Those words will live in Buffalo Bills fans memories forever. It is up there with “Wide Right” and the Music City miracle as another heartbreaking ending to Buffalo’s season.
With the Kansas City Chiefs defeating the Bills 42-36 in overtime of the divisional round, the season ends for Buffalo the same as last season, ending with a loss to the Chiefs.
However, this time, there is a sense of a lost opportunity for the Bills to make their first trip to the Super Bowl since 1994, which was the last of the Bills four straight trips to the big game.
The Bills had reclaimed the lead multiple times within the game’s final two minutes. Still, the seemingly most secure lead was after Bills quarterback Josh Allen fired a pass to Gabriel Davis for his NFL record fourth receiving touchdown in a playoff game. Only 13 seconds remained in the game and a three-point lead for Buffalo.
Unfortunately, the Bills gave up two chunk plays to Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes pass to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce in back-to-back plays, allowing kicker Harrison Butker to tie the game.
From there, a coin flip won by Kansas City to start overtime sealed the fate for the Bills this season, which has prompted many in the football community to debate whether the NFL should change the overtime rules.
The final stat line for both quarterbacks reads like something you would find in a video game.
If there was any doubt after last season being a one-off for Allen, with this performance, he has fully cemented himself as a top quarterback in the NFL today.
So the big question now is, what’s next?
Many were quick to call for someone to be fired for allowing Kansas City back into the game with only 13 seconds remaining.
While I disagree with firing anyone, the coaching staff will probably look different regardless.
Both offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier have been interviewed for head coaching jobs elsewhere. The Bills have already lost assistant general manager Joe Schoen, who became the New York Giants general manager last week.
The team will, most likely, look different on the sidelines, but what about on the field?
Allen is a lock to stay, but who else may leave or get cut. With the rise of Game Davis, does that mean that Emmanual Sanders is expendable? Fans can ask the same question for Cole Beasley as Isaiah McKenzie has played well and become a significant weapon down the stretch this season. However, McKenzie could be on the way out as he is a free agent this offseason.
I believe that the Bills do not need to make major changes, but a few tweaks should do the trick. Getting Tre’Davious White off IR will significantly boost a defence that missed him against Mahomes.
This offseason, look for the Bills to expect internal growth from their young players instead of adding many external options. Gregory Rousseau, Harrison Phillips and A.J Epenesa will be looked upon as the future of the Bills defensive front as older stalwarts such as Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison may be on the outs.
While this ending is a tough pill to swallow for many in Bills Mafia, the team is on the right track. For context, if the Bills win one additional game this season, say against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Bills would be hosting the Chiefs in Orchard Park, which would make a significant difference.
Outside of neutral sites for the Super Bowl, Mahomes has never played a road playoff game, so forcing him to travel to play Buffalo could be a critical difference between winning and losing.
This Bills team is very close to winning it all, and this offseason’s decisions should reflect that.