RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – It was fun listening to all the theories on why the Buffalo Bills lost to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night in one of the most amazing NFL playoff games ever seen.
The Bills electing to employ the dreaded “Prevent Defense” with 13 seconds to play was the biggest reason why the Chiefs will play in their fourth straight AFC title game while a Buffalo franchise steeped in playoff misery sees an outstanding season come to an end.
Social media was on fire with questions about how the outcome could have turned out different.
I want to focus on one aspect: Buffalo’s decision not to squib kick with 13 seconds left in regulation.
Many people I heard from felt the Bills should have employed the squib kick, including one who said a squib kick would eat up three to five seconds.
That’s not necessarily correct.
“Once the kick is legally touched by the receivers beyond 10 yards the clock starts,” said former NFL referee Gerry Austin. “If the receivers possess it standing and immediately goes to the ground or recovers and stays on the ground, one second is run off.”
So had the Bills squib kicked, the Chiefs still would have had 12 seconds to navigate into field goal range because they would have certainly just fallen on the ball.
By kicking the ball out of the endzone, Buffalo probably made the right choice. A squib kick is so unpredictable.
What if the kicker mis-hits the ball and it goes directly to a Chiefs player at say, the 40 or 35 yard line? That’s a huge 10-15 yard headstart to field goal range.
“If the kick is airborne and fair caught, no time comes off the clock,” said Austin.
This might have been a better option for Buffalo since it would have been easier for the kicker to sky the ball to around the 15-yard line.
But for all those saying Buffalo should have squib kicked it, I don’t necessarily disagree.
A well-placed squib kick could have pinned the Chiefs inside their 20-yard line. All I’m saying is, that type of kick is risky and only one second would come off the clock anyways.
Now, if you’ve got a couple of hours we could talk about Prevent Defense and why the NFL should change Overtime rules. I guess we’ll leave that for another day.