The Chiefs rolled into Ralph Wilson stadium Sunday afternoon to take on the Buffalo Bills.
Kansas City came into the game riding a perfect 8-0 record, a 4.6 ypg carry average from Jamaal Charles, and the league’s best defense.
This is the polar opposite of Buffalo, who is starting their 3rd QB of the year due to a rash of injuries, a surprising defense led by rookie Kiko Alonso, and who has a losing record, but has been in every game they have played.
Some considered this a trap game for KC, and it started out looking that way. The Chiefs eventually got the victory thanks to Ryan Succop's leg and some great defensive scores, leading them to their first 9-0 start since 2003.
Let's take a look at 5 things we learned from today's game.
1. The Chiefs can overcome adversity.
Buffalo didn't come out intimidated and led the game at halftime.
The bills were ready for Jamaal Charles and held him to 43 yards rushing until the 4th quarter.
Alex Smith was efficient, but most of the passes he did throw were directed at Dwayne Bowe, who has shown signs of coming out of his shell.
Bowe caught seven passes for 167 yards, making him the catalyst for the passing game.
The Bills punched the chiefs in the mouth and gave them all they could handle. The Chiefs had a chance to take the lead with a Leotis McKelvin punt return, but that was called back on a penalty. The bottom line is, good teams overcome bad play, which the chiefs did and rode thier defense to the win.
2. The Bills looked better than expected.
After injuries to EJ Manuel and Thad Lewis, undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel was given the keys to the car.
Despite low expectations, Tuel played well. He looked like he was going to be called on in much of a game manager roll as the game began, but Tuel hit Marquise Gordon for a 59-yard TD pass to put the Bills up 7-0.
Before the touchdown to Gordon, Tuel had thrown another deep pass to TJ Graham, and Graham couldn't come away with the ball.
Although the Chiefs' d-line stifled the bills, CJ Spiller scampered for 28 yards to set up a field goal at the end of the 2nd quarter, which gave the Bills a 10-3 lead at half.
3. The Bills are better than their record shows.
The Bills played well. They outplayed KC in the first half, and save turnovers had a chance to win this game.
CJ Spiller finished with 12 carries for 116 rushing, while Jeff Tuel was surprising in the passing game despite the game tying pick-6
Buffalo's defense held the chiefs in check most of the game, Jamaal Charles rushed for 90 yards but most of those came in the 4th quarter when the Chiefs were running out the clock.
The Bills may have solved part of the KC equation--stopping Jamal Charles and forcing Alex Smith to try and make plays gives a better chance to win. As for the Chiefs defense, saying they are really good is an understatement.
After watching the game, I would expect the Bills to play the upset darlings as the season wears on. I like what I see from Buffalo--it finally seems they might be on the path back to respectability.
4. KCs defense can win games (and that’s the mark of great teams)
Kansas City's defense won this game for them hands down.
The Chiefs were down by 7 in the third quarter, the game had been hard fought defensively, and Buffalo was threatening in the red zone.
Sean Smith of the Chiefs stepped in front of a Jeff Tuel pass and took it 100 yards on a pick-6.
At this point the game was tied at 10, until Tamba Hali returned a fumble for 11 yards and a touchdown.
This put the Chiefs up for good, and they promptly used Jamaal Charles to run down the clock for the win.
The Chiefs look scary good on defense, and if they stay healthy, will be a force as the season wears on.
5. November 17th is shaping up to be a matchup for the ages.
For those of you who don't know, this is the date that KC travels to Denver in what could be the matchup that sets home field advantage for the playoffs.
The sharp contrast of the two styles will be what will make the game great--KCs conservative offense and stifling D vs Peyton Manning's up tempo air show.
The Chiefs and Andy Reid have earned my respect so far this season; they should be commended for a great first half.
I'm going out on a limb here and saying, if KC can figure out how to stop Denver and then keep the wheels on the rest of the year they will go deep in the playoffs.
I guess what I'm predicting is, that whoever wins the Nov 17th game represents the AFC in the Super Bowl.