21 months later, Bills still haven’t shaken off 13-second playoff loss to Chiefs

On Monday night, Josh Allen was asked to process his emotions — after going through a Lost to the Denver Broncos 24-22 It’s a creeping organizational debt—he stares down at the microphone placed in front of him. After a thousand-yard stare and a long pause, buffalo bill The quarterback’s decision to evaluate the injury tied him to many of his lowest points.

“This is bad,” he said.

Allen used this phrase often, effectively encapsulating numerous deflating moments in his career.In September, when he Turned the ball over four times in loss to new york jets. It had a poor 2019 after losing to Team USA in late December new england patriots. Things went badly when he tested false positive for the coronavirus in August 2020. In 2018, things were really bad. controversial tweets His experiences as a teenager surfaced before the NFL draft.

But Monday night’s embarrassing loss sparked something Fire offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey That feeling felt familiar in Allen’s assessment Tuesday. Maybe it was the shock of the moment, or maybe it was Allen’s brief, lifeless reply. Or maybe there’s just a nagging feeling that something behind the bill, something incomprehensible, is still broken.

661 days have passed since the incident Bill suffered a 13-second crash against this kansas city chiefs In the divisional round of the playoffs.an infamous moment in buffalo history Patrick Mahomes Although the Chiefs had a game-tying field goal with 13 seconds left in regulation, Kansas City tied the game with that one and then scored a game-ending touchdown on the first possession of overtime.

“It was terrible the way it happened,” Allen said afterwards.

More than 21 months later, on a night where the Bills turned the ball over and made some mistakes expensive penalties This should be laid at the feet of the coaching staff, which goes back to the initial assessment. But this recognized valley has a more deadly advantage. Looking back on the playoff loss to the Chiefs — which included Allen’s vow to keep this empty feeling alive and never let it happen again — it’s hard to see that these Buffalo Bills are more than what they once were. A worse version of his younger, more arrogant self.

They don’t look like a team that’s getting back on their feet after back-to-back playoff losses to the Chiefs. Going backwards.

Some of that can be seen in the way Allen plays, reverting to a turnover-prone style that the emergence of former offensive coordinator Brian Daboll seemed to put a stop to. Statistically, there’s no evidence that Buffalo’s offense has suffered a major decline. Under Dorsey, the Bills offense still ranks in the top ten in the league in scoring offense and ranks seventh in the NFL in yards per game. But they’ve also made mistakes at key moments and are under 25 points on the scoreboard. Six games in a row. Down to the usual lack of consistency and still not the complementary cohesion that usually defines Super Bowl winning teams.

As Bills head coach Sean McDermott summed it up on Tuesday, “We’ve got to find the confidence, we’ve got to find the energy, we’ve got to find a consistent level of production.”

They may also have to find that spark in Josh Allen Sr. He’s not playing at his peak level right now, still makes too many bad decisions, and still occasionally plays reckless heroics. But the most disturbing thing was watching him speak Monday night, when the enthusiasm seemed to be waning as the losses and mistakes continued to mount.

Things didn't look right for Josh Allen and the Bills in Monday night's loss to the Broncos, and that's certainly been the case since that infamous game.

Something didn’t look right for Josh Allen and the Bills in Monday night’s loss to the Broncos, and that has certainly been the case since the infamous “13 seconds” loss to the Chiefs. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes) (Associated Press)

Perhaps this problem can be solved by promoting Joe Brady to the position of offensive coordinator.Maybe the one who saw his star rocket around him Joe Burrow LSU could reignite Allen and the rest of the Bills’ offense.Of course he can’t use it carolina pantherswho was fired after less than two seasons as former coach Matt Rhule’s offensive coordinator while drawing criticism within the building that he seemed overwhelmed by the job.

It will be interesting to see what questions McDermott has for Brady regarding the different facets of the quarterback position. He repeatedly floated the idea of ​​switching from Dorsey to Brady to change the energy of the offense. He also mentioned some “tough” stuff. He also expects more from Allen’s coaching.

“[He’s] “That’s probably not where we wanted him to be,” McDermott said. “That’s natural based on some of the results we’ve gotten on his year — some of the results he’s gotten, especially some turnovers. But it’s natural. I believe he’s going to find it. I think again, with some new energy in our offense, my hope is – my goal is – it’s going to create a little bit of confidence and clarity and predictability [things] On the contrary, in some cases, the reaction[ing].I think that’s what playing the quarterback position is all about. “

Put into the broader context of where these Bills should be heading in Allen’s prime, it’s at least a little troubling that McDermott is still talking about confidence and expectations at the quarterback position. These qualities should have been on display in Allen’s prime. The early development that Allen made into his 20s became a part of his career where he brought out and raised the level of other players.

Now, in this moment, Allen should be shaping the offense himself, with the Bills in the center of the Super Bowl window. Instead, the quarterback is now on his third offensive coordinator since a shocking playoff loss to the Chiefs, and the staff is tasked with fixing Allen before getting the most out of him again upper limit.

It’s a harsh reality that goes back to the Chiefs’ loss. Something doesn’t look right with Bill and Allen. They haven’t been like that since those 13 seconds that changed the trajectory of seemingly everything.

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