Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has made a show of the NFL coin-tosses — from mimicking the referee’s signals to celebrating his successful calls as though he’s just thrown a touchdown pass.
He’s also been quite good at them. Allen arrived in Kansas City for Sunday night’s AFC Divisional Round NFL playoff game with a perfect 9-0 on his coin-toss decisions this year.
He left with one gigantic miss.
After the Chiefs forced overtime with a game-tying field goal, the captains met at midfield, and Allen called tails.
The coin landed on heads.
It was perhaps his only mistake of the night.
The Chiefs got the ball and traveled 75 yards for a touchdown to beat the Bills 42-36 in overtime Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium. Allen never touched the football again. And he won’t throw another pass until next season.
This is the exact situation that hurt the Chiefs just four years ago — the exact situation the Chiefs fought against happening to anyone to ever again.
The outcome of a game left to the toss of a coin.
Four years ago, the New England Patriots beat the Chiefs 37-31 in overtime of the AFC Championship Game — after Tom Brady and the Patriots won the toss, they received the ball and scored on their initial possession. The Chiefs had scored 31 points in the second half but weren’t offered a chance to possess the ball in overtime.
So the Chiefs went to the NFL with a proposal: Change Rule 16 in the book and guarantee that both teams must possess the ball at least once in overtime, even if the first team scores a touchdown.
The proposal failed.
“I’m glad we didn’t change them, as of last night,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid quipped when asked about the overtime rules on Monday.
For one night, sure. But for the long haul, even after the current set of rules helped the Chiefs advance to a fourth straight AFC Championship Game, Reid’s feelings haven’t changed.
He says the rules should, though.
“That is, I’m sure, something that they’re going to look at again too. I wouldn’t be opposed to (changing the rule),” Reid said. “That’s a hard thing. It was great for us last night, but is it great for the game? Which is the most important thing we should all be looking out for.
“To make things equal, it probably needs to be able to hit both offenses (and) both defenses.”
There’s no guarantee the outcome would have been any different, of course. The Chiefs could’ve gotten a stop and won the game just the same.
On the other hand ... The Chiefs’ defense had already had that opportunity. Twice. The Bills scored touchdowns. Twice.
With 2 minutes to play, Allen hit Gabriel Davis for a 27-yard touchdown on fourth and 13 to take a 29-26 lead. In response, Patrick Mahomes hit Tyreek Hill over the middle, and Hill finished off a 64-yard touchdown — complete with his peace sign to the Buffalo defenders — to regain a 33-29 edge.
Back came Buffalo. Offered only 1 minute, 13 seconds in which to make a move, Allen hit Davis once more for a 19-yard touchdown — Davis’ fourth score of the game — to take yet another lead.
So, sure. It could’ve played out the same way.
But after that ending — four lead changes after the two-minute warning of the fourth quarter — who wouldn’t have wanted to see one more possession?
“The rules are what they are,” Allen said. “I can’t complain about that because if it was the other way around, we’d be celebrating, too. It is what it is at this point.”