'We absolutely know what we lost.' Bills 'devastated' after heartbreaking loss to the Chiefs
Sunday evening in Kansas City the Bills and Chiefs battled in what is being called, one of the best playoff games in NFL history.
Unfortunately for the Bills, they came up on the wrong side of the historic showdown, losing to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, 42-36 and ending their season in the divisional round.
After the game, the team discussed what is felt like coming up short in an instant classic.
"Devastated in our locker room," Bills center, Mitch Morse, told the media after the game. "What we lost in that moment was an opportunity to continue our season… continue our season at home. Turnover in this league and in this game is part of the business. So it's the last time that this team and this group of guys is out competing with each other. So we absolutely know what we lost and that's why this locker room is hurt."
A big part of the loss was this Bills defense, which finished number one in the NFL in most statistical categories. While many times this season, the defense was the one to bail the offense out, but Sunday they were unable to make a stop when they needed it the most.
After Josh Allen found Gabriel Davis to take a 3-point lead with just 13 seconds to go, Mahomes and the Chiefs worked some magic, connecting on two big plays to put them within field goal range. They converted to send the game to overtime … and the rest was history.
"Obviously not the way we wanted to end our season," Bills safety Jordan Poyer told reporters after the game. "Offense did everything they had to do. Defense we just had to go out there and make a stop. Weren't able to do it. It's a tough feeling, man. Just a really tough feeling. Hard to put into words. It sucks. Something we're going to have to live with. Something we're going to have to learn from. "
Poyer, echoed similar sentiments to Morse in that part of the heartbreak stems from the fact that the roster is never quite the same from season to season.
"It's tough, you know every season… roster moves, changes," Poyer continued. "I don't know what this team is gonna look like next year, but it probably isn't gonna look the same. That's the hard part about it. You grind all season and… some guys been here five years, four years, three years together. You work so hard and you want it so bad, it's tough. It's something each individual will learn from and it's gonna sting for a little while… sting for a long time actually, but we'll continue to stay motivated."
Fellow safety, Micah Hyde, talked about the bond in the locker room and how tough moments like this really dawn on you once the clock runs down to zero.
"Something you don't really think about until you take the last snap," Hyde said. "Walking off the field you realize, this is the NFL. You don't have the same roster each and every year, coaches included. We've been together… a lot of us have been together for five years and that might not be the case… we're literally like brothers in the locker room."
The one guy who was nearly perfect in the game was Bills quarterback Josh Allen. While Mahomes was sensational in his own right, Allen matched him blow for blow and did everything humanly possible to send the Bills onward in the playoffs.
Allen finished with 397 total yards, four touchdowns and no turnovers.
"Obviously, we're disappointed. Wanted to win that game," Allen stated during his postgame Zoom call. "Obviously everyone wanted 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. But I'm proud of our guys for how we fault and we battled."
Following the Chiefs game-winning touchdown in overtime, Allen was seen looking around the field as KC celebrated the victory, before slowly walking off back to the locker room.
Allen was asked what was going through his mind in that moment.
"To be in that moment… Obviously it sucks the way it happened," Allen said. "We wanted to win that game, we had our opportunities and … I'm taking it all in and holding onto that feeling and making sure we don't feel like this again."
While players often regurgitate the same sort of stock answers after losses, Allen said this is different because he actually believes in what he's saying despite it sounding, "cliche."
"I know it's disappointing right now and it hurts right now, Allen said. "You can say it's going to be better and we're going to learn from this and it's very cliche and nobody wants to hear that. But I truly believe this unit will learn from this. You know, we've got a pretty young squad. A lot of guys coming back next year and again, we've just gotta use this as fuel, fuel for the fire."
While there will be a lot to digest in a game of this magnitude that ended in such a surreal fashion, one person that is naturally going to get some heat is Bills head coach Sean McDermott.
While generally regarded as one of the better coaches the last few years in the league, one bugaboo for McDermott has been his decision making in crucial moments. That criticism seemed to read it's ugly head tonight.
"Chiefs are a good football team. We knew it was going to take a heck of an effort coming out here and I thought the guys gave us that effort," McDermott told the media after the loss. "Starting with Josh, all the way down the line and you know, we got to do some things better, but you know those guys are hurt. We're disappointed, we're all disappointed. We're all hurt, sick to our stomachs. You know, you move on and you try to get yourself to learn from it, but it stings, it stings. I'm not gonna try and sugarcoat it. It stings."
Similar to what his QB said, McDermott knows all you can do from tough losses is try to learn from it. When asked what he told the team following the game, McDermott seemed emotional in his response.
"I just said, 'great effort' and 'I'm proud of all of them,'" he said.