Saturday, July 20, 2024

Overreactions from NFL Sunday divisional-round games: Did Tyler Bass cost Bills game? Pressure on Ravens now?

The NFL couldn’t have asked for a more thrilling game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills, making the final game of the divisional round of the playoffs a memorable one. Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen played very well, but the end of the slugfest came down to a missed kick. 

Did Tyler Bass‘ miss decide the game? How can Buffalo explain another playoff loss? And what about the Detroit Lions‘ win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; is Detroit Super Bowl-bound? We’re here to solve those mysteries as we go over a fresh batch of storylines from the Sunday divisional round games and decide which are overreactions and which are reality. 

Tyler Bass’ missed FG cost Bills the game

Overreaction or Reality: Overreaction

“Wide Right” is forever etched in Bills lore, and it somehow happened again (!) when Tyler Bass missed a 44-yard field goal wide right with 1:47 left in a 27-24 game. Bass missing the kick is bad, of course, but if he had made it, the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs offense would’ve had just under two minutes to kick a field goal themselves and win the game.

Bass and the Bills’ special teams haven’t been good all year. He hit just 82.8% of field goals in the regular season, while missing a 27-yard field goal last week. The Bills also had one of his kicks blocked in that game.

Special teams also cost the Bills again Sunday, as Damar Hamlin failed to get a first down on a fake punt attempt with the Bills trailing 27-24 at their own 29-yard line early in the fourth quarter. Sam Martin had a bad hamstring, which led to bad punts as well. 

Stefon Diggs dropping a long 60-yard bomb from Josh Allen deserves blame too. Diggas had just 3 catches for 21 yards. 

The Bass miss will be discussed again and again — especially since it echoed history by going wide right — but Diggs and the special teams miscues cost the Bills. Bass’ field goal miss was just the cherry on top. 

Chiefs shifted the pressure to Ravens in AFC title game

Overreaction or Reality: Reality 

Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes have been in six consecutive conference championship games together, this time taking their act on the road. The Chiefs just went in Orchard Park and beat the Buffalo Bills, as Mahomes notched his first road playoff win. The Bills had the Chiefs where they wanted them — and still lost! 

Mahomes has a .780 win percentage in road starts (39-11), showcasing he’s the best quarterback away from Arrowhead Stadium. He’s 3-2 in conference championship games, so Mahomes has the experience needed to go to the Super Bowl (even if this is his first conference championship on the road). 

The Ravens are new to this situation during the Lamar Jackson era. They also are at home and have an NFL-record 11 wins against teams with a winning record. Baltimore is hosting a conference championship game for the first time since 1971 against a team that plays at this stage every year. 

There’s pressure on the Chiefs, but this is Jackson’s best chance at a Super Bowl. For Mahomes and Kansas City, they have been there and done that. 

Baker Mayfield deserves to be paid like a top-10 QB

Overreaction or Reality: Reality

Mayfield certainly deserves a contract extension from the Buccaneers based on how he’s played this season, especially over the last eight games. He completed 63.1% of his passes with 17 touchdowns to five interceptions for a 102.2 passer rating in that stretch, as the Buccaneers went 6-2 in those games.

Mike Evans — also a free agent — wants Mayfield back. Mayfield wants to come back and be paired with Evans again, but can the Buccaneers afford both? Tampa Bay may not have a choice.

The 10th-highest paid quarterback makes an average annual salary of $40 million — and that’s Daniel Jones. Mayfield is certainly better than him and proved it based on how well he played in Year 1 with Dave Canales as his play-caller? What does Mayfield have in store for Year 2? 

Mayfield may not be a top-10 quarterback, but he deserves that salary based on how the market shapes up. 

49ers won’t beat the Lions if Deebo Samuel is out 

Overreaction or Reality: Reality 

The proof is in the pudding: the 49ers aren’t the same team with Samuel off the field as they are when he’s on the field. San Francisco has an 8-9 record (24.2 points per game) without Deebo Samuel since drafting him in 2019 and are 53-23 (26.8 points per game) with Samuel since 2019.

Samuel obviously makes a difference in that lineup, so his shoulder will be worth monitoring throughout the week. When the 49ers went on their three-game losing streak in October, Samuel didn’t play in any of those games. The 49ers average 5.7 yards per play when Samuel isn’t in the lineup compared to 7.1 when he plays. 

The 49ers need Samuel on the field if they want to beat the Lions. This is a team that also has Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle, and Trent Williams on offense, but Samuel is the cheat code that makes the offense nearly unstoppable. 

Lions can run the ball against the 49ers

Overreaction or Reality: Overreaction

The 49ers are really good against the run, ranking third in rushing yards per game allowed and fourth in rushing touchdowns allowed. Saturday’s win over the Green Bay Packers was an anomaly, as San Francisco allowed 136 rushing yards and 4.9 yards per carry in the 24-21 victory.

The Lions can pound the football with David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs, showcasing they can match the 49ers’ physicality, right? On Sunday, Detroit ran for 114 yards and 4.4 yards per carry against a Buccaneers run defense that was fifth in rushing yards allowed and eighth in rushing touchdowns allowed this season. 

San Francisco’s run defense is better than Tampa Bay’s this season. The 49ers will commit to stopping the run and taking away the play action. This game will be on Jared Goff’s shoulders. 

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