Buffalo Bills Divisional Round Recap: What Could Have Been
This was beyond heart-breaking. I have no words to describe just how utterly devastating this Buffalo Bills loss was. But I apparently hate myself, because I’m going to give a breakdown of the game’s best and worst moments.
1) Bills Defense fails to produce
I said worst moments, but I could only find one thing wrong with this loss, and that was the defense. In particular, the defensive line and linebackers. Now, in my opinion, the secondary did their job, they took away Mahomes’ ability to air it out. But this isn’t good enough, not when they are the number one ranked defense in the entire league. This was the first explosive offense the Bills have had to deal with all season and they couldn’t keep up.
Allowing 552 total yards (370 passing, 182 rushing) was excessive but not totally unexpected either. We all knew Mahomes wouldn’t make it easy, but as all good QBs do, he made plays out of what he had using his legs and dumping it off underneath.
I was confident he wouldn’t be able to keep that up all game long. It’s a lot to ask of one man, but then the defense seemed to shit the bed. They are known for making the big plays, for stopping those crucial third downs, and they just weren’t able to do it this time. They did limit KC to a couple of FGs in big moments, stopping them from running away with the lead. But it just wasn’t enough. A lot of missed sack opportunities and the refusal to tackle is biting them in the ass.
But, I’m not overly worried about this defense. The secondary is phenomenal. I stand by that no matter what the outcome. Tre White being out causes issues, sure, but they have a good group back there. And this defensive line is for sure something that needs to be improved, but it should be worth noting that Addison was playing injured, this was Obada’s first ever playoff game, and Groot and Boogie are still just rookies. There’s a lot to look forward to regarding this defense. They could’ve played better, but I’m not throwing the towel in on them. Never.
Let’s not forget that it’s in large part because of them, that the Buffalo Bills were even in the playoffs.
2) Mr. Perimeter – Gabriel Davis
All season long, Buffalo Bills fans from across the globe called for Gabriel Davis to be a starting wideout. We all saw what he did last season, we knew this guy was special, we knew what he was capable of. I can admit though, that having him on the sidelines wasn’t an issue for me. Sanders, Diggs, and Beasley were getting the job done. I saw no reason why Davis, in just his second year, couldn’t take a backseat. Plenty of opportunity to perfect his craft and get better.
And boy did he.
A record-setting performance for the Toe Drag King. Eight receptions for 201 yards and four touchdowns. Let me say that again:
EIGHT RECEPTIONS FOR 201 YARDS AND FOUR TOUCHDOWNS.
No one in NFL history had four receiving TDs in a single postseason game. Then again, there has been no one comparable to Gabriel Davis in NFL history. I said what I said. The awareness, speed, and agility of this guy means no one can guard him. Mike Hughes damn near broke his ankles. The best part? We will get to see the duo of Davis and Allen for years and years. Not bad for a fourth rounder.
3) The General. The Angel of Death. Josh Allen
Before this game, I tweeted that, in order for Allen to be neck and neck with Mahomes, he needed to either win an MVP or a Super Bowl. I now rescind that.
This game was a QB showdown, and I cannot place one above the other. They are equally as good, equally as talented, and equally as god-like.
Allen went 27/37 for 329 passing yards, four touchdowns, and 68 rushing yards. He played his heart out and left it all on the field. He had no interceptions, no stupid throws. It was smart and surgical. Each of his passes landed directly in his receivers’ hands. They weren’t having to chase to ball, no weird adjustments, just accurate as hell. It was stunning to see.
His only mistake the entire game was picking tails.
His performance tonight just showed that he is more than capable of bringing a Super Bowl to Buffalo. And it’ll be sooner rather than later.
4) Matt Haack?
With the way I blasted him just a few weeks ago, no one is more surprised than me to see him on this list, and yet here we are.
After not punting for 13 offensive drives, Haack saw the field again. And he proved that the time off was worth it, with a 50 yard punt all the way to the Chiefs one yard line. Impressive for a guy I was calling to replace.
But that’s not even the best play he made. Matt Haack wrapped up Tyreek Hill. Yes, that skinny little punter took down that beast of a WR and brought him to a stop in Buffalo’s territory. He stopped what would’ve been a TD and then the defense kept KC to a FG. Matt Haack kept four points off the board. Never thought I would be thanking him, and yet here we are.
I know there are a lot of people unhappy with some play calls, but that’s all in hindsight. The decision to punt on 4th and 1, squib vs. sending out, etc. There are a lot of things to be upset about, but the way this game was coached is not one of them.
To have four lead changes in the space of just a few minutes is unheard of in the NFL. It’s not supposed to happen; offenses get tired, defenses get tired. But neither team was willing to back down and you can’t coach for situations like that. They did what they could in the situations they were in. Daboll is out this offseason, Frazier is too (hopefully, he deserves it). They went out on top this game. What McDermott built here with those guys flanked either side of him is something to be proud of. Don’t hate on them.
This is not the way anyone wanted this Buffalo Bills season to end, obviously. But it’s almost bittersweet as much as it is painful. This team played their hearts out, from every side of the ball, they gave everything and left it all out there.
To lose in the divisional round sucks, but it was a hell of a game. Epic. And I cannot wait to watch this Buffalo Bills team continue to improve.