The Buffalo Bills needed to win this way. Not with a blowout filled with highlight-reel splash plays. Not with reserves playing meaningless minutes as the game clock ticked down in the fourth quarter. It had to be like this — with Josh Allen trying to make critical plays, his receivers coming up with big catches and Von Miller wreaking havoc when Patrick Mahomes was looking to create his all too familiar brand of magic.
The Bills are the best team in the NFL. If they want to still be able to make that claim at the end of the season, they need to win games like this against teams like this.
The Bills added Miller to the team because they knew he could be a missing piece in their pursuit of a title. Mahomes had bamboozled them in consecutive postseasons — the Chiefs also beat Buffalo in the AFC Championship Game during the 2020 season — and it was imperative that Buffalo find some way to pressure him in key moments. As the Bills’ offense proved on Sunday, their quarterback has continued to develop in his own right. Allen provided plenty of exciting moments, but it was how he performed in the clutch situations that stood out in this contest.
Buffalo faced a 7-3 deficit late in the first half when Allen led his team on a 7-play, 96-yard drive in just 1:13 of game time. His 34-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Davis gave Buffalo a lead that was only trumped by Mahomes putting Kansas City in position for Harrison Butker to kick a team-record 62-yard field goal as the half ended. Then the Bills trailed 20-17 when Allen got the ball with 5:31 left in regulation. This time he engineered a 12-play, 76-yard drive that ended with his 14-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dawson Knox with 1:04 remaining.
“I’m proud of our team and how we battled tonight,” Allen said. “We obviously didn’t start off how we wanted to, but guys just kept their heads down, didn’t panic or blink, trusted the game plan, trusted situational football and got a W. That was our only goal coming in here. If it’s by one or 100, it’s another win and that’s what we’re trying to do each and every week.”
The start Allen alluded to was a fumble on an option pitch on Buffalo’s first drive of the game. Chiefs linebacker Darius Harris recovered the ball at Kansas City’s 11-yard line and ended the Bills’ initial opportunity to send an immediate message in a hostile environment. That play could have been an ominous sign of what was to come for the Bills. Instead, it became a reason to be even more optimistic about what this team can become as it chases a Super Bowl victory.
These Bills have had a different vibe about them since Miller showed up. They’ve openly talked about being all-in to win a title and they’ve made some serious moves to back that up. But what this team should understand better than any other is that championships don’t come easily. You’ve got to earn them the hard way, and it helps to have plenty of practice in that arena.
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