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Top 3 Things We Learned

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Top 3 things we learned from Bills at Chiefs | Divisional Round

Gabriel Davis (13) touchdown celebration Buffalo Bills vs Kansas City Chiefs - AFC Divisional Playoff at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, January 23, 2022. Photo by Bill Wippert
Gabriel Davis (13) touchdown celebration Buffalo Bills vs Kansas City Chiefs - AFC Divisional Playoff at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, January 23, 2022. Photo by Bill Wippert

1. Gabe Davis makes NFL history

Buffalo second-year wideout, Gabriel Davis, was a productive player down the stretch for the Bills this season with five touchdowns in his last seven games entering Sunday's game. But on a day when Kansas City was focusing all their attention on Stefon Diggs, Davis had the most productive game of his young career.

Davis became the first player in NFL history to score four touchdowns in a single game as he was instrumental in helping the Bills overcome a 24-13 deficit in the fourth quarter to take the lead with 13 seconds left in regulation.

His 201 receiving yards came on just eight receptions as he had the second-most receiving yards in franchise postseason history to only Eric Moulds, who put up 240 in a 1998 Wild Card game at Miami. Davis' yardage total was the most ever in a Divisional Playoff in league annals.

"When your number is called, you have to make the play," said Davis. "I knew it was going to be a night like that, especially knowing we have guys like Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley that will be getting doubled more often than I would. So, I was just prepared for anything coming my way and I was able to, again, make the most of the plays that were called."

After Devin Singletary opened the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run on the Bills opening possession, Davis accounted for the remainder of the team's six-point plays scoring in the second, third and fourth quarters.

Davis sparked the offense capping a one-play scoring drive pulling in a 75-yard bomb from Allen late in the third quarter to pull the Bills within two (23-21) after he opened his scoring night with an 18-yard touchdown catch at the end of the first half. His last two touchdowns came in the span of just a minute and 41 seconds on the game clock, as they gave Buffalo the lead twice.

"Gabe was making some unbelievable catches out there," said Allen. "Obviously four touchdowns, I think he went eight for 200 and something. That's video game numbers."

Inexplicably, the Bills could not salt away the final 13 seconds of the game to preserve the final lead he and Josh Allen provided of 36-33.

"Obviously we're disappointed," Allen said. "We wanted to win that game. Obviously, everybody wants to win that game. There's only going to be one champion crowned at the end of the season. So that makes 31 unhappy teams. They made one more play than we did."

2. Josh Allen's heroics valiant in loss

Facing the AFC's most dominant team of the last four seasons on the road, Josh Allen threw every punch he had on Sunday night. For a moment it looked like it might be enough, but Kansas City has a quarterback every bit as talented as Buffalo's signal caller. Patrick Mahomes didn't do any more than Allen who had 397 total yards from scrimmage and four passing touchdowns to Mahomes' three. The Chiefs just got the ball first in overtime and that was the difference.

"17 is always going to make a play with the ball in his hand," said his most popular target on the night Gabriel Davis. "We've got a lot of trust and faith in him. He's the best quarterback in the NFL, and I stand by that. I know that when it's time to make plays, I know he's going to be there to make 'em."

Down 26-21 with 8:58 left in regulation, Allen staged a staggering 17-play scoring drive culminating in a 27-yard touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis on a 4th-and-13 play to put the Bills ahead 29-26 after he scrambled to complete a two-point conversion to Stefon Diggs with two minutes left.

Allen converted a 3rd-and-3 with a pass to Cole Beasley. He then converted a 3rd-and-4 and a 3rd-and-1 before moving the sticks again on a 4th-and-1 and the improbable 4th-and-13.

After Kansas City came right back with a five-play scoring drive that took less than a minute thanks to a 64-yard catch and run by Tyreek Hill, Allen again led the offense on another impressive drive covering another 75 yards on just six plays finding Davis for a 19-yard touchdown with 17 seconds remaining.

"I think it started up front," said Allen. "Our front five did an outstanding job today against a really, really good defensive front. And then you look at outside, our guys are making plays, unbelievable catches, getting (Cole) Beasley involved, Gabe making some unbelievable catches there. So, we had our opportunities, and we made some plays but not enough to get the job done."

Somehow Mahomes and the Chiefs offense were able to move into field goal range gaining 44 yards on just three plays before Harrison Butker put a 49-yard field goal up and through to force overtime.

After losing the coin toss for overtime, an exhausted Bills defense couldn't keep Kansas City from finding the end zone on their first possession and ending a memorable, but painful finish.

"Josh is a remarkable competitor," said center Mitch Morse. "He willed us on a few of those fourth downs and extended those drives to even put us in a position (to win). We're not the same team without Josh Allen and it's not even close."

Allen completed 73 percent of his passes (27-37) and didn't turn the ball over. He was also the team's leading rusher with 68 yards gained on the ground, including several runs that kept drives alive.

"I wish you guys could have been in that huddle on fourth down. I think it was the first fourth down conversion with a minute and change," said Morse. "It was just a lot of love. Guys saying, they loved each other, 'Let's execute. Let's do this for each other.' It was Josh at the helm. So, it's a really tight-knit group. A lot of love. The unfortunate thing is we're not going to take the field as a unit, the same unit, and I think that's what's most heartbreaking."

3. Tackle trouble

While Sean McDermott put how the final 13 seconds of regulation was handled on himself, an even bigger problem through the course of the game defensively was tackling.

On several occasions, Patrick Mahomes escaped what looked like a sure sack from a Buffalo defensive lineman and often made a play for positive yardage. As elusive as Mahomes proved to be it paled in comparison to his receiving targets, who also slipped out of tackles for extra yardage to extend drives.

That inconsistent tackling put Buffalo's number one ranked third down defense on the field longer than they wanted. Kansas City converted five of their first six third down opportunities in large part because of their players being able to elude and shake out of tackles.

"You've got to tackle well against this offense," said McDermott. "They've got great speed. A five-yard catch can turn into a 50-yard run after catch. You saw the one. We were in two-man I think after the second-to-last touchdown by our offense when we went up a little bit there and Tyreek made a play and then he took it to the house. So, they challenge you defensively because of the speed that they have on offense."

Buffalo's number one ranked defense prides itself on being fundamentally sound. It's one of the reasons they ranked first in the league in a number of defensive categories including the fewest passing yards allowed per game.

But Kansas City's collective team speed is so elite that even good fundamental tacklers can get compromised because the elusiveness of the Chiefs' skill position players forces defensive players to lunge and dive at the Chiefs' speedy ball carriers just to try to make a play as they separate in space so quickly.

"Yeah, for sure," said Micah Hyde lamenting the final result. "We had great calls by coach Frazier, and we were able to be there to almost make the play. Obviously, almost doesn't get the job done. I think about that long pass that Tyreek (Hill) took to the house.

"I thought we limited them most of the game on those big explosive plays. And then, it just got out of the gate. We take pride in not doing that. And that's why it hurts even more because we weren't able to prevent them from doing that."

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