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

The NFL couldn’t have asked for a more exciting game than this one between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills, making the final game of the divisional round of the playoffs one to remember. Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen played well, but the slugfest ended with a missed kick.

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

Tyler Bass’ missed FG costs Bills game

Overreaction or Reality: any unnecessary

“Wide Right” is forever etched in Bills lore, and it somehow happened again (!) when Tyler Bass missed a 44-yard field goal with 1:47 left in a 27–24 game. Bass missing the kick is certainly bad, but if he had done so, the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs would have had just two minutes to kick a field goal and win the game.

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

Special teams also cost the Bills again on 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 sore hamstring, which led to poor punts.

Stefon Diggs’ long 60-yard bomb to Josh Allen also deserves blame. Diggas had just 3 catches for 21 yards.

The bass miss will be discussed again and again – especially since it echoes history by going to the right side – but Diggs and the special teams miscues cost the Bills. Bess’ missed field goal was just the tip of the iceberg.

Chiefs shift pressure to Ravens in AFC title game

Overreaction or Reality: reality

Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes have been to six consecutive conference championship games together, this time taking their showdown on the road. The Chiefs went to Orchard Park and defeated the Buffalo Bills, as Mahomes recorded his first road playoff win. The Bills had the majors right where they wanted them – and still lost!

Mahomes has a winning percentage of .780 in road starts (39-11), indicating he is 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 it is his first conference championship on the road).

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

The pressure is on the Chiefs, but this is Jackson’s best chance at a Super Bowl. As for Mahomes and Kansas City, they’ve 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 has 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 span, as the Buccaneers went 6–2 in those games.

Mike Evans – also a free agent – ​​wants Mayfield back. Mayfield wants to come back and pair with Evans again, but can the Buccaneers afford both? Tampa Bay may have no choice.

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

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

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 it. San Francisco’s record since drafting Deebo Samuel in 2019 is 8-9 (24.2 points per game) and 53-23 (26.8 points per game) with Samuel since 2019.

Samuel clearly makes a difference in that lineup, so his shoulder will be monitored all week. When the 49ers endured a three-game losing streak in October, Samuel did not play in any of those games. The 49ers are averaging 5.7 yards per play when Samuel is not in the lineup, compared to 7.1 yards when he does.

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

The Lions can run the ball against the 49ers.

Overreaction or Reality: any unnecessary

The 49ers are really good against the run, ranking third in rushing yards per game and fourth in rushing touchdowns. 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 run the football with David Montgomery and Jahmir Gibbs, showing they can match the physicality of the 49ers, right? On Sunday, Detroit rushed for 114 yards and 4.4 yards per carry against a Buccaneers run defense that ranked fifth in rushing yards allowed and eighth in rushing touchdowns this season.

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

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