The Buffalo Bills have an early 9-0 lead in the AFC Championship Game, thanks in large part to Mecole Hardman of the Kansas City Chiefs muffing a punt return deep in their own territory.
While Hardman has become one of many electric weapons at the disposal of Patrick Mahomes in his first two NFL seasons, the 22-year-old appeared caught in between whether he should field an early punt or allow it to bounce inside the 10-yard line. At the last second, Hardman attempted to field it, and the results were disastrous:
This muffed punt from Hardman set the Bills up inside the five-yard line of Kansas City, and they quickly cashed in, with Josh Allen connecting on a three-yard touchdown pass with tight end Dawson Knox. Tyler Bass, who hit a 51-yard field goal earlier in the game, missed the extra point attempt.
Famously, the Chiefs came back in all three of their postseason victories last year, eventually winning the Super Bowl. Mahomes and company will need to find that type of magic again Sunday.