Big players turn out in big games, and sometimes really good ones have horrific moments. The latter happened to Mecole Hardman, who had one of the most embarrassing punt return gaffes you’ve ever seen.
Fumbling a punt: Bad.
Fumbling a punt in the AFC Championship: Really bad.
Fumbling a punt in the AFC Championship that results in a touchdown: Beyond horrific.
This is probably one of those cases of the moment getting to be a little too much. Hardman is only in his second season, but he was with the Chiefs last year for their Super Bowl win — so it’s not like he’s unfamiliar with pressure. That said, a punt return against a special teams unit as talented as the Bills is enough to spook anyone, at least a little.
It’s still early, and counting the Chiefs out based on one touchdown would be a fool’s errand. Nevertheless, this will be a play that sticks with Hardman for a long time.