The Kansas City Chiefs maintain their spot in the AFC playoff picture and win their fifth straight to put them at 6-5 on the season. The Chiefs beat the Bills 30-22 at Arrowhead on Sunday.
The Chiefs had a miserable start to this game against Bills where the offense looked bad, the defense couldn't stop Sammy Watkins and even Dustin Colquitt had poor punts. But then ... they turned it all around. The offense turned it on, the defense created two turnovers and a key fourth down stop late in the fourth and even special teams had a good day with Cairo Santos hitting three field goals.
It's a good day to be a Chiefs fan.
This is the Alex Smith the Chiefs need
This tweet is accurate:
Alex Smith is carrying this team. I don't believe it.— Craig Stout (@barleyhop) November 29, 2015
Smith did not have his best game but he had some of his best moments. He finished 19-of-30 for 255 yards and two touchdowns. No interceptions, of course. He had four passes that were over 30 yards and just one of those was a short pass that was broken for a long run (the Travis Kelce catch and run). The others were deep passes to Jeremy Maclin down the sideline. Alex HAS to make those plays more often for the Chiefs to reach their potential, and it seems like he got some confidence and started throwing it downfield. This needs to happen more often.
Additionally, Alex did a great job using his legs, too. He ran the ball several times and made the Bills defense think about that. He's deceptively quick but more importantly he makes smart decisions when it comes to running.
Oh, there's Jeremy Maclin!
He had a strong start to the season (statistically) but then quieted down for a few weeks. He is now back with a monster game against the Bills. Maclin had catches of 32, 37 and 41 yards in the game. Maclin had a huge game, including back to back third down conversions in the fourth quarter. He finished with 160 yards on nine catches.
His first long catch put the Chiefs inside the 10-yard line and that was a questionable one. The refs ruled it a catch and the Bills did not challenge so it went down as a catch but he didn't really catch it. The Chiefs caught a break.
Spencer Ware looks like the real deal
He's not as fast as Jamaal Charles or as shifty as Charcandrick West but he is a football player. He is 5'10, 228 pounds and looks like he loves contact. Once he gets into the second level his momentum is difficult to stop at that size. He finished the game with over 100 yards and a touchdown. He almost had 100 in the second half last week when he came in for West. That's two good games for him.
Injuries are a problem
The Chiefs lost three key players during this game.
LB Justin Houston left the game with a knee injury. He was leg-whipped accidentally by the Chiefs own Ron Parker and left the game and didn't return. It looked like his leg was hit and hyperextended but we'll await the final word from the Chiefs. He was replaced in the game by Frank Zombo.
LG Jeff Allen left with an ankle injury. He was replaced by Zach Fulton. Allen stood on the sidelines and eventually returned to the game in the fourth quarter when Mitch Morse went out.
LT Eric Fisher injured his neck and did not return. He was replaced by Donald Stephenson. Fisher was blocking on a play that went the opposite direction and when he turned around to block he put his head down and got hit pretty good.
C Mitch Morse left with a concussion. Zach Fulton replaced him. This forced Allen back into the lineup at guard. If Allen couldn't come back, what would the Chiefs have done? I have no idea.
The offensive linemen injuries were especially concerning because it left the Chiefs without any backup linemen.
Tamba is as important as anyone during Chiefs win streak
He had a classic TAMBAHAWK situation during the game. He came around the right edge (usually the left) and stripped Tyrod Taylor, which was recovered by the Chiefs. It was a big play where the Chiefs went down and got three points off the turnover but most impressive is the play came when Justin Houston was out of the game.
Tamba now has 5.5 sacks in the last five games. His forced fumble in Pittsburgh was a game changer and so was this one. Tamba has been as important as anyone to the Chiefs defense in the past six weeks.
Great adjustment on Sammy Watkins
He owned the Chiefs in the first half with 158 yards and two touchdowns. KC was covering him most of the time but Watkins was just better. He went up and got it over Sean Smith on a couple of plays and even left Eric Berry a step behind him. He didn't discriminate who he was scoring on. But that was in the first half. The second half was a different story. Watkins had one target and zero catches in the second half. Give the Chiefs coaching staff a ton of credit for the work they did at halftime to contain Watkins.
Week 13: @ Oakland Raiders (Dec. 6, 3:05 p.m., CBS)
Week 14: San Diego Chargers (Dec. 13, 12 p.m, CBS)
Week 15: @ Baltimore Ravens (Dec. 20, 12 p.m., CBS)
Week 16: Cleveland Browns (Dec. 27, 12 p.m., CBS)
Week 17: Oakland Raiders (Jan. 3, 12 p.m., CBS)