waiting outside the Chiefs’ locker room — and asked if he could see Patrick Mahomes. Brady was escorted into a room where he spoke briefly with him. A very clear display of respect from one incredible quarterback to another,” Darlington wrote.
Yahoo Sports Dan Wetzel caught up with Brady to ask him about the conversation.
“I just wanted to say hello,” Brady told Wetzel. “I didn’t get to see him on the field. He’s a great player. He played a great game.”
The two quarterbacks went toe-to-toe as the game saw four touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Mahomes threw touchdown passes of 1 yard and 23 yards to Damien Williams in the fourth to give the Chiefs a 21-17 lead.
The Pats came back to take the lead on a 10-yard touchdown run by Sony Michel to make it 24-21 with 3:32 left.
Mahomes led the Chiefs back again after a 38-yard strike to Sammy Watkins and a 2-yard run by Williams to make it 28-24 with 2:03 left.
Brady led the Pats back to take the lead on a 4-yard touchdown run by Rex Burkhead to make it 31-28 with 39 seconds left.
But once again, Mahomes led his team back to tie it with a 39-yard field goal by Harrison Butker with 8 seconds left to send it to OT.
The Pats won the coin flip and Brady engineered a 75-yard scoring drive capped off by a 2-yard touchdown run by Burkhead to win it.
It was an instant classic. Brady wound up 30 of 46 with one touchdown and two interceptions. He had a QBR of 77.1. Mahomes was 16 for 31 with 295 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. He had a QBR of 117.
“You have to accept that this hurts. It’s supposed to hurt. You put in work for this. You’re doing everything you can to get to the Super Bowl and to win it. For this opportunity to fall short, it’s going to hurt and he told us to accept that,” Mahomes said after the game.
“You have to go through that. At the same time, when you look back and then you come back to look at the bigger picture, you know that you can build off of this feeling and use it as motivation to go out and find ways to win next time.”
Brady said his team has overcome a lot this year.
“The odds were stacked against us. It hasn’t been that way for us in a while, and it certainly was this year,” he said.
Brady heads to the Super Bowl for the ninth time to take on the Rams on Feb. 3 in Atlanta.