ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Before this N.F.L. Before the N.F.L. season, the Buffalo Bills established a Super Bowl goal. While that is an objective shared by all teams, it was both realistic and pressing for the Bills, who believed this season’s squad had as good a chance as ever to finally deliver a championship to this region.
Through a midseason slump and long-term injuries Micah Hyde, Von Miller, and then, the Bills remained true to their mission. Damar Hamlin’s life-threatening medical emergency during a prime-time game in Early January The Bills came back on Sunday. in It’s a familiar spot: We wait until next year.
Under a steady snowfall, the Bills’ season ended with a 27-10 loss to the Cincinnati BengalsKansas City will be challenged by… in next weekend’s A.F.C. next weekend’s A.F.C.
“Obviously we wanted to play for him and continue our mission,” Josh Allen, Bills quarterback, said that he was referring to HamlinWho was it? in attendance at Sunday’s game. “We just ran into a team that played better than us tonight.”
Joe Burrow, the Bills’ spokesman for Joe Burrow, was not able to keep up with them. Bengals’ offense, while Allen couldn’t seem to get the offense into a rhythm. It was the Bengals They were without three offensive line starters, but Allen was the one who found himself running, trying to figure out how to play.
These two teams last met on the same field on January 2, 2012. Hamlin After making an apparent routine tackle on Tee Higgins, I went into cardiac arrest. This game was suspended in The Bills were unable to complete the second quarter, and eventually had to cancel. The Bills have tried to move forward since then drawing strength from their steady progress. HamlinHe made his debut public appearance on Sunday after being released from hospital on January 11.
Hamlin visited the Bills’ locker room before the game and then watched from a suite as he continues what doctors have said will be a lengthy recovery. Two minutes into the first half, stadium Jumbotron displayed. Hamlin. After he had made a gesture of support for Burrow, he cupped his arms into a heart symbol and urged the crowd.
The defense held on that series — after a Ja’Marr Chase touchdown catch was overturned on review — but that was just one of a few potential turning points for the Bills that never materialized.
“There was no real energy, juice, no momentum,” said Matt Milano, the Bills’ All-Pro linebacker.
The Bengals Built a 14 point lead in the first quarter on two touchdown passes from Burrow to wide-open targets — Chase on the first for 28 yards and tight end Hayden Hurst on the second for 15. Burrow didn’t throw an incomplete pass on the Bengals’ first two drives. Two three-and out series opened the Bills’ season.
Bills finally gave up Bengals Their third possession saw Burrow being sacked by Milano on the third down at midfield. After the Bills had the ball, they marched to their goal zone with a 75-yard, 15-play scoring drive. The Allen touchdown ran on a 1-yard quarterback sneak capped off a successful Bills run.
After Bengals’ field goal just inside the two-minute warning of the first half pushed Cincinnati’s lead to 17-7, the Bills pulled back to within a score early in The second half was won by Tyler Bass’s 25 yard field goal. It was over from there. Bengals, who all game sustained the momentum that eluded the Bills’ offense. Allen’s second-quarter touchdown run was the only time the Bills got into the end zone.
Bills will reflect on missed chances. There was Allen’s well-thrown deep shot, which traveled more than 30 yards in On a third down, the air. in The third quarter was in its final moments. But Bills receiver Gabe Davis couldn’t quite hold on to it. A Bills drive was stalled in the middle of the fourth quarter after Cincinnati had increased its lead to 27-10. in Bengals’ territory. They incurred a false start penalty that extended a third down, then failed to convert a fourth down from Cincinnati’s 16-yard line. Stefon Diggs could be seen shouting at the quarterback As Allen sat on the bench, Allen watched from the sidelines.
Diggs, the team’s top receiver, briefly left the game after Allen overthrew him in He was in the goal zone and collided with a photographer. For the second series, he returned and caught four more catches of 35 yards from 10 targets.
“He’s a fiery competitor,” Allen spoke highly of Diggs. “He wants the ball, and whatever it was that we couldn’t get him the ball tonight, we’re going to have to learn from.”
With There is just one more minute in Allen was leading the Bills by 17 at the end of the first quarter, so he threw an intercept to win the game. Bengals Cam Taylor Britt, cornerback Bills fans hooted and fled the stadium, Bengals fans went the other way, descending the stadium stairs to cheer on their team’s return to the conference championship. Allen continued to be present after the conference championship was concluded. in He remained in his locker at the exit of the stadium with his teammates, but he did not take off his uniform until half an hour later.
It could have been a glimpse of the A.F.C. It could have been a preview of what the A.F.C. would look like in years to follow: Allen and Burrow competing for Patrick Mahomes’ role in The conference championship game. But the Bills have so far not been able to get past the conference’s giants during the postseason. Mahomes, Kansas City ended their previous two seasons. Burrow and the Bengals ended the Bills’ Super Bowl dream.
Bills Coach Sean McDermott explained that this loss should be seen as an opportunity to learn for the future. However in It was disappointing for a team which had worked hard over the previous weeks to find ways of moving forward.
“Barriers were broken with this group in regards to being vulnerable,” said Bills center Mitch Morse. “It definitely stings a little bit more knowing that this particular group went through so much and this chapter is closed.”