As the Kansas City Chiefs played the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night, a miserable game featured four more turnovers lost, several more coverage breakdowns, a potentially serious injury to running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, a career-worst performance by quarterback Patrick Mahomes — and a domination of the home team that puts serious doubt on Kansas City’s postseason chances.
But hey... at least the game was very long.
Here are some who stood out on Sunday night.
Harrison Butker: He’s been perfect this season — but the coach was asking a lot of him to kick it 54 yards into swirling wind and rain. But that kick would’ve been good from 60-plus.
Mecole Hardman: The wide receiver led the Chiefs receivers in the first half with four catches on five targets for 48 yards. He added another five catches in the second half, helping move the chains on some short and intermediate routes that we haven’t seen from him since the Baltimore game. He did short-arm at least one catchable ball — but all-in-all, Hardman showed up and battled against the Bills.
The Lightning: It shut down the Bills’ offense for an hour — and maybe gave some of us hope that the game would be canceled.
Andy Reid: When expectations are this high — and results are this bad — it falls on the leadership to take responsibility and get the team ready to play. The execution was sloppy, the players seemed unfocused and the Chiefs didn’t seem to have many answers. Reid has been through some low points in his career — and he’s found ways to get the team on the right track. But now, he’s got his work cut out for him, facing what we have to hope is this season’s rock bottom. We’ll see what levers he can pull — whether it’s personnel, scheme, motivation or... something.
The Chiefs’ running game: After they ran all over two previous opponents, three Kansas City tailbacks totaled 42 yards. The Bills’ defense played the Chiefs pretty much as everyone expected, taking away everything that was deep. With the new offensive line coming together and Edwards-Helaire coming off of two straight 100-yard performances, we would have expected to see them run all over the Bills. Instead, the second-year running back had seven ineffective carries — and left the game with a knee injury.
Daniel Sorensen: I’m not sure why he’d ever be the only guy in deep coverage on wide receiver Stephon Diggs, but the result was a 61-yard completion. Then — covering tight end Dawson Knox deep — he either lost sight of him or decided to let him go. The result of that play was a 53-yard touchdown. We’re not sure which is worse: his performance — or the fact that he was in position for it to happen in the first place.
The rest of the defense: Zero turnovers forced (that counted), zero sacks, another opposing quarterback with his best game of the season? I don’t even know where to start. They’ve got issues covering tight ends and stopping running quarterbacks. They aren’t getting enough pressure or tackling well enough. They did string together a few stops in this game, but the offense couldn’t capitalize. I guess when both phases of the game are equally bad, you could call it complementary football.
The receivers: The Bills came in with a game plan: to beat up Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill and keep everything in front of their defensive backs. They succeeded in frustrating the two elite playmakers — and injured both of them before the game was over. Hill caught just seven of his 13 targets — and let one go through his hands for pick-six. Byron Pringle caught two passes and Demarcus Robinson had just one — and Josh Gordon wasn’t the spark we hoped, hauling in just one pass in his debut. Mahomes seemed frustrated, checking down and throwing passes away when it seemed no one could get open or make a play.
Patrick Mahomes: I didn’t think we’d see him on this list once this season. This is already his second appearance — and it was worse than the first. In this game, he had three turnovers, a depressing five yards per attempt and more misses than we’re accustomed to seeing from him in a month. Something was very much off about the way Mahomes played on Sunday night. He didn’t seem to be able to grip the ball, didn’t seem to trust his receivers, and couldn’t make anything happen. When his final snap went through his hands — and the Bills ran out the clock — it seemed like a fitting ending to a terrible night.