They came oh so close, but former Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier and star wide receiver Stefon Diggs won't be participating in the Super Bowl this year. After jumping out to a 9-0 lead over the defending champion Chiefs, the Bills gave up a 38-6 run and wound up falling 38-24.
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs' offense were simply too much for Frazier's defense, which isn't an indictment on the veteran coach. The Chiefs have won 25 of their last 27 games, including playoffs, and one of those losses came in Week 17 this year when they rested their starters. With Mahomes, Andy Reid, Eric Bieniemy, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs are borderline unstoppable and appear to be on the verge of a potential dynasty.
Now Frazier may be moving to his next destination. He's a finalist for the Texans' head coaching vacancy and will have his second interview on Tuesday. If he is hired, it would be Frazier's first head gig since he was fired by the Vikings following the 2013 season.
Offensively, the Bills had some uncharacteristic struggles and played far too conservatively to give themselves a real chance. Trailing 14-9, Sean McDermott chose to punt on 4th and 3 from his own 32. That's what common sense would dictate doing, but those might be the risks you have to take against the Chiefs juggernaut. Shortly after, it was 21-9.
Then came the more indefensible decisions by McDermott. Facing a 4th and goal from the Chiefs' 2 at the end of the first half, he chose to kick a short field goal. That's the type of thing you absolutely cannot do when playing against Mahomes.
And then he did it again. Now down 24-12 after a rare stop held KC to a field goal, the Bills had a 4th and 3 from the KC 8. McDermott once again chose to kick the short field goal to cut the deficit to nine points. Unsurprisingly, the Chiefs wound up extending the lead to 38-15 and sealing the deal.
Diggs had a frustrating evening. The NFL's leading receiver in the regular season had continued his dominance with a pair of big games in the wild card and divisional rounds. But in Kansas City, he was held to just two catches for 12 yards in the first half. He finished with six catches for 77 yards, including this highlight grab, but it was too little, too late.
After the loss, Diggs stayed out on the Arrowhead Stadium field to watch the Chiefs celebrate. Knowing his competitive spirit, he was likely out there soaking in motivation for next season.
With Josh Allen as his quarterback, the future for Diggs and the Bills is bright. If they're ever going to get over the hump and win the AFC, they'll probably have to beat the Chiefs to do it. And that means McDermott is going to have to be a lot more aggressive as a decision-maker.
Thanks for reading. Make sure to bookmark this site and check back daily for the latest Vikings news and analysis all offseason long. Also, follow me on Twitter and feel free to ask me any questions on there.