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The Villages
Friday, February 23, 2024

Buffalo Bills lose AFC playoff game in gut-wrenching fashion

Tony Violanti
Tony Violanti

Heartbreak city did it again.

You can always count on the Buffalo Bills to find ways to lose football games in gut-wrenching fashion.
In a week when the city and region was pounded by snowstorms and frigid temperatures, the hope was that Bills would lift the area’s spirit and provide some sunny football hope.
It didn’t happen on a bitterly cold, black night in Buffalo.
 Patrick Mahomes and the visiting Kansas City Chiefs once again buried the Bills deeper than any snowdrift, winning 27-24.
It’s the third time that the Chiefs have whipped the Bills in the National Football League playoffs for the American Football Conference. It’s the sixth consecutive year that Mahomes will play for the AFC title.

Look, I’ve been following the Bills all my life and I’ve learned to expect the slings and arrows of outrageous losses.

Something will always go wrong at a crucial moment for the Bills. It happens every year. There are three sure things in Buffalo: chicken wings, snowstorms and painful football defeats.   
Don’t blame Josh Allen – the Bills quarterback from the planet Krypton. Buffalo’s version of  Superman passed for 186 yards and 1 touchdown. He ran for 72 years and 2 TDs.
It looked like Allen and the Bills would send the game into overtime with 1:42 left. Allen drove the Bills to the Chiefs 34-yard line, with Buffalo trailing 27-24.
 Then –before you could say Scott Norwood—kicker Tyler Bass’ field goal was pushed far right by the wind.

Hello Taylor Swift.
Goodbye playoffs.

Mahomes, meanwhile, hit 17 of 23 passes for 215 yards and 2 TDs. Buffalo’s banged-up defense – missing numerous starters — just couldn’t stop the Chiefs all night long.
Running back Isiah Pacheco burned the Bills with 15 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown. Travis Kelce, pop star Taylor Swift’s main squeeze, caught 2 touchdown passes.
 CBS showed Swift cheering him on in a luxury box. She was joined by his brother, Eagles lineman Jason Kelce, who ripped off his shirt and was swigging cans of beer.
And they say Buffalo is a blue-collar town.

The Bills had no answers to defend the Chiefs, and the Buffalo offense featured a grinding running attack and short passes. The few times Allen threw deep, the receivers either dropped the ball or were stopped by defensive backs.
“Buffalo was a one-dimensional team,” retired Pittsburgh Steeler Coach Bill Cowher said on CBS. “They were on the back of Josh Allen who was trying to do it all.”

That’s long been the problem with the Bills and one reason why Joe Brady was named offensive coordinator a couple of months ago.
Brady emphasized the running game. It worked in the first half. But Kansas City adjusted in the second half, and after that, it was Josh Allen against the world.

“Losing to them at home, sucks…I don’t know what else to say,” a crestfallen Allen said in his postgame press conference. “I didn’t think our team played bad. We had to make one more play and we didn’t.”
It’s fascinating to watch these classic Josh Allen vs. Pat Mahomes games. Both are tremendous players and leaders.
“Josh Allen is a great player,” Mahomes told CBS after the game. This was Mahomes first playoff game on the road and some doubted he was up to the task.
“We heard that all week about the road game,” he said. “Tonight we showed we can play anywhere.”

After the game, Allen congratulated Mahomes and also defended Bills kicker Tyler Bass.
“I wish he wouldn’t have been put in that situation. One play doesn’t define a game and it doesn’t define a season. You win as a team and you lose as a team.”

Despite the loss, Josh Allen, like most of the people in Buffalo, remains loyal to the Bills.
“I love this team,” he said.
But as every Bills fan knows, sometimes love just isn’t enough.

Tony Violanti covers music and entertainment for Villages-News.com. He grew up in Buffalo and was inducted into The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame as a music journalist.

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