Tim Graham, Joe Buscaglia and Nate Taylor
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and coach Andy Reid expressed frustration with officiating after Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills, with Reid describing a late offensive offside call as “a little embarrassing for the National Football League.”
“Another game we’re talking about notes,” said Mahomes, who was upset as the clock ticked down on the sideline he showed earlier. “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 by throwing a 25-yard pass to tight end Travis Kelce. But officials said Toney lined up in the neutral zone before picking up the ball and throwing the flag. The Chiefs then turned the ball over on downs, ending the contest with a 20-17 loss.
Mahomes slammed his helmet to the ground and had to be restrained by several teammates as he screamed toward the field in the final minute following the call. “Wildest f—— call I’ve ever seen,” Mahomes can be heard saying while embracing Bills quarterback Josh Allen after the game. He can also be heard muttering that the call was “f—— horrible” in video clips circulating on social media.
Mahomes later said the Gaels’ play was “a legendary moment” that was ruined by a call that didn’t affect the outcome of the game. Reid said officials usually give a sideline warning before calling a penalty like the one called on Toney.
Referee Carl Sefers addressed the call after the game, with the lower judge seeing that Toney’s “composition was over the ball and that’s how he ruled the field.” Regarding Reid’s comment, Sefers said that if a coach or receiver is looking for alignment advice, the officials will give it to them, but “at the end of the day, they’re responsible for where they line up.”
“Of course, no warning is needed, especially if they line up so far offsides where they block our view of the ball,” Sefers said. “So we’d give them some kind of warning if it was anywhere near, but this was beyond warning.”
The Bills, for their part, kept their playoff hopes alive as Allen capped the game-winning 12-play, 49-yard drive that capped Tyler Pass’ 39-yard field goal with 1:54 left.
The Bills join five teams — the Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers — with 7-6 records and in the hunt for the postseason. Based on tie-breakers, the Steelers, Colts and Cleveland Browns are the current wild-card teams if the season ends Sunday.
Allen finished 23-for-42 for 233 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Running back James Cook led the Bills in both rushing (58 yards on 10 carries) and receiving (five catches for 83 yards and a score).
Mahomes was 25-for-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 highlights
The Bills’ postseason hopes remain intact
The Bills survived a tumultuous week and a heartbreaking trick touchdown that was ruined by a penalty with 1:12 to play. The win is crucial to keeping Buffalo’s playoff hopes reasonable. Bills coach Sean McDermott was grilled in a controversial article in which unnamed sources questioned his coaching abilities. Even his staunchest supporters can’t deny his flaws this season, especially when going 0-3 in the final two minutes of a game. Buffalo took another such lead when Bass kicked his late field goal.
Von Miller, who was arrested last week on a third-degree felony charge of assaulting his pregnant girlfriend and has not yet been cleared to play, helped create intense pressure against Mahomes on the final possession. — Tim Graham, Buffalo veteran sports writer
Even with the Chiefs giving up back-to-back chances to clinch the game, the Bills could turn out to be the most important win of their season for their cherished playoff career. Not only do the Bills enter a six-way tie for the final two playoff spots at 7-6, but they also collect a much-needed AFC win for tiebreaker purposes. The Bills still lag in that area, but bring that record to 4-5 on the year. Now, with four games remaining, the Bills have a two-game losing streak against AFC foes and a real chance to make the playoffs — even with all the disappointment of the first 12 games. — Joe Buscaglia, Bills staff writer
The Chiefs’ WR room continues to disappoint
Once again, one of the Chiefs’ receivers was the main culprit in another disappointing loss. This was a crucial moment for the Chiefs going to the Bills as Toney made a mental error that led to an offsides penalty after lining up in the neutral zone during the team’s two-minute practice. If Toney had started the game in the right spot, he would have benefited from one of the more impressive-instinctive plays of the season, when he caught a pass for 25 yards and then lateraled the ball to Toney. He was wide open to run into the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown that would have given the Chiefs a four-point lead with 1:25 left in the game. Instead, Toney’s penalty nullified the 51-yard play. The Chiefs got no one else as Mahomes’ next three passes fell incomplete. — Nate Taylor, Chief Staff Writer
The Chiefs were tearing up the notes, but in fact another mistake by a receiver gave them another hit
Bills protection work done
The Bills have had several moments this season where an overmatched defense in the first three quarters caused a big fight, pulling the rug out from under them in the fourth quarter and forcing overtime before the end. Starting safety Micah Hyde and key rotation defensive end A.J. They lost two of their main protectors, Ebenesa. But against the defending world champion Chiefs, the pressure will be on Mahomes to come up with key stops and success, as the league’s best quarterback has had several late wins against the Bills in past games against them. It’s a big moment for a struggling defense, and one that could propel the Bills forward into the playoffs when all hope seems lost. — Buscaglia
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Chiefs watch the game being played
Having lost four of their last six games, the Chiefs’ chances of securing the AFC’s top playoff seed — including home-field advantage and a first-round bye — have dwindled significantly. The Chiefs, who have never led in a game on Sunday, must win the final four games of the regular season — against the Patriots, Raiders, Bengals and Chargers — to have a chance to clinch the top spot in the conference standings. The Chiefs will need help as well, as the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins will need to lose at least two of their remaining games to avoid a situation like that. At this point, the Chiefs are as close as possible to playing a postseason game on the road for the first time in the Mahomes era. — Taylor
(Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)