Bills’ Sean McDermott Explains Questionable Fake Punt Vs. Chiefs

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In the Buffalo Bills season-ending loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Highmark Stadium on Sunday evening, head coach Sean McDermott got lucky.

McDermott got lucky Chiefs receiver Mecole Hardman made a boneheaded decision and fumbled the ball out of the end zone two plays after McDermott called a fake punt at Buffalo’s 30-yard line. McDermott got lucky given that Bills Mafia woke up Monday morning cursing the wide-right miss by kicker Tyler Bass, which would have tied the game 27-all with 1:47 left.

Those two plays will cause many to forget McDermott’s crunch-time fake punt. And maybe for good reason. But that doesn’t make McDermott’s miscue any less questionable.

“Just felt like we were having a hard time stopping them,” McDermott told reporters regarding the fake punt after Buffalo’s 27-24 defeat, per the team. “They were up three at the time, I believe it was, and wanted to be aggressive. You only get one chance. Obviously didn’t work, but it’s a decision I made and you live with it. And then we were fortunate enough to make the stop there, which got the ball back for us.”

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Aggressiveness is one thing, especially in a playoff game. And the Bills have seen what happens when Patrick Mahomes and company have the ball last. But why not keep unicorn quarterback Josh Allen on the field for a fourth-and-5 call rather than run a direct snap to special teamer Damar Hamlin?

“Again, hadn’t done it, maybe the element of surprise there,” McDermott said. “We felt good about the look going into the week. I understand what you’re saying about keeping Josh (Allen) out there. It’s just where we were on the field in relation to the element of surprise in that situation, obviously we didn’t execute. But I’m just going to be aggressive.”

Fortunately for McDermott, the decision didn’t have as costly an impact as it could have — and it could have been devastating. Should Hardman not have fumbled the ball out of the end zone, which resulted in a touchback for Buffalo, or should the Chiefs have given a first-and-goal handoff to hard-running Isaiah Pacheco, Kanas City likely would have extended its lead to 34-24 with 12 minutes remaining.

And if that were the case, McDermott would not be skating free of criticism after another playoff exit.

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