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Takeaways: Buffalo Bills prove they aren’t contenders in 26-17 loss to Kansas City Chiefs

Not a great look on either side of the ball.

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills lost to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night, and it was a loss on both sides of the ball. The defense was shredded by the running game and the offense couldn’t consistently generate anything.

Here are my takeaways...

How can you call the Bills contenders?

The Bills have now lost back-to-back games to contenders in the AFC. They fall to 4-2 and they’re in the lead in the AFC East, but they don’t have a lot of time to get right against top opponents if they want to make a playoff run. The win against the Los Angeles Rams doesn’t look great after their loss on Sunday night. It wasn’t just that they lost, but they got beat fairly easily in both games in what seems to be a hallmark of these recent Bills teams.

2018/2019 Josh Allen makes a comeback

Overthrowing passes, running for first downs, taking big hits, throwing off his back foot, not diagnosing coverages, designed runs where CBs are bouncing off him, placement issues costing them completions and first downs. It was a vintage Josh Allen performance, and not in a good way. He finished the first half 6-of-16 for 42 yards (1 for 15 on the last play of the half) and he had six rushes for 33 yards. He was 14/26 for 122 yards and two touchdowns before his last-gasp interception, adding 42 yards on the ground. Not MVP. Not good.

Tremaine Edmunds has a bad game

I wasn’t expecting Edmunds to be able to cover Travis Kelce one-on-one. Were you? Still, he was cleanly beat on the first Chiefs’ touchdown of the game. On the Chiefs’ third-quarter touchdown drive, Edmunds couldn’t fill and got lost in the shuffle, opening the hole for the running back to score. So that’s two scores you can pin on Edmunds if you’d like. I won’t ding him for the near-interception at the end of the first half, but that would have been a great play.

Chiefs can’t handle Diggs

On the Bills’ first touchdown drive, Allen audibled to a new play that isolated Stefon Diggs against the Chiefs’ cornerback. Diggs beat the corner and was interfered with at the goal line. Allen eventually found Diggs for this gorgeous TD toe drag.

Later in the second quarter, Allen found Diggs on a crucial third-down conversion just before the two-minute warning. Diggs dropped the ball, but replay clearly showed he had been interfered with twice on the route.

Where was he in the second half? The only guys that could stop Diggs were Allen and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. He had two catches in the second half.

Despite defensive line shuffle, they can’t get the job done

The Bills sat Trent Murphy and Harrison Phillips for the game, hoping to ignite the front four. They elevated Bryan Cox Jr. and Justin Zimmer and the pair made some contributions. Ultimately, the Bills’ front four just got smoked again. Eight yards per carry for Kansas City with 5:40 in the first half and rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire had ten rushes for 94 yards in the first 30 minutes while the Chiefs racked up 7.7 yards per play. CEH finished with 161 yards on 26 rushes and Derwin Thomas 6/26/1 averaged 4.3 yards per carry and Darwin Thompson added three rushes for 17 yards. All-in-all, Buffalo finished with one sack and the Chiefs topped 200 yards rushing.

Bills running game still can’t go

Buffalo’s rushing attack has been so bad this year. Devin Singletary was held to 32 yards on ten carries while Zack Moss ended up with ten yards on five carries. At 2.8 yards per carry, that’s pitiful and it’s not helping the offense as a whole. Singletary added 13 yards on a screen pass. Allen was a focal point of the running game, gaining 42 yards on eight carries.