(Reuters) – The long-suffering Buffalo Bills can move to within one win of a maiden Super Bowl title on Sunday when they face the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who said on Friday he has cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol.
The reigning Super Bowl MVP’s availability for the AFC Championship had been a major talking point ever since he got knocked out of last Sunday’s game after a hit that left him struggling to stand on his feet.
Mahomes, who was listed as a limited participant in practice the past two days and took the majority of first-team reps on Thursday, said he was evaluated by several doctors as he made his way through the concussion protocol.
“The week has just been a bunch of testing, a bunch of different things to make sure that I am good to go and there is no lingering effects or anything like that,” Mahomes told reporters.
“But everything has been good. I went through what all three, four different doctors have said, everything looked well an I am out of it now.”
With Mahomes, the NFL’s most dynamic passer, cleared to play versus the visiting Bills, the game could prove to be an instant and high-scoring classic featuring the conference’s top two seeds and passing quarterback heavyweights.
The Bills, who famously lost four consecutive trips to the Super Bowl in the 1990s, bring newfound swagger into the matchup as the team enjoyed a long-awaited return to prominence this season behind the play of quarterback Josh Allen.
Since establishing himself as a legitimate regular season MVP candidate, Allen led the Bills to their first post-season win in 25 years, and has passed for 530 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in two playoff games.
“This is the next step for Josh,” said Bills coach Sean McDermott. “This is what you work for, this is what he’s worked for. He’ll be ready and we’re extremely confident in Josh.”
When the two teams last met in October, the Chiefs won 26-17 and limited Allen, who threw for two touchdowns, to a season-low 122 passing yards.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)