The Bills scored a go-ahead touchdown against the Chiefs to take a 36-33 lead and all but seal a victory in Sunday’s AFC divisional playoff game. They just had to hold the Chiefs’ offense in check for 13 seconds to clinch a second consecutive trip to the AFC Championship Game.
They couldn’t do it. The Chiefs picked up 44 yards in 10 seconds to set up a game-tying field goal attempt from Harrison Butker. He nailed it and Kansas City went on to win in overtime, 42-36.
After the game, there were many questions asked about the Bills’ defensive strategy on the final possession of regulation. However, one stood out to fans: Why didn’t the Bills call for a squib kick to make the Chiefs waste time on a potential return?
Hypothetically, that approach would have caused the Chiefs to run at least a few seconds off the clock and put them in that much more of a time crunch.
Instead, Buffalo’s Tyler Bass blasted the kickoff out of the end zone and allowed the Chiefs to take the ball at the 25-yard line with no additional time coming off the clock. That left enough time for Mahomes, armed with three timeouts, to run two full plays and get into field goal range.
So, why did the Bills elect to kick it deep? Coach Sean McDermott declined to explain his logic during his postgame news conference.
“I don’t really want to get into specifics,” McDermott said, per CBS Sports. “Overall, there were things we talked about and we can just execute better. That starts with me and goes all of the way down,” McDermott said. “I don’t want to get into specifics now. I am really proud of the guys and their effort. Obviously, they made a couple of plays down the stretch, so I will just leave it at that.”
McDermott also repeatedly pointed the finger at himself for the Bills’ poor defensive execution down the stretch and lamented that the game came down to 13 seconds during which the Bills couldn’t stop the Chiefs.
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“Again, I’m going to put it on the execution at this point and myself. I’m just going to leave it at that,” McDermott said. “I am proud of all of them. These guys came through a lot. They really did and to come out here and the game come down to pretty much 13 seconds, I think they all feel the same way I do.
“We are all sick to our stomach and it hurts. We worked really hard to get here, number one. I know the fans are disappointed, and I wish I could take that off of them. I wish I could take it off of the team, but we can’t. What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger, and this will make us stronger. It will take some time, but it should make us stronger.”