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Chiefs-Bills rapid reaction: grinding it out in Buffalo

The Chiefs’ win against their fellow AFC contender was not flashy, but it proved once again that Kansas City can win in many different ways.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Many times, the Kansas City Chiefs look like the flashiest team in the National Football League — thanks to Patrick Mahomes, the speedy skill-position players and Andy Reid’s creative play-calling.

But they won a key AFC game on a rainy night in Buffalo by being anything but flashy: pressuring the opposing quarterback, winning on both sides of the trenches and running the football hard and fast. When wide receiver Sammy Watkins could not play, Demarcus Robinson led the team in receiving and Byron Pringle came down with arguably the game’s most important catch.

The Chiefs made Bills quarterback Josh Allen uncomfortable for most of the night, and he was unable to find a rhythm until the fourth quarter. Allen had 57 passing yards through three quarters — and while he did score quickly to make things interesting in the fourth, the breakthrough was too late. Chiefs defenders registered five QB hits on Allen.

A week after the defense was gashed by Derek Carr, it allowed a season-low 206 net yards, including 122 passing from a player once considered an early-season MVP candidate.

In order to be successful in the NFL, offensive linemen need reps together to develop chemistry. The Chiefs did not have that luxury ahead of Week 6, with three faces in new positions — veteran Daniel Kilgore earned the start at center, and with Mitch Schwartz unable to play due to a back injury after the first series, second-year player Nick Allegretti entered the game at left guard and veteran Mike Remmers moved over to right tackle. The wide, gaping rushing lanes they created were the best of the season.

But that is only the first part. The running backs need to see and hit those holes — and seemingly running angrier than ever, they did.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire had the most productive game of his young career, and Darrel Williams — whom we project to be most impacted by the Le’Veon Bell signing — had the game-winning score. It simply does not get any better than that.

Of course, the effort was not perfect. Kansas City took too many penalties once again, especially late, and there are issues on special teams to clean up. Letting good teams hang around too long could eventually bite them.

Still, the best teams find all kinds of ways to win; this one took 45 rush attempts.

At the podium, Kansas City players and coaches will say that every game means exactly same, but with wins now against contenders in the Ravens and Bills, they have a leg up on what will be a race for the only bye week in the AFC.

Flashy plays are fun — but a team win after last week’s ugly effort might have been just what the doctor ordered.

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