Game Recap: Chiefs Defeat Bills, 30-22, Win Fifth Game in a Row from The Mothership
The Chiefs opened the third quarter with the ball and took their first lead of the game on a 15-yard touchdown reception by tight end
Travis Kelce, his fourth of the season. That made the score 21-16 Chiefs.
With the Bills in control of the ball, linebacker
Tamba Halisacked Taylor, who fumbled, and defensive tackle Dontari Poerecovered the ball to give the Chiefs great field position. Cairo Santosadded a 49-yard field goal off the turnover to extend the lead to 24-16.
The Bills fired back with a 10-yard touchdown reception by RB LeSean McCoy. Buffalo then attempted a two-point conversion, but Chiefs linebacker
Frank Zombosacked Taylor to keep the game at 24-22 Chiefs.
Chiefs vs. Bills: 10 Observations from The Mothership
1. Chiefs fall behind early, fight back
It was a different kind of win on Sunday for the Chiefs, at least in comparison to what we've seen from them during this winning streak.
Over the previous four games, the Chiefs outscored their opponents 64-9 in the first half.
After one quarter of play on Sunday, they trailed the Bills 10-0.
What happened after that is a tangible example of the toughness and leadership that Chiefs coach Andy Reid has praised about this team since training camp.
Defense Responds in Second Half to Lead Chiefs to Victory from The Mothership
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins is one of the league's finest up-and-coming talents, and through one half of football on Sunday, he sure showed it.
As the Bills headed into the halftime locker room with a 16-14 lead over the Kansas City Chiefs, Watkins had already recorded 6 catches on 9 targets, 158 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns.
It truly appeared like the Chiefs defense didn't have an answer for the former first-round pick, but then something strange happened.
Watkins finished with that exact stat line.
He was completely shut out in the second half and the Chiefs came back to win, 30-22.
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The Chiefs have saved their season with a bond that did not break from The Kansas City Star
The Bills led 10-0 after the first quarter, and the cold and the rain and injuries to Justin Houston and Eric Fisher made it hard not to think about the Chiefs generally being good with a lead and lousy from behind.
But they just kept making plays. Alex Smith threw deep, Jeremy Maclin made terrific catches, Hali beat his man for the strip sack, Johnson beat blockers and stuffed the run, Spencer Ware continued to run as hard as any back in the league, and Travis Kelce beat and ran away from a cornerback on a particularly spectacular play.
They were, to put it another way, the kinds of plays the Chiefs have consistently failed to make in games they've consistently failed to win in the past. This is a break from character, and for fans who've put up with far too much letdown over the years, much welcomed.
Make it five in a row: Chiefs beat Bills 30-22 from The Associated Press via FS Kansas City
The Kansas City Chiefs kept ignoring questions about the playoffs all week, even though Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills really was a matchup of wild-card contenders.
It's going to be harder to ignore the postseason chatter now.
Alex Smith threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns, Spencer Ware ran for 114 yards and another score, and the Chiefs beat the Bills 30-22 for their fifth straight victory -- one that solidifies their spot in the playoff chase with five games left in the regular season.
Chiefs OLB Justin Houston suffers knee injury against Bills from Chiefs Digest
The Chiefs medical staff took to the trainer's table before taking him inside. Houston was observed grimacing in pain walking down the steps to the locker room area, and later declared him as out.
But the good news is Houston's injury doesn't appear to be a tear in the knee.
"It looks like it's the same thing that he had before," Reid said. "So we'll see how he does by tomorrow, see how he feels and go from there."
With Houston out of the lineup, the Chiefs turned to Frank Zombo, who finished the game with four tackles (three solo).
Injuries take Chiefs off-script, but they beat Buffalo anyway, 30-22 from Chiefs Digest
Despite a patched together offensive line the Chiefs came back from a 10-point, first-quarter deficit to beat the Buffalo Bills 30-22 and push Kansas City's record to 6-5 on the season. It was the Chiefs fifth straight victory and improved their chances of finding a spot in the AFC playoffs with five games left in the regular season.
Somehow, the resilient 2015 Chiefs added another chapter to their story about overcoming problems. With dreams of the postseason dancing in their heads, the Chiefs found a way to win. There has been a formula to the Chiefs winning streak. It was about not making mistakes, not turning the ball over, winning the field position battle, forcing opponents to giveaway the ball, keeping the offense balanced and playing complementary football with offense, defense and the kicking game working in concert.
Their offense was not merely along for the winning ride this time. The Chiefs needed Alex Smith, Jeremy Maclin, Travis Kelce and Spencer Ware to make big plays to beat the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium. They delivered, and not occasionally, but consistently in the Chiefs' 30-22 victory...
...The Chiefs had been scoring points at a rapid clip during their winning streak, but many of them were off turnovers created by the defense. But the offense had to pull its weight this time, scoring just three points following turnovers on Sunday.
Chiefs down Buffalo 30-22, improve to 6-5 on season from The Kansas City Star
It was cold and rainy, much like the Chiefs' road loss to Oakland a year ago. And a number of key Chiefs — including outside linebacker Justin Houston (knee), left tackle Eric Fisher (head and neck) and center Mitch Morse (concussion) — left the game with injuries, much like their losses to Tennessee a year ago and Chicago in October.
Throw in the fact the Bills jumped to 10-point lead (the Chiefs had not won a game all year where they trailed by that amount) and there were more than a few harbingers of doom.
But these Chiefs, who have bounced back from a 1-5 start , are slowly showing that they should never be counted out. When their backs hit the wall Sunday, they finally got their deep passing game going, finally stiffened on defense and made enough plays late to beat the Bills 30-22 before an announced crowd of 72,493 at Arrowhead Stadium.
Next man up got Chiefs offensive line through victory from The Kansas City Star
Down they went, the Chiefs' offensive linemen. Guard Jeff Allen injured his ankle. Tackle Eric Fisher went down after a helmet crash with an opponent, leaving the game because of neck and head injuries. Center Mitch Morse was next to depart the game because of a concussion.
Had Allen not returned, no telling what the Chiefs would have done. There are seven offensive linemen on the roster.
But they didn't have to find out in a 30-22 victory over the Buffalo Bills. The Chiefs pieced together their line and didn't miss a step. Or a block.
"It was a great feeling to win this game as a team and as an offensive line with all seven getting in their work," said right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.
"I'm proud of those guys, the offensive line, on how they were able to fill in," coach Andy Reid said. "Zach comes in and plays center in a bad weather game and I thought did a heck of a job with the ball security. Then Donald Stephenson comes in and I thought played tremendous football, too."
Quarterback Alex Smith echoed Reid.
"You can't say enough about our line today," Smith said. "Those guys, I mean, with three injuries and guys moving around and playing different positions and still getting it done really speaks to their depth."
Allen, who said after the game he felt fine, believes the chemistry among the group played a key role in Sunday's performance.
Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin arrived at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday to find rain and temperatures in the mid-30s. He expected to spend much of the afternoon blocking for Kansas City Chiefs running backs.
"You think of the elements and how they were outside, and you think of kind of a ground-and-pound game," Maclin said.
The game developed unlike anything Maclin envisioned, and that could eventually be a great thing for the Chiefs. They beat the Bills 30-22 with their offense leading the way.
Jeremy Maclin makes the Chiefs a different team from The Kansas City Star
With the Chiefs' landmark acquisition of receiver Jeremy Maclin in the offseason, they were instantly infused not just with another dimension of offense, but also a certain grit and energy that had been in short supply among his peers.
Ask quarterback Alex Smith about Maclin's broader game, for instance, and he'll point to his downfield blocking and inclination simply to hit opponents when the opportunity presents itself.
"I think it's rubbed off on all those guys," Smith said.
That fire is a particularly distinguishing commodity since it defines him every ... single ... day, from the cauldron of camp to the frigid rain and sleet on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
That's because to Maclin it's "all about being reliable."
Chiefs WR Jeremy Maclin's long receptions headline Week 12 highs from Chiefs Digest
The environment at Arrowhead Stadium rivaled a stereotypical Seattle day: bleak and clammy. The Chiefs' (6-5) offense contradicted the weather and was red hot for the majority of the afternoon, and Kansas City outlasted the Buffalo Bills (5-6), 30-22.
The precipitation and cold weather may have kept some fans home, as Arrowhead was a little over three-quarters full at opening kickoff.
Some moments during the game were enough to make some of the fans' toes warmer, while some others drew surrender cobras. Here are some of the warm moments and the not-so-warm moments from Week 12's matchup.
CB Sean Smith: Buffalo's Sammy Watkins caught six passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, mostly against Smith. But Smith held Watkins without a catch in the second half.
CB Marcus Peters: He missed an attempted tackle on a big Buffalo play, had a holding penalty and dropped a pass that he would have returned for a touchdown.
Angry Chiefs secondary clamps down on Bills WR Sammy Watkins from Chiefs Digest
"Sammy Watkins made some tremendous plays out there," said cornerback Sean Smith, who was on the defensive end of Watkins' touchdowns. "He's an amazing athlete with great talent, and he showed why he is one of the top tier receivers he is today."
Unfortunately for Watkins and the Bills, that production woke up a sleeping defensive secondary at halftime.
And it all started with a simple message among a proud group of defensive backs, all of whom didn't like being shown up.
"We just came in and tightened up," safety Ron Parker said. "With this group of secondary, we got a group of dogs and don't nobody like to see anybody go out there and get dogged."
Chiefs dig deep into running backs, produce more success from The Kansas City Star
The Chiefs were down to the third and fourth running backs on the depth chart, and that usually spells trouble.
For the Chiefs, it meant another 100-yard rushing game.
Spencer Ware, in his eighth career NFL game and first start, powered for 114 rushing yards in 19 attempts in the Chiefs' 30-22 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Ware picked up where Charcandrick West left off, just as West had taken the baton from Jamaal Charles earlier this season.
Spencer Ware, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: At this point, it's clear that you should start whoever is expected to be the Chiefs' No. 1 running back. Charcandrick West missed the game with an injury, but Ware filled in admirably in his first NFL start (19 carries, 114 yards and a touchdown). His 17 points came on the heels of a 21-point effort last week.
Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan questioned the number of replays of controversial calls being shown at Arrowhead Stadium during Sunday's 30-22 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
"That's the first time you don't see any plays," Ryan said after the game. "I think there's a league rule that you need to usually get to see some. Maybe I'm wrong on that."
5. Kansas City Chiefs (6-5): The Chiefs continued to roll, posting their fifth straight win Sunday at home against fellow AFC wild-card contender Buffalo. Equipped with a cotton-soft schedule the rest of the way, Kansas City is in prime position to lock up a postseason bid down the stretch as it holds tiebreakers over most of their closest competitors.
Bills' decision not to blitz backfires vs. Alex Smith from The Buffalo News
No two game plans are the same, they say. Each quarterback demands a different approach.
That's perfectly fine.
It's just that the Buffalo Bills probably didn't envision a rain-drenched, icy-cold Arrowhead Stadium resembling a tropical paradise for quarterback Alex Smith. He could've cracked open a Corona on his beach of a pocket this 30-22 win. After flustering Tom Brady for stretches last week, the Bills didn't register a single quarterback hit on Smith, who went a cool 19 of 30 for 255 yards with two touchdowns and another 35 rushing yards Sunday.
Despite the success vs. Brady, despite missing two stalwarts up front, coach Rex Ryan decided to let his front four rush and sit back in coverage throughout the game... and Smith still found cracks in Ryan's defense.
Bills anything but ready for ‘playoff game' from The Buffalo News
The Buffalo Bills discovered something about themselves Sunday. It was a harsh and painful revelation, the kind no team wants to believe is true but that this one must accept.
They aren't ready.
Not for what was on the line against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. This was, as the Bills' players said, a "playoff game" because the outcome would go a long way toward determining which of the teams would reach the postseason and which would not. And the only way for the Bills to show their readiness was for everyone, coaches and players, to hold up under the enormous weight of the circumstances.
Rex Ryan, who could never figure out when or when not to pull that red challenge flag out of his pocket, and the rest of the Bills' coaching staff didn't. The Bills' defense, which couldn't handle a third-string running back or Alex Smith's passing or running, didn't. Tyrod Taylor, who was on fire for a half and then struggled with the Chiefs' defensive adjustments in the final two quarters, didn't.
Three up, three down following Buffalo's loss to Kansas City from The Buffalo News
The Buffalo Bills came up small in a big game.
That reality has been ever present throughout the team's 15-year playoff drought -- the longest such streak in North American professional sports. A 30-22 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday moves the Bills that much closer to a 16th straight year of watching the playoffs from their couches.
Here's a look at whose stock is rising and whose is falling after Sunday's game.
Mark Gaughan's matchup winners from The Buffalo News
Andy Reid vs. Rex Ryan
Andy Reid showed again why he's such an outstanding offensive coach. The Chiefs' offensive line was all banged up, and they're without multidimensional superstar Jamaal Charles. Yet Reid mixed plays, used the quick game and squeezed out 413 yards and 30 points against a supposedly good Bills defense. Talk about not asking your players to do things they can't do. He manages QB Alex Smith masterfully. He picked on substitutes (Mario Butler and A.J. Tarpley). He schemed in the red zone with three tight ends. He got 114 rushing yards from a journeyman back who doesn't have much wiggle. He outcoached Rex Ryan. Reid is 155-110-1 as an NFL head coach, and he's 10-10 in the playoffs. Ryan is 51-55 in seven NFL seasons, and he's 4-2 in the playoffs. Reid has a great shot to be in the playoffs this year for the 11th time in 17 seasons.
Tyler Dunne's Report Card: Offensive grades acceptable, defense a failure from The Buffalo News
Grading the Chiefs
A- No Jamaal Charles. No Charcandrick West. No problem. The Chiefs turned to Spencer Ware to spark their running game. Two bruising Ware runs revved their sputtering offense into top gear — the 229-pounder finished a 16-yard run by blasting through Bacarri Rambo and then a 12-yarder by drilling Ronald Darby. Into the fourth quarter, with Kansas City needing to melt clock, he busted free for 35 yards and it appeared Darby wanted no part of him in the hole. That play allowed Andy Reid to melt the clock from 10:01 to 3:25 by the time Buffalo touched the ball again.
Ryan and coaches get schooled countless ways from The Buffalo News
That red object you see flying off the page? It's a flag. I hereby challenge anyone to tell me that Rex Ryan and his staff didn't get their pants coached off by Andy Reid here Sunday.
Unlike Ryan, I'd win the challenge. I don't need to see a replay, or consult some lackey in the press box for confirmation. Anyone who watched that game could see the Bills' coaches got schooled by their K.C. counterparts in a rainy, distressing, 30-22 loss to the Chiefs.
How do I count the ways? Offense, defense, game management, even the post-game interviews, Ryan came out on the short end. The offense, after a fabulous beginning, allowed the Chiefs to take Sammy Watkins out of the game. The defense got shredded by an average offense with a crippled offensive line.
Worst of all, Ryan lived up to his reputation as one of the worst game managers in the NFL.
Take Five by Vic Carucci: Intensity there, but Bills just not good enough from The Buffalo News
Here are how my five takes before the Buffalo Bills' 30-22 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday worked out:
1. Show up for a playoff-like game with playoff-like intensity. Check. The intensity was there. The Bills didn't lose because of poor or uninspired effort. They lost because they weren't good enough in any respect, coaching or playing, to meet the challenge of winning a game with so much on the line. They lost because, defensively, they couldn't handle the frustrating style of play that the Chiefs employ with a super-intelligent quarterback (Alex Smith) who is an exceptional game manager and an extremely dangerous runner, and a scheme that generally causes death by a million paper cuts. They lost because, offensively, they couldn't sustain tremendous first-half momentum. They lost because coach Rex Ryan didn't know when or when not to challenge plays. They lost because they were out-coached on both sides of the ball.
Watkins cites lack of urgency by Bills in second half from The Buffalo News
His disappearing act made no sense at all to outsiders. After a dynamite first half in which he blistered the Chiefs for 158 yards on six receptions with two touchdowns, he was targeted once in the entire second half.
Part of the reason, Watkins said, was that the Chiefs started playing more Cover 2. There was a safety over the top on him more often.
Of course, he was making acrobatic catches. Circus stuff. The highlight-reel plays that render any coverage, any scheme, any plan by a defensive coordinator utterly useless.
"We just need to have more of a sense of urgency on the field," Watkins said. "We have to finish games."
And that was as far as Watkins would mostly go.
Ryan trapped into no challenge on Hogan from The Buffalo News
The play obviously should have been challenged. CBS cut to a shot of Rex Ryan. An assistant in the press box, detached from the sideline madness and with the help of TV monitors, presumably was instructing Ryan what to do.
But stationed at Ryan's left shoulder was team chaplain James Trapp, among the spiciest hotheads when he played defensive back for the Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars from 1993 through 2003.
Trapp, the hood from his parka pulled up, tapped Ryan's arm. Trapp shook his head repeatedly and said, "No, no, no."
Fourth-down analysis: Chiefs 30, Bills 22 from The Buffalo News
Last season, the Bills' fourth-down decisions under former coach Doug Marrone were heavily scrutinized. So this year, The Buffalo News will track each and every fourth-down call made by coach Rex Ryan and his staff.
We'll lay out the situation, what the Times suggests, and our own opinion of what the right call would have been. That will be formed by taking into account variables that the math doesn't always account for - things like weather, quality of opponent and the ever-so-tough to define "momentum" during a game.
Chiefs' Travis Kelce ‘Hit the Quan' after his TD catch from The Kansas City Star
I'm not sure if Vines were created specifically for Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, but it seems reasonable.
Cam Newton probably has a safe lead for NFL touchdown dance of the year since he has help spread the dabbing craze throughout the football world (to everyone from Frank Beamer, to Dabo Swinney, to Chris Berman), but Sunday afternoon certainly provided some worthy competition.
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who has been known for busting out some impressive dance moves in the past, "hit the quan" after scoring against Buffalo.
The Bills are working on a comeback and this touchdown bought them a little closer, so McCoy opened the safe up and made it rain!
Wait, have we seen that somewhere before?
Chiefs Blitz: Q&A about Sunday's 30-22 win over Buffalo from The Kansas City Star
What is the play if (Mitch) Morse and (Eric) Fisher can't go? -@ese_camalone
The line you saw toward the end of the game — left tackle Donald Stephenson, left guard Jeff Allen, center Zach Fulton, right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and right tackle Jah Reid — could work. If Allen, who battled through an ankle injury the entire second half, can't go, the Chiefs will need to make a decision on Ben Grubbs — who hasn't practiced in a long time — and call someone up from the practice squad. Jarrod Pughsley, who had some moments during the preseason, would seem to be a solid candidate as a guard-tackle swing player.
Maiorana: Bills defense flops in key game from The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
Chiefs QB Alex Smith: "Honestly, I can care less what people are saying about me. I've been through that too many times to think twice about it at this point. You're going out there trying to make the best decision, and I'm trying to execute the offense and spread the ball around and take the best matchups."
Chiefs gain edge over Bills in AFC playoff race with fifth straight win from Sporting News
Sammy Watkins won the battle. The Chiefs won the war.
The Bills receiver caught six passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns despite a steady rain falling at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, but it wasn't enough to beat the Chiefs. Kansas City scored a 30-22 victory to gain the upper hand over the Bills for an AFC playoff spot in a crowded wild-card race.