Written by Tim Graham, Joe Buscaglia, and Nate Taylor
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and coach Andy Reid expressed frustration with management following Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills, with Reid calling a late offensive offside call “a little embarrassing for the National Football League.”
“There’s another game where we’re talking about the referees,” said Mahomes, who earlier appeared on the sidelines visibly upset as the clock ticked down. “This is not what we want for the NFL. This is not what we want for football. Let’s play the game. Then whatever happens happens.”
Mahomes nearly won the game on the final drive by throwing a 25-yard pass to tight end Travis Kelce, who then returned the ball to receiver Kadarius Toney for the score. But officials said Tony was lined up in the neutral zone before the ball was raised and the flag was thrown. The Chiefs then turned the ball over on downs, ending the game with a 20-17 loss.
Mahomes slammed his helmet to the ground and had to be stopped by several teammates as he screamed toward the field in the final minute after the call. Mahomes could be heard saying the offensive sneak was “the wildest call I’ve ever seen” while embracing Bills quarterback Josh Allen after the game. He can also be heard muttering that the call was “terrible” in videos circulating on social media.
Mahomes later said Kelce’s play was a “legendary moment” that was ruined by the call that did not affect the outcome of the play. Reid said officials usually give a side warning before calling a penalty like the one called for Toney.
Referee Karl Chivers addressed the call after the game, saying that the down judge opined that “Tony’s alignment was over the ball and that’s what he ruled on the field.” Regarding Reid’s comment, Chivers said that if a coach or receiver looked for advice on lining up, officials would give it to them, but “ultimately, they are responsible for where they line up.”
“And of course, there’s no need for any warning, especially if they’re so far offside that they’re blocking our view of the ball,” Chivers said. “So, we’ll give them some sort of warning if it’s anywhere near, but this particular one is a no-warning.”
For their part, the Bills kept their playoff hopes alive as Allen led a 12-play winning 49-yard drive that culminated in a 39-yard field goal by Tyler Bass with 1:54 remaining.
The Bills join five other teams — the Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers — with 7-6 records and remain in the hunt for a final postseason spot. The Steelers, Colts and Cleveland Browns are the current Wild Card teams if the season ends Sunday based on the tiebreaker.
Allen finished 23 of 42 for 233 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Running back James Cook led the Bills in rushing (58 yards on 10 carries) and receiving (five catches for 83 yards and a score).
Mahomes was 25 of 43 for 271 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The Chiefs fell to 8-5 with the loss.
NFL Week 14 scores: Live updates, schedule, news, playoff standings and features
The Bills’ postseason hopes remain
The Bills survived a tumultuous week and a stunning trick touchdown was wiped out by a penalty with 1:12 to play. The win was crucial to keeping Buffalo’s playoff hopes legitimate. Bills coach Sean McDermott has been criticized in a controversial article in which unnamed sources questioned his coaching abilities. Even his most ardent supporters couldn’t deny his flaws this season, especially while going 0-3 when he took the lead in the final two minutes of the game. Buffalo took another such lead when Bass kicked his late field goal.
Von Miller, who was arrested last week on a third-degree assault charge against his pregnant girlfriend yet is still cleared to play, helped generate intense pressure against Mahomes on the final possession. — Tim Graham is a senior sports writer in Buffalo
Even giving the Chiefs chance after chance to take control of the game, the Bills held on for dear life in the playoffs in what might end up being the most important win of their season. Not only are the Bills in a six-way tie for the last two playoff spots at 7-6, they’re also putting together a win that the AFC desperately needed for tiebreaker purposes. The Bills are still behind in this area, but they push that record to 4-5 on the year. Now, with four games remaining, the Bills have two games against AFC opponents with losing records and a real chance to sneak back into the playoffs — even through disappointment in their first 12 games. — Joe Buscaglia, Bills staff writer
The Chiefs’ WR room continues to be disappointing
Once again, one of the Chiefs’ receivers is the main reason for another disappointing loss. This time, the pivotal moment in the Chiefs’ downfall to the Bills was that Toney committed a mental foul, leading to an offside penalty after he lined up in the neutral zone during the team’s two-minute drill. Had Toney started the play in the right spot, he would have benefited from one of the most impressive, instinctive plays of the season from Kelce, who caught a pass for 25 yards and then sent the ball down the field to Toney, who was wide open to get into the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown. yards, a score that would have given the Chiefs a potential four-point lead with 1:25 remaining in the game. Instead, Toney’s penalty negated the play from 51 yards out. The Chiefs never gained another yard, as Mahomes’ next three passes were incomplete. — Nate Taylor, Chiefs staff writer
The Chiefs ripped the referees, but the truth is that another mistake by a receiver cost them another win
Billing Defense gets the job done
The Bills have had several moments this season where the overachieving defense put up a great fight in the first three quarters, only to have the rug pulled out from under them in the fourth quarter and overtime before eventually succumbing. They even lost two other key defenders in starting safety Micah Hyde and starting defensive end AJ Epenesa. But in a game against the defending world champion Chiefs, with the league’s best quarterback having had plenty of late-game success on the Bills in the past when he’s played against them, the defense came up big with pressure on Mahomes, key stops and coming away with the victory. It was a big moment for the beleaguered defense, one that could push the Bills forward in the playoffs when all hope seemed lost. — Buscaglia
Bills-Chiefs Notes: Defense late in the game bucks a usual trend in Kansas City
The Chiefs are eyeing an away playoff game
After losing four of their last six matches, the Chiefs’ chances of securing the top seed in the AFC playoffs – including home-field advantage and a first-round exit – have diminished at a significant rate. The Chiefs, who have never led going into Sunday’s game, will have to win their final four games of the regular season — against the Patriots, Raiders, Bengals and Chargers — just to have a chance at the top of the conference standings. The Chiefs will need help as well, as the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins would need to lose at least two of their remaining games for such a scenario to occur. At this point, the Chiefs are as close as possible to having to play a postseason game on the road for the first time in the Mahomes era. — Taylor
(Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)