The Bills did not win, and now they'll be going home with a losing record after collapsing in a 30-22 loss to the Chiefs. It might have been a playoff-type game, but it's as close as Buffalo will get to the postseason. They won't sniff the playoffs with the way they played Sunday.
After taking a 10-point lead in the first quarter and quieting a sparse, rain-soaked crowd at Arrowhead Stadium, the Bills allowed the Chiefs to claw back and take a lead because of a series of defensive lapses, offensive mistakes, special-teams errors and poor game-management decisions.
"Obviously this game is a huge, huge game," coach Rex Ryan said last Wednesday. "Both teams come in with the same record, both shooting for the same thing."
Now 5-6, the Bills are quickly becoming long shots for the playoffs. A huge game indeed.
What it means: The Bills fall to third place in the AFC East, behind the New York Jets, who defeated the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Buffalo will also lose the all-important head-to-head tiebreaker against the Chiefs, who improve to 6-5 and effectively have a two-game lead over the Bills in the wild-card race.
What were they thinking? Rex Ryan likely cost the Bills seven points in the second quarter when he failed to challenge a 37-yard catch by Jeremy Maclin that, looking at the replay, was not a catch. The Chiefs ran to the line and scored on a 3-yard touchdown run by Spencer Ware on the next play. Ryan then blew a second-half timeout in the third quarter when he challenged an incompletion to Robert Woods that was clearly not a catch. Perhaps Ryan, if he did not use that challenge, would have been more willing to use it on a third-quarter run by Alex Smith that appeared short of a first down, or on a Chris Hogan catch that was ruled an incompletion late in the fourth quarter. It was a series of errors for the Bills' coach.
Fantasy watch: A week after Sammy Watkins wasn't targeted in the first half, the Bills fed him the ball early in Sunday's game. Watkins had six first-half catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns, but he was held without a catch in the second half as the Bills' offense sputtered.
One reason to get excited: The Bills will play only one more quarterback this season who had a QB rating of at least 90.0 entering Sunday: Brian Hoyer. After the Texans come to Buffalo next weekend, the remaining quarterbacks on the Bills' schedule are Philadelphia's Sam Bradford (or Mark Sanchez), Washington's Kirk Cousins, Dallas' Matt Cassel and the Jets' Ryan Fitzpatrick. It's a very winnable slate for a defense that was supposed to be among the NFL's best.
One reason to panic: The Bills have a losing record after Thanksgiving. Nothing more to be said there; the Bills billed this as a playoff-type game and they lost. Their season is on the ropes.
Ouch: Running back Karlos Williams left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury and did not return. Fellow rookie cornerback Ronald Darby left in the first half to enter the concussion protocol but returned to the game. Linebacker Nigel Bradham left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury. Defensive lineman Alex Carrington was carted off in the third quarter with a right knee injury and did not return.