Call the Chiefs lucky or call them opportunistic. Certainly they were both on Sunday and their charmed season continued with a 23-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The Chiefs didn't score an offensive touchdown ...but their defense produced two touchdowns -- a 100-yard interception return by cornerback Sean Smith that tied the game in the third quarter and an 11-yard fumble recovery by Tamba Hali that gave Kansas City the lead for good.
The victory kept the Chiefs, 9-0, undefeated going into their bye week and leading up to their showdown on Nov. 17 at Denver, 7-1, which was idle this weekend.
Chiefs Come From Behind, Top Bills 23-13 from The Mothership
Marcus Cooper blanketed Bills WR T.J. Graham, who still made the catch, before Coop jarred the ball loose, picked up by the birthday boy, Chiefs LB
Tamba Hali, who recovered the fumble and returned it from 11 yards out for the score. The Chiefs seized a 20-13 lead and never looked back.
"Cooper forced the fumble and the whistle didn't blow," Hali said, describing his TD. "It's another blessing from God. Being 1-0 each week is huge, because every game we come in now, we're going to get another team's best game and just knowing that and keeping our poise and just coming in and making sure we can execute and get a win is huge."
Chiefs 23, Bills 13: Insta-Reaction from KC Star
Man, Dexter McCluster just cannot, under any circumstance, drop that pass.
Terez pointed this out, but the Bills left Bowe in a lot of single coverage which made this a really important game for him. He's either going to show that he's still the kind of receiver who needs extra attention, or he's going to be Just Another Guy and the Chiefs offense takes a step back. Bowe had a key drop in the first half, but otherwise did enough that defenses are going to need to account for him.
Dexter McCluster can't drop that ball.
Coach Reid, Alex Smith React To Week 9 Win from The Mothership
"Listen, all in all, every win you get in the National Football League is a good win. We rallied in that fourth quarter and did some things better than what we had done early, however, the two touchdowns were very important. It was a great interception for a long haul there, we did a nice job there and then we had the fumble recovery, which was great. Dustin (Colquitt), that last punt that he had, to put it down at the two or one, wherever it was, was phenomenal. (Ron) Parker did a great job of downing it right there. The four-minute drive at the end, I thought, was big. Listen, there are a lot of things we can improve on; we were out-yardaged by a ton. The turnovers and the scores, kind of important things, I mentioned that before, points scored and turnovers, either created or lost and really that's what the game came down to. Time's yours."
Chiefs Make Up For Mistakes By Making Big Plays from KC Star
Of all the lucky, underwhelming, grinding, no-offense-having, outgained-two-to-one, backup-quarterback-throws-a-stupid-pick-six way of winning a game, this was the Chiefs' masterpiece.
Honestly, it's like they're trolling everyone calling them the worst 9-0 team in the history of upright man.
"I hadn't heard that," receiver Dwayne Bowe says, possibly fibbing. "But I heard we're the only 9-0 team."
"It was like Christmas," Smith said. "You go out there as a little kid, and there's like a big box right there? That's how I felt. He threw it right to me. ... (And) I knew once I caught it no one was catching me."
In the most essential moment of what became a 23-13 Chiefs victory, Smith high-stepped the last 10 yards hoisting the ball up, a la Deion Sanders, to punctuate the turnaround that at once tied the game, reinvigorated them and punctured the Bills.
"That was a game-changer, changed the whole game," cornerback counterpart Brandon Flowers said. "The team just had new life."
Chiefs' Offense Has Another Tough Day from KC Star
The Chiefs' offense had little going for it in Sunday's 23-13 win over the Buffalo Bills.
It was outgained 470 yards to 210 yards. The Bills had 25 first downs to the Chiefs' 15. Some of that could be attributed to Buffalo having more possessions because two Chiefs defensive scores kept the offense on the sidelines.
But Buffalo still outgained the Chiefs 6.1 yards per play to 3.9. And yet, the Chiefs improved to 9-0 despite not scoring an offensive touchdown.
Buffalo ran the ball pretty well and kept the Chiefs' pass rush in check. Should this be a concern?
Yes, especially with the Chiefs set to face Denver twice in the next month. The margin for error is only getting smaller, and Denver will surely see how the Bills attacked the defense with quick passes and cutback runs. The good news for the Chiefs is that they have two weeks to prepare for the Broncos and work on their weaknesses.
Chiefs' Offensive Line Holds Against Bills from KC Star
After rushing for 28 yards on seven carries in the first half, the Chiefs proceeded to rush 16 times for 67 yards in the second half - a continuation of their habit for finishing games with a punishing ground game, despite the fact opponents know it's coming.
"During the fourth quarter, when we had to get points to seal the game, we did it ... once again, kind of on the back of the offensive line," said quarterback Alex Smith. "Those guys made holes when they had to late in the game, really kind of (imposing) their will in the game and getting the tough yards when we had to get them."
In fact, while Dareus finished with five tackles (three after halftime), Williams only finished with two tackles and a hurry (none in the second half).
Chiefs' Defense Converts Turnovers To Points from KC Star
Everything pointed to a special day for Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali on Sunday.
It was his 30th birthday. The Penn State marching band, his alma mater, performed before the game and at halftime.
And Hali celebrated in grand style, pouncing on a fourth-quarter fumble and returning it 11 yards for the decisive points in the Chiefs' 23-13 win over the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Chiefs Allow Bills To Pile Up 241 Rushing Yards from KC Star
In a performance reminiscent of the one Spiller put on last season, when he accumulated 170 all-purpose yards in a Bills victory, Spiller lived up to Marrone's expectations, gaining 116 rushing yards on only 12 carries while also hauling in two passes for 39 yards.
Along with teammate Fred Jackson, who rushed 77 yards on 16 carries, those two paced an offense that churned out 241 rushing yards, the second-most the Chiefs - who still managed to prevail 23-13 - have allowed in a single game all season.
"It was a little inside zone that we just ran," said Spiller, who averaged an absurd 9.7 yards per carry Sunday. "We were pretty much just reading the defense."
Chiefs Report Card vs Buffalo from KC Star
Player of the Game
Cornerback Sean Smith's 100-yard interception return not only altered the game, but could turn out to be the highlight play of the season for the Chiefs.
Reason to Hope
This team keeps finding ways to win week after week by any and every way possible.
Reason to Mope
This run of good fortune can't possibly continue, can it? The run of backup quarterbacks will definitely end.
KCChiefs.com Video: Postgame With Mitch And Reid: Week 9
KCChiefs.com Video: Chiefs Postgame Press Conference
KCChiefs.com Video: Locker Room Celebration After Week 9 Victory
KCChiefs.com Video: Week 9: Chiefs vs. Bills Highlights
KCChiefs.com Video: WK 9 Can't Miss Play: 100-Yard Pick Six
NFL.com Video: GameDay: Kansas City Chiefs vs Buffalo Bills Highlights
Worst 9-0 Team Of All-Time? Get Real! These Chiefs Aren't Even Close from FS Kansas City
The Andy Gang was outgained by a margin of 470-210, out-first-downed by a count of 25-15 and outrushed by a gap of 241-95.
Ah, but remember what we said after Week 2's win over the Cowboys? Go to the turnover column. Bills 3, Chiefs 0.
In this league, you protect the ball, you win. Simple as that.
Protect the ball for nine straight weeks -- or protect it better than the other guy, week after week -- and you'll get to 9-0. Just like that.
Chiefs Defense Takes Them To 9-0 With Two Touchdowns vs. Bills from Sports Illustrated
The Kansas City Chiefs' defense, so stout and nearly unstoppable for the most part this season, has been surprisingly vulnerable against nondescript quarterbacks over the last three games. Houston's Case Keenum and Cleveland's Jason Campbell were able to make plays in close games until the Chiefs woke up and shut things down. On Sunday, it was the turn of Buffalo Bills rookie Jeff Tuel, starting because of injuries to EJ Manuel and Thad Lewis, to see what he could do.
Chiefs' Defense Gets Ripped, Burned AndGashed, But Still Wins Game from FS Kansas City
The more we look at this Chiefs' defense, the more it reminds us of the great Chiefs' defenses of the 1990s. Those defenses often could get exposed, but they also came up huge when needed, especially in terms of game-changing turnovers.
This Win Proves KC Lucky As Well As Good from ESPN
"We make mistakes while we're in there,'' said linebacker Tamba Hali, who in the fourth quarter scored Kansas City's second defensive touchdown of the day. "We blow coverages. There's a lot that happens but we just focus on the positive. Sometimes things are going their way and we just keep playing and [then] things happen to go our way. Our guys are just strong-minded men.''
Football purists might not like Hali's answer but it better captures what's happening with the Chiefs than any other reasoning. The Chiefs won't be able to get away with leaving receivers open in the end zone in their next game against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, the following week against Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers or in the subsequent game, a rematch against the Broncos.
Recap: Chiefs Stay Perfect With 23-13 Win Over Bills from The Associated Press via FS Kansas City
Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith was exhausted after he returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown.
"I was definitely happy I made it," Smith said. "I wanted to celebrate, but I was too tired."
That's fine, because the Chiefs are suddenly breathing easier after their defense kept Kansas City's perfect start intact.
Rapid Reaction: Kansas City Chiefs from ESPN
The once-productive pass rush continues to be ineffective. The Chiefs, who lead the NFL with 36 sacks, failed to get to Buffalo rookie quarterback Jeff Tuel. The Chiefs tackled as poorly as they have all season in allowing more than 200 rushing yards to C.J. Spiller and the Bills. Dexter McCluster dropped a deep pass when he was uncovered and could have scored a touchdown. Rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper was beaten deep for a touchdown in the first half by Marquise Goodwin, but made up for it in the fourth quarter when he punched the ball lose from T.J. Graham. Tamba Hali recovered the fumble and returned it for the touchdown that put the Chiefs ahead 20-13.
Kansas City Chiefs Player Has The worst Dropped Pass Of The Year While Wide Open from The San Francisco Chronicle
On K.C.'s final drive of the first half, they could have had points if it wasn't for this awful dropped pass by running back Dexter McCluster.
Locker Room Buzz: Kansas City Chiefs from ESPN
The Chiefs didn't lose anyone to injury. Last week against Cleveland they didn't lose any of their front-line players, but rookie defensive lineman Mike Catapano, a backup who played mostly on special teams, suffered a high ankle sprain that kept him out against the Bills.
Kansas City Chiefs Turn Game Around With Turnovers from The Rochester Democrat And Chronicle
They allowed a running back on a still-gimpy left ankle to rush for 116 yards on just 12 carries, their offense produced zero touchdowns and barely 200 total net yards, and they trailed for more than 21 minutes.
A reincarnation of the juggernaut 2007 New England Patriots they are not.
Yet the Kansas City Chiefs are just fine with who they are.
Big Defensive Plays Save The Day For 9-0 Kansas City from ProFootballTalk
In the end, though, the Chiefs' defense won the battles it needed to win for Kansas City to stay undefeated. Yes, the Chiefs were probably fortunate to face the Bills in Tuel's first NFL start; after a nice start, Tuel completed just 18-of-39 passes for 229 yards.
Still, there's something to be said for teams that make plays when they are there to be made. The Chiefs did it Sunday, and they won the game.
Bills Can't Protect The Ball In Loss To Chiefs from BuffaloBills.com
With a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start against the number one defense in the league in points allowed, sacks and third down Buffalo had a shot at handing the 8-0 Kansas City Chiefs their first loss of the season. For the second straight week turnovers proved costly. All three of Buffalo's turnovers led to 17 points for the Chiefs in a 23-13 win over the Bills.
Chiefs Bills Recap: Winning Ugly Works from Warpaint Illustrated
For those critics still knocking the Chiefs for narrowly defeating the Bills on a day they didn't play their best, they still won the game and that's the big stat nobody can ignore.
By winning on Sunday, the Chiefs move a game and a half up on Denver. With the bye week next weekend, they have two weeks to get ready for their Primetime showdown against the Broncos.
Before you go there don't even think it. I'm convinced all this madness to this point of the season, the Chiefs will play their best game of the year in facing their most heated division rival. I say that because what's at stake. If the Chiefs win, they'll be in the AFC West driver's seat and the race for home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
You can expect the same sort of banter this week. The Chiefs escaped Buffalo with a 23-13 win to move to 9-0 on the season, but it hardly had the style points that so many experts crave in analyzing a perfect record.
The Chiefs were horrible on offense, mustering an ugly 210 total yards. Jamal Charles - the only real stud playmaker on this squad - finished with a pedestrian 90 yards, making you wonder how Andy Reid's team survived.
It's called defense.
Chiefs merchandise has been flying off the shelves this season, and they've been so red hot that some suppliers have run out of the color red.
The amount of gear available at the Rally House has doubled since last year. At least two brands may not be able to make red shirts for the season because they've run out.
Two Big Mistakes Undermine A Game Performance By Bills from The Buffalo News
Marrone and Hackett crafted an offensive game plan - directed by undrafted third-string quarterback Jeff Tuel - that produced 470 yards against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs.
They dialed up a long-bomb touchdown to speedy Marquise Goodwin early in the game to make the Chiefs play more honest against the run.
The Buffalo Bills not only rolled up 241 rushing yards, they held the NFL's No. 1-ranked pass rush without a sack.
The fact all that wasn't enough to produce a victory left the Bills sick.
Saunders: NFL's "Flex" Schedule Changes Face Of Broadcasting from The Denver Post
Sunday remains the most-watched television night. And never forget audience ratings are transferred into network dollars.
I've looked back at some of the "flex" moves since the policy was instituted in 2006 when NBC rejoined NFL coverage after a seven-year hiatus. Moving the Nov. 17 Broncos-Chiefs in Denver from CBS's lineup to NBC's is arguably the most significant move since the flex policy was instigated.
Why The Undefeated Chiefs Can't Sustain Run from USA Today
Looking ahead on the schedule, two games against Denver (7-1) within the next month will likely end an undefeated season.
But the Chiefs don't have to be undefeated to be successful. As long as they're consistent and play fundamentally-sound football, they can make a run in the playoffs.
Bills Drop Game To Undefeated Chiefs from The Rochester Democrat And Chronicle
If not for the Buffalo Bills' innate ability to defeat themselves, the Kansas City Chiefs would no longer be unbeaten.
But because the Bills managed to self-destruct on the turf of Ralph Wilson Stadium in most disastrous of ways, the Chiefs left western New York Sunday afternoon with a 23-13 victory and a perfect 9-0 record.
Here is what else we learned:
1. Jeff Tuel completed five of his first seven passes, including a 59-yard bomb for a touchdown. However, it quickly unraveled. He threw high and off-target much of the game. Tuel missed a wide-open Stevie Johnson in the end zone on the Chiefs' pick six. A handful of dropped passes didn't help, either. It's tough to place blame on a young player, but a healthy Thad Lewis wins that game.
"[Tuel] went to throw the ball to his first read and [Smith] just stopped. Just stood there," Hackett said. "Jeff let it go, from what I could tell. He had a couple of other guys, but he was so into, 'got to get it out, got to get it out,' he just threw it. I think he might have thrown it a little bit blind in that situation."
"[Smith] comes off Stevie Johnson. Doesn't cover him. And he was standing right there when he was throwing the ball into the slot," Marrone said. "Either they knew exactly what we were doing, or it was just unbelievable. I haven't seen a lot of that."
"It was zero coverage all out. 100 percent my fault, something I've got to see," Tuel said. "I can't do that."