BY NICK ST. DENIS
A lot went right, and a lot went wrong when the Buffalo Bills hosted the Atlanta Falcons in Toronto Sunday.
Regardless, in the final minute and with the game tied, the Bills were driving their way to the winning points before receiver Stevie Johnson fumbled, sending the contest to overtime.
The Bills won the coin flip, so no harm, no foul, right? Buffalo opted to receive and set off on the potential game-winning drive. But two plays in, tight end Scott Chandler lost a fumble of his own, and the Falcons had new life. There would be no third chance.
Atlanta moved 30 yards on the ensuing possession, and a chip-shot of a Matt Bryant field goal put an end to the Bills' postseason hopes, which were razor-thin to begin with.
"At the end of the day, you don't like it to come down to those plays," Bills coach Doug Marrone said of the fumbles following Buffalo's 34-31 loss, via ESPN.com. "There's other things that go on during the game. We have to do a better job all around so the game doesn't come down to that. We want to be better than that."
Unfortunately, the NFL is a highly-competitive league that often does come down to one or two plays. So with the game on the line and the Bills in position for the win, the fumbles can't happen.
Johnson credited the Falcons for making the plays, but Chandler admitted to not protecting the football the way he should have.
"It ain't like we had the ball loose or outside of our body," Johnson said of his fumble, which was forced by cornerback Robert McClain.
Chandler's fumbled was punched out by safety William Moore.
"Right as I put the ball away, I didn't get my hand underneath it enough, and the guy hit it right on the ball and just knocked it loose," Chandler said.
Buffalo fell to 4-8 with the loss and will extend the league's longest playoff drought another year.
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