Josh Allen had perhaps more right than anybody to voice his frustrations as he took the podium for his postgame press conference on Sunday.
The Bills QB had just delivered two what-would-be game-winning drives only to have those efforts dashed when the Bills defense was unable to get a stop.
They instead would allow two offensive drives by the Chiefs that would send the game to overtime, where Kansas City would win the coin toss and again go on an unstopped scoring drive. With the tap of a toe in the endzone, TE Jason Kelce would end the Bills season at Arrowhead for a second consecutive year.
And all Allen could do was watch from the sideline.
Current NFL overtime rules do not allow an opponent to respond once a touchdown is scored.
“The rules are what they are, and I can’t complain about that ’cause if it was the other way around, we’d be celebrating too,” Allen said while addressing the media. “So, it is what it is at this point. We didn’t make enough plays tonight.”
While the Bills defense and special teams may have put them in a position they should not have been in, to begin with, Buffalo would never get the ball back in OT, exposing the NFL’s overtime rules’ lack of parity in what was perhaps the highly visible example to date.
“It was tough to be in that moment,” Allen added. “Again, I have a lot of respect for Pat, he throws the winning touchdown, and he comes straight over and finds me. To be in that situation and to do that, that was pretty cool of him to do that. Obviously, it sucks the way it happened. We wanted to win that game. We had our opportunities. (I was) taking it all in and holding on to the feeling and making sure that we don’t feel like this again, like I said back-to-back years in the same spot. It’s tough to take in, but it’s part of the game.”
The two teams traded scores as Allen and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes delivered a memorable QB shootout, combining for 25 points in the final two minutes of regulation. Allen would finish 27/37 with 329 yards and four touchdowns while leading the Bills with 68 rushing yards on the ground.
After Allen found Gabriel Davis for impressive back-to-back touchdowns, the game appeared to be won. The Bills then elected to kick the ball into the endzone instead of going for a squib kick to run time off the clock. Their defense gave up 44 yards in 13 seconds allowing the Chiefs to kick a field goal to tie the score at the end of regulation and send the game to go to overtime. There they would again cease to stop Kansas City who, upon winning the coin toss, scored the touchdown that would seal the win.
In one sense, the Bills lost the game due to the flip of a coin.
Though the defense’s inability to stop the Chiefs, coaching decision not to squib kick and lack of OT rule parity were collectively things that each ultimately proved costly to Buffalo’s chance to find out which team would truly have come out on top and who the winner of the game’s quarterback shootout would have been. Not to mention a shot at an AFC Championship and Super Bowl.
OT Dion Dawkins spoke out on Monday about how the 50/50 coin toss carries too much weight. The offensive tackle went on to emphasize that the team needed to strive to keep it in their hands; That when it’s in their hands, their hand wins.
“We should never let a football game be determined by a coin. I think that’s the craziest rule in sports,” Dawkins said while addressing the press. “This ain’t Vegas,” he added, “we’re not at a casino table.”
Ironically, the Chiefs organization proposed a rule change to allow both teams to get possession in OT at the 2019 NFL owners meeting. They experienced the losing side themselves in the 2017 AFC championship.
It is tough when one of your three phases of football turns in a historical effort the way the Bills offense did, only to have the other two phases and a rule that lacks parity affect a game outcome.
And none of that was lost on head coach Sean McDermott.
“Chiefs are a good football team,” McDermott said while addressing the media. “And we knew it was going to take a heckuva effort coming out here. And I thought the guys gave us that effort. Starting with Josh and all the way down the line. Obviously, we got to do some things we gotta do better. Those guys, they’re hurt, they’re disappointed. We’re all disappointed, we’re all hurt, sick to our stomach. So, you move on and try to get yourself to learn from it, but it stings. It stings. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. It stings.”