Once again the Bills fought hard against a playoff-bound opponent, but ended up losing 23-10 to the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. By all accounts, the Bills were the superior team; the defense yielded only a trio of field goals to the KC offense, while the Bills outgained the Chiefs 470 total yards to 219. The difference, the reason why were beat were three incredibly costly turnovers that yielded 17 of the Chiefs points including a fumble returned for a TD and a 100 yard pick six. Unfortunately, between mistakes, injuries and bad luck, our young team is having problems sustaining drives and scoring. Here’s the breakdown.
Rushing Offense: A+
It’s amazing what happens with a healthy tandem of Spiller and Jackson. The only question is, why we didn’t run the ball more!! All-in-all the Bills had 241 yards on the ground averaging 6.1 yards a play running the ball almost 50% of the time. Spiller had some monster runs finishing 12 carries for 116 yards (9.7 avg) while Jackson had 16 carries for 77 yards (4.8 avg). The one negative is that Chandler continues to struggle blocking, while the interior of the line cannot generate enough push to move a pile.
Passing Offense: F
I know Tuel is the fourth QB option (behind E.J., Thad and Kolb), but despite some nice deep balls to Goodwin (including a 59 TD bomb), Tuel’s two picks singlehandedly destroyed any chances the Bills had of winning. I respect the Hackett call for a pass on third and one given two unsuccessful run plays, but Tuel totally missed a wide open Stevie and in turn had an INT for 100 yards the other way. T.J. Graham fumbles the ball resulting in a Tamba Hali FR TD! The Bills O-Line yielded no sacks against a solid front 7 of the Chiefs particularly credit is due to Glenn and Pears for holding their own againt Hali and Houston. While Tuel had some pressure at times, he was not under the constant duress some people feared would happen.
Run Defense: A-
Despite the fact that the Jamaal Charles ran for 90 yards (5.3 per carry), the Bills did what they had to keep #25 out of the end-zone and did a nice job containing him throughout the game whether it was Kiko, Kyle, Mario, etc... The Chiefs finished with just 95 rushing yards total with the defense sniffing out run plays all day. Also, the Chiefs were just 3 of 13 on third down conversions.
Pass Defense: A
For a little while I was worried that Bowe was going to run circles on Gilmore all day, but then the secondary held firm. The Chiefs only had 124 yards passing despite completing 65.5% of their passes, although a few timely drops from the Chiefs helped immensely. Aaron Williams stood out with 8 tackles and a pass defended. The Bills pass rush also notched 2 sacks (one from Kiko and one from Hughes), but Eric Fisher had a nice game against Mario Williams. Overall this was 10 times better than their game against the Saints.
Special Teams: B-
The Bills had a good game on special teams with one exception which really brought down the grade. On the plus side, Carpenter was 2-2 for field goals while the coverage units did well against the KC return-men. The negative was a big block in the back penalty against Bradham that negated a Leodis McKelvin punt return TD.
Turnovers aside, the Bills I feel had a great game plan for the day. Marrone’s only problem was that his fourth-string QB could not make the throws or not make mistakes during the game. Marrone will get some flak for not running the ball more. Pettine did a nice job readying the Bills against a Charles-oriented Chiefs offense despite the lack of flashy plays.