Note: I have had some matters arise that require my personal attention and I won’t take the time now to write my usual review. I will have more to say later.
The Bills lost to the Chiefs in Kansas City, 38-21. The Chiefs move on to the Super Bowl against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. The Bills go home.
First, congratulations to the Chiefs. They have assembled a marvelous organization, and they play football at an extraordinarily high level. It’s fun to watch them play.
Second, congratulations to the Bills. They too have a marvelous organization, and practically no one in the pro football world expected what we saw from them in 2020.
As for the game, a couple of observations.
Just as teams have to learn to play playoff football, they have to learn to play championship football. The conference championship games and the Super Bowl are played at a higher level than the earlier playoff games. The Chiefs raised the game to that higher lever, and the Bills were unable to respond.
In particular, what often happens in the championship rounds is that the game becomes even more physical than it was in the earlier rounds. This game looked a lot like Super Bowl XXV in that respect. The Chiefs pounded and pounded on the Bills from start to finish, just like the Giants did thirty years ago.
They were merciless. Two symptoms of the physicality of the game were that several Bills players showed it. Josh Allen clearly was beaten up. He’d been in mortal combat and survived with his life. Diggs was worn out by the end of the game. The Chiefs made it difficult for all of the Bills receivers to get easy releases off the line of scrimmage, and Diggs got a double dose all night.
The other symptom was the melee toward the end of the game. It was obvious that the Bills simply were pissed off that they’d been beaten physically like that, and they finished the game fighting back, literally.
They had been losing a lot of the personal battles all night long, and they’re competitive enough that they refused to roll over. Instead, they lashed out. Frankly, it was good see. Next time they’ll be better prepared to give what they need to give from the start of the game.
Mahomes and Hill and Kelce were magnificent, and the Chiefs’ offense was in high gear.
The Chiefs defense was magnificent too, and the Bills struggled to find answers. They should have had answers; they are good enough to have answers, but Brian Daboll’s game plan and in-game adjustments weren’t up the task.
In a sense, the Bills play a finesse game. The Chiefs play a finesse game with power. The Bills were overpowered.
It was fascinating to watch Edmunds manipulated in the middle of the pass defense. Time and again in the first half, he drifted right or left to respond to the routes run by Kelce and others in his zone and to respond to Mahomes drifting right or left and threatening to run. Whichever way Edmunds moved created a weakness somewhere, and Mahomes attacked mercilessly. It looked to me that each time Edmunds was doing what he should have been doing; it was just that Mahomes had the brains and the role players to exploit the weakness. That will give Sean McDermott something to think about during the off-season.
I know that a lot of guys play hurt, and plenty of them play in less visible positions, but I can’t close without commenting on the remarkable courage of Cole Beasley. He’s been hurting for at least the past few weeks, and he stayed in the game. Against the Chiefs, he was hammered all night long, he limped off, gathered himself, and came back for more. It was heroic. He wasn’t alone, for sure. In some ways he was the symbol of the Bills tenacity, the tenacity that had the Bills fighting on every play as the clock ran out.
That’s it for now. Congratulations again to the Chiefs and the Bills.
Giver me a couple of weeks off and I’ll start getting antsy for the 2021 season!
The Rockpile Review is written to share the passion we have for the Buffalo Bills. That passion was born in the Rockpile; its parents were everyday people of western New York who translated their dedication to a full day’s hard work and simple pleasures into love for a pro football team.
Editor’s babble: Many thanks to Mark Korber for his thoughtful contributions to our blog. We send Mark our love and best wishes for whatever challenges life is presenting at this time. You can’t find Mark on Twitter, but you can find him posting at twobillsdrive.com’s Stadium Wall Message Board.