Wide right. Scott Norwood. Now Tyler Bass.
The Buffalo Bills' quest for a Super Bowl is a year-round topic in western New York, and sometimes it's not fair how a play or two can change the entire way we view a team, its players and their legacies. The Bills fought hard to win the AFC East and had a shot to tie their divisional-round playoff game with less than two minutes left Sunday. For weeks, as the Bills got hot late in the season, they looked like potential Super Bowl winners. Then Bass missed.
— NFL (@NFL) January 22, 2024
Bass' 44-yard field goal attempt swerved wide right, much like Norwood's infamous attempt in Super Bowl XXV 33 years ago. After that, the Chiefs got the first down they needed to wrap up a 27-24 win. They're moving on to the AFC championship game on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, with a Super Bowl trip on the line.
The Chiefs are alive despite an up-and-down season, by their standards, thanks to big games from Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce. For the Bills, the loss marks the start of a long, cold offseason after another devastating loss in the playoffs. Buffalo is still seeking its first Super Bowl championship.
Bills vs. Chiefs provides another classic
The game was considered the best matchup of the playoffs so far, a rematch of one of the best playoff games in NFL history two years ago.
It lived up to that billing. The quarterbacks traded big plays. Josh Allen rushed for a couple of touchdowns. Patrick Mahomes hit Travis Kelce on a pair of scores (Kelce hadn't scored a touchdown since Nov. 20.)
The Bills trailed 20-17 and had a third-and-goal from the 13-yard line late in the third quarter when Allen made a ridiculous play, rolling left and hitting Khalil Shakir with a laser in the end zone for a touchdown.
There were lead changes on four straight scores from late in the second quarter to late in the third quarter. The Chiefs and Bills are evenly matched, and they gave everyone watching another great, competitive game.
The stakes were high entering the fourth quarter. In the first minute of the frame, Isiah Pacheco ran in for a touchdown, which gave the game its fifth straight lead change on a score.
Game was close deep into 4th quarter
There were two dramatic turns of events early in the fourth quarter of this tense game. The Bills tried a fake punt, with a direct snap to Damar Hamlin, that fooled none of the Chiefs. They were stopped well short.
Then the Chiefs were on the verge of a touchdown and a 10-point lead when the Bills forced a Mecole Hardman fumble just before Hardman was tackled. The ball went out of bounds in the end zone, giving the Bills possession on a touchback.
Buffalo still needed to score. As time ticked off the clock, a drive that started with 8:23 left in the fourth seemed like the Bills' last chance to win the game. They picked up a fourth down near midfield on a pass to Shakir out of the backfield after they were fortunate to jump on an Allen fumble. Then Allen got a big third-and-4 completion to Trent Sherfield. The Bills got into field-goal position, but Allen couldn't keep the drive going, as he missed an opportunity on second down for a touchdown pass into the end zone.
Then Bass came on and missed. After that, Pacheco ran for a first down, and the Bills' season was over. The Bills will be contenders as long as they have Allen. But the missed opportunities are piling up, and they're all painful.
Wide right. Again.