The Buffalo Bills, of all teams, know all too well that the Kansas City Chiefs team led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes is never out of a football game. So even though the Bills had a 24-20 lead following a touchdown from quarterback Josh Allen to tight end Dawson Knox with just over a minute left, Sunday’s game did not feel like it was over.
Beginning at their own 25-yard line after a touchback, the Chiefs still had two timeouts — and more importantly, they had Mahomes. On first down, Mahomes rolled to his right. Throwing on the run, he narrowly missed wide receiver Mecole Hardman down the right sideline.
“If I can just barely maybe hit Mecole in that first one and get that chunk play, then it might be different,” Mahomes would say at the post-game press conference after the game.
It was not to be — but the officials did call a defensive holding call on Buffalo, resetting the down. Faced with first-and-10 at the 30-yard line, now with less than a minute to go, Mahomes dropped back.
He glanced to his left, then to his right and fired a pass to rookie wide receiver Skyy Moore. Bills cornerback Taron Johnson jumped the pass.
“They were in a shell-type defense,” recalled Mahomes. “I looked originally to the — we had a corner route, and he had dropped back... You could see, I wanted to reset and throw it to him fast, and [Matt] Milano was in the way, and by the time I reset and threw it to him again, [Johnson] made a great play and got back in there.
“That’s a good defense. That’s a good player. You’re at the end of the game, you’re trying to press the issue and trying to get some completions because you’ve got to score a touchdown. But he made a good play when it counted.”
What made the turnover hurt more is that Mahomes had been successful in making the miraculous happen on the same field against the same team in the Divisional Round nine months ago.
“Every time I get the ball, no matter what the situation is, I expect to find a way to win,” said Mahomes. “I always expect to win until there’s literally no time — so anytime you lose, it definitely hurts.”
Head coach Andy Reid described what he saw on the play.
“[Mahomes] was trying to make something happen,” said Reid. “[Johnson] did a nice job of cutting it, and [Mahomes] was trying to make something happen. Normally, it does.
“That one — the guy — he made a nice play on it.”
After a 6-yard gain by Bills running back Devin Singletary, Allen kneeled on the ball to run out the clock. The last time around, 13 seconds was enough for the Chiefs. Despite Kansas City having 64 on Sunday evening, the Bills found a way.