The Buffalo Bills will face Kansas City and it happened that the Chiefs were playing the New York Giants in the early game on Sunday. In an effort to figure out Buffalo’s chances against a team that has had recent success against the Bills, attention was paid to the showdown in the Meadowlands. It’s worth noting that the Giants have been bad, posting just one win on the season (at Denver) prior to the game against KC.
The Giants have the 31-ranked defense compared to the 25th-ranked Bills defense while Kansas City entered Sunday as 30th. The Giants have a somewhat worse pass defense (30th) compared to the Bills (21st) while Kansas City is in the same ballpark (28th). The rushing defenses look similar to the passing defenses with the Giants 30th, Buffalo 22nd, and KC 29th. In short, the three teams have fairly comparable defenses with the Chiefs being closer to the Giants than to the Bills.
The Giants have the 25th ranked offense, the Bills the 28th while the Chiefs are miles ahead at fifth. The Giants’ mid-ranked (18th pass attack was well ahead of Buffalo’s dismal 30th, with the Chiefs sitting at 7th. The Giants (25th) were well behind the Bills (15th) rush attack while the Chiefs were in the same general area (12th). While the Bills have run better than the Giants – in the now defunct Taylor era – the Giants have been better at passing and the overall results have been about the same.
On their initial drive the Chiefs set themselves up with 3rd and manageable with a mix of runs and short passes. They converted the first third down on a penalty by the defense (offsides) to negate a sack but the Giants rallied to the receiver on the next third down and tackled him after a 1-yard gain.
The Giants had a nice drive going, helped by a fake punt. They mixed in runs and short passes to move the ball down into the red zone. One of the passes was a floater end zone-type fade pattern to pick up a first down on 3rd and short. In short, the drive looked a lot like one the Bills might put together with Peterman under center. It looked so much like a Bills-type drive that the Giants couldn’t help themselves and got cute with the RB throwing an interception in the end zone to give Kansas City the ball at their own 2-yard line.
Bottom line: dance with the one who brought you.
The Chiefs moved the ball out to 20 in just a couple of plays and racked up first downs. KC ran and passed seemingly at will until the Chiefs, too, decided to get cute. A shovel pass to the tight end somehow went through his hands and a limber defensive tackle made the grab for the INT.
Bottom line: bad things can happen from time to time.
The Giants started off at the KC 25 and had a scoring opportunity when KC dropped the ball defensively, so to speak, and let the RB come out of the backfield with no one between him and the end zone. But the Manning pass was a little low, the RB couldn’t make the grab, and the Giants followed up with a run to nowhere. Manning moved the chains with a scramble, the Giants got three on a first down run, the RB dropped a pass that would have picked up about five, and Manning took a very un-Billsian shot at the end zone on a 3rd and long blitz. They were rewarded with a pass interference that set them up at the 1 and they pushed the pile in for a rushing TD. But then the kicker shanked the extra point.
Bottom line: two steps forward, one step back.
KC started about the 25 and promptly marched to the other side of the field with a mix of runs and short passes. KC definitely likes to get guys open on short routes by moving them out of or through the backfield. Against Buffalo’s weak linebacker unit that approach figures to work well. They also flashed a triple-option play; the QB could have handed it off to a RB moving toward the middle of the field, kept it himself and run up the seam, or throw to the TE by the sideline (which he did). A hustle sack led to a fourth down on 3rd and 5 from about the 37 on a windy day. The Giants gave up a 1st down with a six-yard quarterback scramble—with 2 defenders there to stop him short of the line to gain. KC was flagged for holding (hope for the Bills to get some calls for the constant hold son Jerry Hughes?) and their first down play went nowhere but a pass to the tight end got them 21 and a new set of downs. A 3rd down slant pass was dropped and the Chiefs wound up kicking the field goal.
Bottom line: KC overcame several negative plays to drive into the redzone
The Giants began with a nice run but the wide receiver then dropped an easy pass on a second down receiver screen. KC would have stopped the receiver quickly but probably not before they moved the chains. It mattered as the Giants couldn’t run for a first down on third and 1. Marcus Peters shot in to stop the run and the Giants went three-and-out.
Bottom line: Buffalo can easily match this type of ineptitude, blowing a 2nd and 1 and 3rd and 1.
KC started inside their own 20. A dropped swing pass to the running back put them behind the chains but a second down pass to the tight end gave KC third and 2. Smith took a deep shot that was slightly overthrown to force the punt.
Bottom line: Buffalo’s defense, at least the defense of the first seven games, could force that type of 3 and out.
The Giants got the ball with 1:42 in the half and in position to score before and after the half. They opened with a swing pass for nothing that drained the clock. Another incompletion and the Giants snapped the ball on 3rd down with 1:18 on the clock. The short pass led to a KC timeout and punt.
Bottom line: This is exactly what we’ve come to expect from the Bills and KC will be happy to oblige.
KC was backed up by a special teams foul and had one time out with just under a minute to go from their own 18. Surprisingly, the Chiefs opted to run out the clock and went into the half down 3-6.
Bottom line: This was Bills level gutlessness. Andy Reid generally goes for the throat.
The Giants came out of the half with a couple of runs to set up third and 7. Manning drew KC offsides to get to 3rd and 2 before wasting a time out. When the Giants finally did run the play, the DE dwarf tossed the RT and dropped the RB for a loss.
Bottom line: The third 3-and-out in a row should be familiar to Bills fans.
The Chiefs started with a run and WR screen to move the sticks. The Giants stuffed a run but gave up another first down on a RB screen. The Chiefs made it into Giants’ territory with a combination of runs and short passes. After a run the Giants sat on a screen play and set up third and 10. Smith missed his target (severe wind) and wound up punting about five yards from FG range.
Bottom line: Run, short pass, repeat. It should work against Buffalo’s defense.
Manning broke the 3-and-out streak with a 15ish-yard pass on play action on first down to move the chains and get the Giants to the 25. After a run he took a deep shot that was a bit too close to the sideline. They converted on third and 6 with a drag route to the RB. Manning had all day to throw on a play-action pass but had to check it down to get seven yards. A run and incompletion set up 3rd and long at the 30, and a long pass was negated by offensive pass interference. That pushed the Giants out of field range and forced a 4th and 9 incompletion and a turnover on downs.
Bottom line: The Giants moved the ball but hurt themselves and couldn’t recover a la the Bills.
The Giants had good coverage so Smith ran for six and then threw a short pass to move the chains. Smith finally took a shot to Hill in single coverage and set the Chiefs up just inside the red zone. On the next play Smith handed the ball off to the running back but the slot receiver backed up ready to catch an option pass, something the linebackers will need to be ready for next week. Smith got whacked on 3rd down and the Chiefs had to settle for the tying field goal.
Bottom line: The Bills’ less-than-stellar ‘backers are going to have their hands full against a very patient Chiefs offense.
The Giants started with a running back screen but the back never even looked for it. The runner then dropped a second screen pass, this time going the other way, putting the Giants in third and long. Manning then missed on a crossing route and it was punting time.
Bottom line: The Giants can’t get behind the sticks and recover, kind of like the Bills.
The Chiefs started out with a smoke route to the tight end who was out wide because the defensive back was 10 yards off the line of scrimmage. Look for that next week as well as it was supposed to be a run. Smith missed the tight end on second down and stuffed a third down run to force a punt.
Bottom line: The Chiefs have a good offense but can’t always overcome their own mistakes.
The Giants took over at their own five and pounded it out to the nine before getting the first down on a swing pass, the sort of play the Chiefs had been pounding the Giants with over and over. A good run set up the Giants with second and 1 at the 25 and the Giants moved the chains with another run. Manning rolled out on first down and threw to midfield on a very iffy “catch”. Credit the Giants for quickly running a play to keep the Chiefs from challenging but a hold set them back 10 yards. A stupid personal foul and the Giants had third and forever and punted after a run.
Bottom line: The Giants can’t get behind the sticks, which sounds familiar.
The Chiefs had a nice drive going but then decided to have Kelce try to throw the ball deep out of a tight end screen. It was an interception, just one of those plays where the RB/TE can’t bring themselves to throw it away instead of just lobbing it up for grabs. Don’t look for this play next week.
Bottom line: KC may have gotten the trick play bug out of its system.
The Giants opened with a run and short pass, getting a first down. A first down run play was crushed, putting the Giants behind the sticks again. A second down slant was knocked down and Manning threw an incompletion that wouldn’t have been a first down anyway.
Bottom line: Gifted an interception, the offense went next to nowhere.
A good roll on a punt set up the Chiefs at their own 5-yard line with four minutes to go in a tie game. They ran it out to the 15. After a 1st down run, Smith tried a pass over the middle about 20 yards down the field and was picked when he overthrew the receiver.
Bottom line: The Chiefs set up the Giants in the red zone with 2 minutes to play.
Manning took advantage of the turnover with a slant pass to move the sticks and set the Giants up with first down at the 11. The Giants then tried to make the Chiefs use all of their timeouts, running for a couple on first down and a few more on second down. Instead of just grinding the clock the Giants took a shot at the end zone on third down only to miss the wide receiver badly. The Giants did get the field goal to go up by 3 with 1:38 to go in the game.
Bottom line: The Giants left too much time on the clock by being too conservative.
Smith promptly threw an interception but a (deserved) flag saved the Chiefs. Smith then threw a 32-yard pass to the TE down the seam to get them into field goal range. The refs maddeningly picked up an offensive pass interference flag and the Chiefs had 51 seconds from the Giants’ 30-yard line to move the ball closer. On third and 5 Smith scrambled for a first down, mainly because a defender failed to stop him short of the sticks. The Chiefs got it down to the 11 and took a shot at the end zone but Smith overthrew. Smith tried to scramble for the touchdown and set up the field goal from the 5-yard line to get the game into OT.
Bottom line: The Chiefs moved the ball at will and had no trouble at all getting to the red zone with limited time.
The Giants went on to win in OT, a help to the Bills at the time—though now nearly irrelevant given the third beat down in as many weeks dropped the Bills to 5-5. The Giants and the Bills are roughly even in terms of talent if not record. The Giants won at home on a day with some pretty wicked winds while the Bills will have to go to Kansas City. Still, the Giants’ defense was able to hold up reasonably well all things considered. Like the Giants, the Bills will need to keep the game a lower scoring affair as the team doesn’t have the firepower to trade touchdown for touchdown. The problem for Buffalo is that teams have figured out that the Bills’ linebackers are a complete liability in coverage. The Chiefs like the dink-and-dunk attack that Buffalo’s linebackers couldn’t come close to stopping on the left coast. Look for McDermott to make an actual adjustment, rolling with a 4-2-5 base defense to try to counter the short area option plays.
And hopefully we’ll see a somewhat more aggressive Tyrod Taylor as the shock of his benching will still be relatively fresh in his mind.