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Bills QB Josh Allen Deserved Better Than Disgraceful Collapse by Defense

Embarrassing performance cost Buffalo a chance to host AFC Championship Game and may have slammed championship window shut for this nucleus.

The question may have been inappropriate after the Buffalo Bills lost a defensive scrum to the New England Patriots in 40-mph winds on Dec. 6.

But it needs to be asked over and over and over again — to every member of the defense, to coach Sean McDermott and to defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.

Are they embarrassed by what happened Sunday night in Kansas City during a 42-36 playoff loss to the Chiefs in overtime?

Any answer other than "yes" would be a disgrace.

They should be embarrassed. Humiliated.

And as safety Micah Hyde indicated after the New England loss, they should remember it.

They need to remember it, over and over and over again. At least until they win their first Super Bowl, and probably one or two more after that.

That is, if they win their first Super Bowl.

Because even with a unicorn of a quarterback in Josh Allen, who singlehandedly hoisted the team on his shoulders with a performance he likely will never match again, the rug was pulled from under him.

He and the offense were let down by a horrific defense, poor coaching decisions and shabby special-teams play against a nemesis in Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who's only eight months older than Allen and figures to stand in his way every year for the next 10 or however long Allen's body can sustain the hits he keeps absorbing, whichever comes first.

With 1:13 remaining in regulation and knowing he had deep help outside, cornerback Levi Wallace lined up so inexplicably soft on Tyreek Hill that Hill was able to beat inside leverage — TO THE INSIDE! — for a 64-yard catch-and-run to the end zone. Went in untouched, waving to the outmatched defenders long before reaching the end zone.

What happened in the final 13 seconds, after Allen put the Bills back on top with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis on fourth down, was exponentially more egregious, however.

Mahomes and the Chiefs went 44 yards on two plays to set Harrison Butker up for a game-tying field goal that forced overtime, essentially killing every last bit of momentum Allen was able to give his team.

Allen played the game of his life, completing 27-of-37 attempts for 329 yards and four touchdowns and twice bringing the team back from deficits in the fourth quarter. He was never given the opportunity to touch the ball in overtime, thanks to the Bills' completing their defensive collapse by allowing the Chiefs to go down the field like a 7-on-7 drill.

Touchdown, Travis Kelce.

Game over, season over, but a winter of discontent ahead.

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What's more, even when the sting finally goes away, the reality will remain that Allen almost certainly will never play better than he did Sunday night, which means their window with this nucleus may already have been painted shut.

All this happened because the Bills ... choked, starting from the sideline after Allen's final touchdown pass.

First, the decision was made to kick the ball through the end zone for a touchback with 13 seconds remaining instead of squibbing it or kicking short to force a return and take more time off the clock.

Then their coverage schemes were so inexplicably soft that it allowed Hill, of all people, to get open for an easy 19-yard completion that took just 5 seconds. He should have been assaulted at the line of scrimmage instead (for a 5-yard penalty at worst). That would have either resulted in Hill taking more time to get open and complete the play or simply another play following a 5-yard penalty, with fewer than 13 seconds to go.

Yet they dialed up the same soft coverage on the second play, a 25-yard pass to Kelce down the left seam. And just like that, the Chiefs were in position for a game-tying field goal on the final play of regulation.

The way the Bills chose to play defense over the last two minutes, the final 13 seconds in particular, was deplorable and should never have happened. 

Period. No gray area. No debates.

There was only one way to go there. It was Football 101. And they forgot their textbooks.


As a result, McDermott and his staff and their defense failed their quarterback.

McDermott admitted there were conversations about playing tighter on the receivers and executing their final kickoff differently. Apparently the wrong thoughts won out.

"There was a lot being talked about there," McDermott said. "And again, it comes back to me."

Of course, the defense wasn't the only culprit here. The punt team allowed Hill to break off a 45-yard return on a mediocre punt by mediocre punter Matt Haack that set up a fourth-quarter field goal.

But that's another story for another day.

This is all about a horrible collapse by an otherwise impeccably prepared team that has to seriously wonder now if it will ever get over the hump.

Nick Fierro is the publisher of Bills Central. Check out the latest Bills news at and follow Fierro on Twitter at @NickFierro. Email to