The Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs met for a highly anticipated NFL divisional round playoff battle Sunday, and it did not disappoint. Although, controversy did trickle its way into Highmark Stadium in the fourth quarter.

In the middle of a tight head-to-head contest, Kansas City searched for some insurance to further bridge the scoring gap — the Chiefs lead the Bills, 27-24. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes flipped the ball to wideout Mecole Hardman on first-and-goal, just feet away from the end zone.

Yet, in crashing fashion, Hardman fumbled the ball while reaching for the goal line and it went through the end zone, resulting in Buffalo gaining possession. Hardman’s head-scratching choice to extend the ball raised questions surrounding the 25-year-old’s critical decision-making skills with the season on the line.

Watching from afar, ex-New England Patriots running back and three-time Super Bowl champion James White also questioned Hardman.

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“Can’t reach the ball right there! Very unnecessary,” White posted on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Ruled a touchback following an official’s review, Hardman’s blunder threatened Kansas City’s chances and gave Buffalo a major sigh of relief in a do-or-die race to the AFC Championship Game.

As much of a nail-bitter the remainder of the fourth quarter proved to be, the Chiefs rode that same 3-point lead to the finish line. Granted, that’s owed to Bills placekicker Tyler Bass missing a 44-yard, potential game-tying field goal attempt — wide right.

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Kansas City will next take on the Baltimore Ravens, advancing to the AFC title matchup for the sixth consecutive year.

Featured image via Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports Images