Patrick Mahomes vs. Josh Allen by the numbers: The NFL's next great QB rivalry for Chiefs, Bills?

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Patrick Mahomes vs. Josh Allen by the numbers: The NFL's next great QB rivalry for Chiefs, Bills?
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Chiefs vs. Bills is starting to become a familiar matchup. The two teams are meeting for the fourth time over the last two seasons, and that means we’ll get to see Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen square off once again.

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Mahomes and Allen are two of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL, and each has something to prove. Mahomes wants to avenge an early-season loss to the Bills and get back to the Super Bowl after losing the big game to Tom Brady’s Buccaneers last year.

Meanwhile, Allen is still ruminating the Bills’ 38-24 defeat at the hands of the Chiefs in last year’s AFC Championship Game. He and Sean McDermott may have beaten Kansas City earlier in the season, but they are still out to prove that they can beat the Chiefs when it matters most.

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Does Allen or Mahomes have the edge in this matchup? Sporting News breaks down how Mahomes and Allen have performed head-to-head in previous matchups and what their long-term outlook is as rivals. 

Patrick Mahomes vs. Josh Allen head to head

This will be the fourth all-time meeting between Mahomes and Allen in their fourth years as starters for their respective teams.

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To date, Mahomes holds the advantage over Allen in this matchup. The Chiefs have a 2-1 record under his watch, and that includes a 38-24 win in the 2021 AFC Championship Game.

That said, Allen and the Bills earned a measure of revenge by beating the Chiefs early during the 2021 regular season. They won 38-20 over Kansas City and will now look to even the Mahomes vs. Allen rivalry at two games apiece.

Through three games, the numbers of both Mahomes and Allen have been very similar. Mahomes has been more efficient as a passer, but Allen has made up for his shortcomings in terms of accuracy with some extra scrambling stats.

Below are Mahomes and Allen’s numbers over their three previous meetings.

Stat Mahomes vs. Bills Allen vs. Chiefs
Record 2-1 1-2
Completion % 70.3 56.4
Passing yards 822 724
Pass TDs 7 7
Interceptions 2 2
Rushing attempts 23 28
Rushing yards 102 189
Rush TDs 0 1

And here is a game-by-game breakdown of how each player fared.

2020 regular season: Chiefs 26, Bills 17

Player Completion % Passing yards Pass TDs Interceptions Rushing attempts Rushing yards Rush TDs
Patrick Mahomes 80.8 225 2 0 10 36 0
Josh Allen 51.9 122 2 1 8 42 0

2020 playoffs: Chiefs 38, Bills 24

Player Completion % Passing yards Pass TDs Interceptions Rushing attempts Rushing yards Rush TDs
Patrick Mahomes 76.3 325 3 0 5 5 0
Josh Allen 58.3 287 2 1 7 88 0

2021 regular season: Bills 38, Chiefs 20

Player Completion % Passing yards Pass TDs Interceptions Rushing attempts Rushing yards Rush TDs
Patrick Mahomes 61.1 272 2 2 8 61 0
Josh Allen 57.8 315 3 0 11 59 1

BENDER: Where Mahomes, Allen rank among 14 QBs to make playoffs

Patrick Mahomes vs. Josh Allen stats 2021

Both Mahomes and Allen had strong seasons in 2021. They each had some bumps in the road — both logged career-worst marks in terms of interceptions and each had a couple of down games — but generally, they played well.

The numerical comparison between the two quarterbacks is quite similar. Mahomes was a more prolific passer while Allen did far more with his legs, but overall, they produced almost exactly the same amount of total yardage. Allen had 5,170 total yards and 42 total touchdowns while Mahomes posted 5,220 yards and 39 total touchdowns.

Below is a full statistical breakdown of the two this season.

Stat Patrick Mahomes Josh Allen
Record 12-5 11-6
Completion % 66.3 63.3
Passing yards 4,839 4,407
Pass TDs 37 36
Interceptions 13 15
Rushing attempts 66 122
Rushing yards 381 763
Rush TDs 2 6

IYER: Why Josh Allen gives Bills a long-term edge over Patriots

Is Patrick Mahomes vs. Josh Allen the next Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning?

There’s nothing that people love more than a great quarterback duel, and there’s no doubting that the rivalry between Manning and Brady was one of the best of all time. Since Manning’s retirement following Super Bowl 50, fans have been waiting for the next great quarterback battle to emerge.

Mahomes vs. Allen certainly could stake its claim to the mantle. The two quarterbacks have a lot of similarities, and that’s part of what made the Manning-Brady rivalry great. Manning and Brady had matching styles, as they were hyper-accurate passers who were nearly impossible to turn over when all was going well. They could beat you with not only their excellent arm talent, but also their mind.

Allen and Mahomes’ skill sets are different than Brady and Manning’s, but they are very similar to one another. Both quarterbacks are highly-regarded former first-round picks. They each have great mobility, a cannon arm and a penchant for making plays that few other quarterbacks — or no other quarterbacks — can make. Be it a cross-body frozen rope to an open receiver or a scramble out of a sack for a huge gain, Allen and Mahomes are big-time playmakers.

Could Mahomes vs. Allen be the NFL’s next elite quarterback rivalry like Brady vs. Manning? Absolutely.

In fact, the early Chiefs vs. Bills games of the Mahomes-Allen era have arguably been more competitive than the early Brady-Manning days. At the very least, the quarterbacks have been a bit more equal than Brady and Manning were in their first three games, when Brady was merely an efficient passer while Manning was prolific but struggled with turnovers against Bill Belichick’s strong defense.

Stat Brady vs. Colts Manning vs. Patriots
Record 3-0 0-3
Completion % 70.5 61.2
Passing yards 506 809
Pass TDs 5 6
Interceptions 2 4

Indeed, when looking at how things have started, Mahomes vs. Allen has a bright future. All that said, it’s a bit early to crown that rivalry the next Brady vs. Manning. We probably need to see at least one or two classic, back-and-forth battles between these quarterbacks as they begin to reach their respective primes. They also have to make this a regular meeting, as Manning and Brady met a whopping 17 times during their careers. The Bills and Chiefs are playing for the fourth time in the last two years, so they are off to a good start in this area.

Of course, Allen vs. Mahomes isn’t the only quarterback battle in the running to be the next all-time great rivalry. Both Mahomes vs. Lamar Jackson and Mahomes vs. Justin Herbert could gain steam over the next couple of years.

Jackson struggled against the Chiefs in the early stages of his career before leading the Ravens to a win over them this year. He won’t go blow-for-blow with Mahomes as a passer, but his electric playmaking ability will give him a chance to be one of Mahomes’ rivals over the years.

As for Herbert, he plays in the same division as Mahomes, so he’s guaranteed to see him twice per year. Herbert has a 2-2 record against Mahomes and the Chiefs to date and has more TDs against the Chiefs (13) than any other opponent. If he continues to rise, that could become the league’s premier quarterback matchup.

Allen could also find a rival if any of the AFC’s East’s three young quarterbacks — Mac Jones, Zach Wilson and Tua Tagovailoa — take a step forward. If not, perhaps he’ll go head to head with Jackson, who was also drafted in 2018. Joe Burrow also will represent a threat to Mahomes and Allen, so there are quite a few options for great future quarterback battles.

And that’s just in the AFC.

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