Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabe Davis took full advantage of a hero opportunity on Sunday, even if the walk-off hero, Travis Kelce, was clad in Kansas City Chiefs red.
Davis caught a playoff-record four touchdowns in the Bills' 42-36 overtime loss to the Chiefs, and it might have been five had the Bills won the overtime coin toss. Instead, on a career-best night that unfolded in storybook fashion, Davis was rendered helpless on the sideline as Kansas City marched for a game-winning touchdown without the Bills offense taking the field in overtime.
It was a bitter ending to a glorious performance.
"It's hard to celebrate that when something like that happens," said Davis, who caught eight passes in regulation for 201 yards. "At the end of the day, this is a team game and you want your team to keep going and to keep playing to win the Super Bowl and move forward. I was looking forward to having the AFC championship at home as well and we didn't get that job done today. It's upsetting."
Davis was especially impressive late in the game, catching two of his four TD passes in the last two minutes. The last of those, a 19-yarder over the middle of the field with just 13 seconds remaining, gave Buffalo a seemingly secure 36-33 lead.
The Chiefs defense shut down Bills star receiver Stefon Diggs to the tune of three catches for seven yards, and Bills quarterback Josh Allen's next-most-likely options weren't very productive, either. Emmanuel Sanders caught just one ball for 16 yards, and tight end Dawson Knox, who emerged this season as a steady option for Allen, caught just two for nine.
Davis stepped into the void as a unlikely star; he caught just one touchdown pass in all of September, one in October, and none in November. His previous career high in yardage, 107, came in Week 17 of 2020 against the Miami Dolphins. On Sunday, however, as the Chiefs sought to take Diggs away, Davis was left with plenty of operating room.
"I think they had a good plan, doubling (Diggs), especially on some of those third downs, rolling a safety over the top, and playing two high," Allen said. "Usually when you try to take away somebody and put two guys on (Diggs), it opens up things for the other guys. Gabe had his opportunity tonight and he made some unbelievable plays. Cole (Beasley) was making some plays. We were getting everyone involved. That's what it came down to."
For Davis personally, there couldn't have been a more confidence-inspiring way to close out his second pro season. He could be headed for an ideal chance to play more next year if Sanders, a pending free agent, signs elsewhere. But for now, there's nothing but disappointment for Davis from a team perspective.
"It's just going to leave that bad taste in our mouth. I know it's something I'll be thinking about until next season starts again because there's still going to be games going on and the Super Bowl will be played, you're going to see it on TV and know you should have been in that position," Davis said. "It's definitely going to have people with a chip on their shoulder coming into next year and just being ready to play the ball we know we can play."