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Buffalo Bills 36, Kansas City Chiefs 42: rapid reaction and notes

Oh man

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Well folks, the calendar tells me that the Super Bowl isn’t until the first weekend in February, but you could have fooled me after watching tonight. This was, without a doubt, the best football game I’ve ever watched. Frankly, it’s a shame that one of these teams had to lose. Unfortunately, it was Buffalo Bills losing, dropping a heartbreaking loss 42-36.

Buffalo lost the opening coin toss, and they executed a 13-play drive to score on their first possession. The Bills converted two fourth downs—one at midfield to extend the drive and another from the two-yard line to score. The first fourth down was a Josh Allen sweep. The second was a toss to Devin Singletary for a two-yard score. Buffalo led 7-0.

Not to be outdone, the Kansas City Chiefs turned around and marched down the field themselves. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes did most of the damage with his legs, scrambling three times for 49 yards. The last of those runs was a seven-yard touchdown—a diving score that evened things at seven.

The teams traded punts on their next two possessions, as Matt Haack booted a gorgeous 49-yard punt that Tyler Matakevich batted back into play for Reid Ferguson to down at the one. Buffalo forced a punt after just three plays, and Micah Hyde signaled for a fair catch on Buffalo’s 43-yard line.

Buffalo punted again on their third possession, as a third-down handoff to Devin Singletary was snuffed out by rookie linebacker Nick Bolton. This punt wasn’t quite as effective, as it merely pinned the Chiefs at their own 13 after a Mecole Hardman fair catch.

The Chiefs wasted no time, gaining chunk yards on their first four plays to advance to Buffalo’s 21-yard line. A three-yard loss on a reverse to Tyreek Hill slowed the momentum a bit, but a Clyde Edwards-Helaire catch-and-run gave Kansas City a 3rd & 3. Jerick McKinnon lowered the boom on Dane Jackson to gain the first down, setting up a goal-to-go situation. An Ed Oliver sack on first down put the Chiefs behind the sticks. The Bills sacked Mahomes again on third down, but Dane Jackson was called for holding, setting up 1st & GOAL again. Two plays later, Mahomes made a phenomenal throw to Byron Pringle for a touchdown, giving the Chiefs a 14-7 lead after the Harrison Butker extra point.

Buffalo moved to midfield in one play, as Josh Allen hit Cole Beasley for 24 over the middle. A completion to Stefon Diggs and another to Beasley gave the Bills 3rd & 2, which Buffalo converted on an in-cut to Gabriel Davis. The Bills were in field goal ranged with 53 seconds to play. Two Allen sweeps took the Bills inside the red zone. Allen hit Davis over the middle on the next play for a touchdown. Tyler Bass tied the score at 14 with the PAT.

After another defensive holding call gave Kansas City a first down, two passes to Tyreek Hill and another Travis Kelce moved Kansas City into field goal range. Butker attempted a 50-yard field goal, and he doinked it off the right upright to keep the game tied.

The Chiefs moved the ball on the first drive of the third quarter, chewing up nearly eight minutes of clock in driving deep into Buffalo territory. A holding penalty on third down negated what would have been a Kansas City first down, and Butker redeemed himself with a 39-yard field goal to make it 17-14.

The Bills had a golden opportunity to take control of the game on their next drive, but a three-and-out gave the Chiefs the ball back quickly. They were at midfield within two plays. Two plays after that, Mecole Hardman took a jet sweep, looked like he was stopped cold, and blew past Mario Addison, Jordan Poyer, and the rest of the Buffalo defense. Butker missed the extra point, keeping the score 23-14.

Buffalo’s next drive was a play, as the Bills lined up in a tight formation, ran a play-action pass, and Josh Allen fired a dime to Gabriel Davis for 75 yards and the perfect answer to Kansas City’s touchdown. Tyler Bass nailed the PAT to draw within 23-21.

Mahomes moved the Chiefs to midfield quickly, gaining six on a scramble and then completing two passes before the third quarter came to a close. Buffalo ultimately stopped Kansas City on third down, as Taron Johnson defended a pass over the middle intended for Byron Pringle. A Tommy Townsend punt pinned the Bills at their own eight after a Micah Hyde fair catch.

On first down, Allen climbed the pocket and hit Gabriel Davis for a big gain, moving the Bills to the 25. A bad throw by Allen to the flat for Dawson Knox followed by a false start on Knox put the Bills at 2nd & 15 from their own 20-yard line. Allen nearly hit Davis on what would have been a gorgeous toe-tap grab, but Davis had to double-clutch on the catch. Allen was sacked on the next play, and Matt Haack hit a 54-yard punt that Tyreek Hill returned for 13 yards. Offsetting penalties led to a re-kick. That was not good for Buffalo, as Hill returned the punt 46 yards to the Buffalo 16.

Two Jerick McKinnon runs gave the Chiefs a 3rd & 1, and the second carry nearly ended in disaster for the Chiefs. McKinnon fumbled, but it was recovered by a Kansas City offensive lineman. The Chiefs tried some trickery on third down, but head coach Sean McDermott snuffed it out. Dane Jackson made the tackle on an option-pitch from Blake Bell to McKinnon, and Butker nailed the 28-yard field goal to make it 26-21.

Allen and the Bills began a methodical drive, earning a first down on 3rd & 2 with a second completion to Cole Beasley. On the second third down, Allen bullied his way to a first down by lowering his shoulder for a nine-yard gain. Another completion to Beasley set up a 3rd & 1, which Allen converted on a bootleg. With just over four minutes remaining, the Bills had a fresh set of downs at the Kansas City 36. After an incomplete pass to Beasley, Buffalo had a 3rd & 6. The call was an Allen sweep left, gaining two yards. On fourth down, Buffalo looked lost, but Allen did his thing, picking up six yards to keep hope alive.

Cole Beasley dropped a pass on the next play, a throw barely behind him. Nick Bolton nearly intercepted it. Allen gained three on the next play, another designed run. On third down, Chris Jones killed Daryl Williams, blowing up the play and leading to a seven-yard loss right at the two-minute warning. The Bills had a 4th & 13 to salvage their season.

Hope seemed lost. But then, Josh Allen happened. On fourth down, he bought time and hit a WIDE OPEN Gabriel Davis in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown. Allen then rolled out left, bought time, and hit Stefon Diggs to convert the two-point try. Buffalo led 29-26.

After forcing two incomplete passes to start Kansas City’s next drive, Mahomes hit Travis Kelce for a first down. After another incomplete pass, the Bills let Tyreek Hill beat them on a crossing route. The man they call the cheetah did what he does best, racing 64 yards for a touchdown. Butker made the PAT, giving Kansas City a 33-29 lead.

Josh Allen took the field with 62 seconds, three timeouts, and a four-point deficit to erase. After an incomplete pass, Allen hit Gabriel Davis for yet another big gain, moving the Bills to the Kansas City 47. Another pass to Davis, this one for 12 yards, put the ball at the 35 with 43 seconds left. Rather than calling another timeout, the Bills ran a play, and an incomplete pass to Diggs left them with 23 seconds in the game. Emmanuel Sanders caught a pass where he was interfered with, moving to the 19 with just 17 seconds remaining. Then, Josh Allen threw a DART to, who else…Gabriel Davis for ANOTHER touchdown. Bass hit the PAT to give the Bills a 36-33 lead.

Tyler Bass kicked the ball out of the end zone, and Patrick Mahomes had 13 seconds to move into field goal range. A 19-yard pass to Tyreek Hill gave the Chiefs a chance with eight seconds left. Another long completion to Travis Kelce gave the Chiefs a shot at a 48-yard field goal, and Butker nailed it to tie the game at 36.

The Chiefs won the toss and, since Marty Mornhinweg wasn’t available, elected to receive. The Chiefs converted a first down on 3rd & 1, as Mahomes hit Kelce for seven. They converted a second first down on a Jerick McKinnon screen, gaining 16 yards on second down to move to the Buffalo 38. A blown coverage on a crossing route gave Mecole Hardman a gain to the eight-yard line. Travis Kelce caught a touchdown on the next play, and Buffalo’s season was over.


NOTES:

  • Josh Allen was 27-of-37 for 329 yards and four touchdowns.
  • Gabriel Davis had eight catches for 201 yards and all four of those touchdowns.
  • Buffalo’s season has ended at Arrowhead for the second consecutive season. The Chiefs will host the Cincinnati Bengals next week in the AFC Championship Game.
  • Tyreek Hill caught 11 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown. It’s safe to say that the Bills missed Tre’Davious White tonight.