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Bills-Chiefs recap: Key moments in win probability swings

“Fine, I’ll do it myself”—Josh Allen, probably

NFL: OCT 16 Bills at Chiefs Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With less than 20 seconds remaining in the second quarter of the long-awaited matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo found itself down 7-3 with just a win probability of 36.2%, according to ESPN Analytics. As quarterback Josh Allen found wide receiver Gabe Davis down the right sideline with just 16 seconds remaining in the first half, the Bills found themselves with their first lead of the game, 10-7.

Just 12 seconds were left on the clock for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to work his magic and get more points on the board and in typical Bills fashion, he did just that. The Chiefs were able to drive down the field and kicker Harrison Butker nailed a 62-yard field goal as time expired.

Nonetheless, the Bills stuck it out and came out with the victory. The game’s win probability metric was all over the place throughout the game, but here’s how it looked as the second half came down to the wire and the Bills came out on top.

Halftime—KC with a 56.7% win probability: Despite taking the lead with under 20 seconds left in the first half, the Bills’ defense folded and allowed the Chiefs to tie the game before the half ended, resulting in the win probability favoring the Chiefs to start the third quarter. The Chiefs didn’t struggle whatsoever driving down the field, but a missed 51-yard field goal from Butker got Buffalo’s momentum going.

Third quarter, 7:02 remaining—BUF with a 72.4% win probability: Building off the momentum generated by the defense, the offense wasted no time at all, scoring a touchdown on just six plays for 59 yards and taking the seven-point lead to go up 17-10. This was the first drive of the game aside from the two-minute drill before the half that Buffalo’s offense looked like its usual self.

Fourth quarter, 14:17 remaining—KC with a 58.4% win probability: The Bills were moving the ball but stalled late in the third quarter and missed on a 4th & 3 opportunity on the KC 46-yard line. The Chiefs had a prime opportunity to take a seven-point lead here after Mahomes found wide receiver Mecole Hardman immediately following the Bills’ six-play touchdown drive. Buffalo’s defense came through and stalled Mahomes enough to force a field goal. At this point, the Bills were down 20-17 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game.

Fourth quarter, 1:04 remaining—BUF with a 89.9% win probability: Buffalo orchestrated a beautiful 12-play, 76-yard drive ending in a touchdown catch by tight end Dawson Knox with just over a minute remaining. This was the Superhero Allen drive where he picked up multiple first downs with his legs. But wide receiver Stefon Diggs also showcased his ability to be an offensive closer, catching three balls for 34 yards. Bills Mafia was feeling good but had to remember how much time was left on the clock and who the opposing quarterback was.

Fourth quarter, 0:56 remaining—BUF with a 99.7% win probability: On the defensive side of the ball, Bills edge rusher Von Miller had to prove he was the defensive closer on this team. Yet another flag went in Mahomes’s favor as cornerback Siran Neal was called for defensive holding on the first play of the Chiefs’ final drive. On the second play, Miller applied a ton of pressure, flustering Mahomes enough to throw the game-sealing interception picked off by cornerback Taron Johnson. After running back Devin Singletary gained six yards6 and Allen executed two kneel-downs, the game was over and the Bills walked out of Arrowhead Stadium with another regular-season victory.