On a equally frigid night in opposition to a equally blistering opposing quarterback who’d likewise spent the earlier 4 months terrorizing the AFC East, the Chiefs had the whole lot of their season positioned on the mercy of a coin flip. And so they misplaced. They misplaced the toss. They misplaced the sport.
Do not forget that?
Not speaking to you, Chiefs followers. After all you keep in mind. That form of agony doesn’t subside merely as a result of one’s staff wins a Tremendous Bowl, performs in one other and now stands 60 minutes from a 3rd in a row, one thing solely two different groups within the six-decade historical past of the “Large Recreation” have achieved.
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Not speaking to you, Patrick Mahomes. You watched helplessly hoping as Tom Brady raced the Patriots downfield within the AFC championship recreation in January 2019, and now, three years later, you assured Josh Allen would expertise that very same sideline struggling.
I am speaking to these of you who’re questioning if it is honest the AFC divisional spherical playoff recreation between the Chiefs and Payments, the best recreation within the historical past of this weekend, was primarily determined by which facet of a coin confronted skyward after touchdown on the muddy grass at Arrowhead Stadium.
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The reply: It’s not. It wasn’t in 2019 when the Chiefs misplaced that toss and couldn’t stop the Patriots’ March towards one other Tremendous Bowl. And it is not now that KC zipped down the sphere after the flip got here up heads and generated a profitable landing and 42-36 triumph on an excellent throw from Mahomes and a extra sensible catch by tight finish Travis Kelce.
It’s fascinating, at the least, how these 50/50 propositions have a manner of night out.
“Pay attention, it was an excellent recreation,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid advised reporters. “I am simply form of sorting all of it out proper now.”
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We don’t know what the true penalties of this recreation might be till the Chiefs face the Bengals per week from now within the AFC championship recreation. If Cincinnati can go into Arrowhead and win, then it will have been not way more than 4 hours of sensible leisure for all of us who love NFL soccer. If KC finds its strategy to one other Tremendous Bowl, nonetheless, this may be a type of legendary division video games that propels its winner to historical past, just like the Ravens’ additional time victory over Denver in 2013 or the Steelers’ harrowing escape at Indianapolis in 2006 or the Giants’ 2008 conquest of the Cowboys that ended, functionally, on a Tony Romo interception.
We do know, nonetheless, Mahomes primarily executed two game-winning drives, one not possible and the opposite inevitable.
After the Payments scored what appeared to be the game-winning landing with 13 seconds left on a throw from Allen to wideout Gabriel Davis — who set a playoff document with 4 TD receptions – the Payments clearly didn’t suppose anybody might transfer a staff into discipline aim vary within the time remaining.
The Chiefs insisted they believed.
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“We have large leaders on either side of the ball, whether or not it’s offense, protection — or particular. groups,” receiver Tyreek Hill mentioned. “So no one panicked, no one was actually like, ‘Ah, the sport is over, 13 seconds left.’ So we simply went out, made performs. Like I mentioned, the remaining is historical past.”
Perhaps they knew what they have been up in opposition to. The Buffalo teaching employees goofed by not sending the post-TD kickoff into the sphere of play, on a pooch kick or squib kick or one thing wanting the aim line — any of which might have consumed a number of of these remaining seconds, solely the final of which supplied a major threat of KC making a giant particular groups play.
The Payments’ defensive technique on the performs that superior the Chiefs 44 yards in 10 seconds was bewildering. Buffalo rushed 4 gamers every time, which left extra room within the secondary than was optimum. On the primary, the DBs performed up to now again that Hill was in a position to make an unchallenged catch simply 5 yards past the road and generate velocity for 14 yards earlier than encountering a single Payments defender. On the second, Kelce was in a position to streak uncovered for 15 yards down the left seam with out anybody shifting in time to disrupt him. His reception was good for 25 yards. It was among the many biggest failures of defensive soccer you’ll see in your lifetime.
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“These guys are harm. We’re disillusioned. We’re all disillusioned,” Payments coach Sean McDermott mentioned. “We’re all harm, sick to our abdomen. So, yeah, you progress on and also you attempt to get your self to be taught from it. It stings.”
Had the coin come up in another way, the Payments might need been redeemed, however that is how the NFL chooses to determine its greatest video games. The league desires the spectacle inherent in that toe-tapping TD by Kelce to face because the lasting reminiscence of a playoff elimination recreation, not the anticlimax of a staff attempting and failing to match it on a fourth-and-14 fling.
It appears a better-than-even wager that will not have been the situation on this recreation.