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Buffalo Bills 17, Kansas City Chiefs 26: Rapid recap and notes

The Chiefs dominated the Bills at the line of scrimmage.

Gassed and slumped, the Buffalo Bills’ defenders vacantly stared at the scoreboard in the closing minutes of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 26-17 win. The Bills, run ragged amid pouring rain against an all-world offensive unit, just weren’t up to the task of stopping the Chiefs. Andy Reid’s complex, fast-paced bebop offense had the Bills out of position time and again—and the Chiefs’ offensive line steamrolled Buffalo’s front seven to the tune of 245 rushing yards.

The Bills’ offense, meanwhile, couldn’t string together drives for much of the day. It started with a three-and-out that consumed seven seconds of clock and gained no yards. Buffalo scored three times, punted four, and missed a field goal on their first eight opportunities. Their last gasp, facing a nine-point deficit with a minute remaining, closed with an interception.

Patrick Mahomes didn’t have his usual 300-yard passing day, but landed daggers where it was needed most. That included a 37-yarder to Byron Pringle, just as the Bills were hoping to close out a drive with no points, trailing 23-17. He made more magic than Allen, at any rate. The Chiefs’ offense rarely hit a speed bump, and comfortably ran up Time of Possession over the Bills, 38 minutes to 22. The scoreboard looks close in this one, but it was effectively a second consecutive beatdown by a winning team against the Bills.

Buffalo’s defense looked listless for most of the day, and need to develop a killer instinct in a hurry. If Matt Milano is the missing link, then put him in a Michelin Man uniform for the rest of the year. And on offense, Buffalo cannot wait any longer to re-sync their unit and bring back Allen’s game-winning confidence.

Luckily, the 0-6 New York Jets loom as the next opponent. If ever there were a perfect tune-up, it would be Adam Gase and Joe Flacco. Even at 4-2, the Buffalo Bills are still first place in the AFC East. The last two weeks were rough, but a reset can get the season back on track.

Injury report

Cody Ford went down with a knee injury in the second half. He was later carted from the sideline to the locker room. Ike Boettger replaced him in the lineup.

Tyrel Dodson suffered a hamstring injury, replaced by A.J. Klein for the rest of the game.

Cam Lewis had a wrist injury and left the game in the first quarter. The plan was for him to replace Taron Johnson in the lineup, but that didn’t work out.

Miscellaneous

  • Talk about game script: the Chiefs ran the ball 46 times, which was the most rushing attempts an Andy Reid team has ever had. More than when he had Brian Westbrook. More than Michael Vick. You get the idea.
  • For an astonishingly long stretch of game, before the Bills started keying in on some tackles for loss, Clyde Edwards-Helaire had rushed for more yards than Patrick Mahomes had thrown.
  • At least one of Buffalo’s adjustments paid off: Justin Zimmer was one of the most disruptive defenders out there. The practice squad tackle had six tackles, including a couple of run stops and a QB hit, and he forced a fumble—but the runner’s knee was down. Had the play stood, it would’ve been a turning point for the game.
  • At one point, we were talking about how easy it would be for Josh Allen to remain the league’s leading passer six weeks into the season. After 122 yards (4.5 yards per attempt), that’s long gone.
  • John Brown, dealing with a knee injury, played—but you wouldn’t have known it on the scorecard. He had four targets, but finished with no catches. After having a catch in every game in 2019, Brown already has two games (this and the Los Angeles Rams) without catches in 2020.
  • Gabriel Davis kept his catch streak alive—barely. He had one catch for seven yards in the fourth quarter.
  • A mixed bag of a day from Tyler Bass. He converted a 48-yard attempt, but badly whiffed his 52-yard attempt that would’ve tied the game at halftime. He did complete both extra points.
  • (Surprisingly) strong day from Corey Bojorquez: four punts, an average of 53.3 yards, all landed in the 20 yard line, no touchbacks, and only two punt returns for two yards. And he did it in a pouring rain.
  • The Bills’ defense is all over the place right now. Most emblematic of that: Taron Johnson. He’s made 42 tackles this year, and has a single pass defense. He’s blitzed 14 times, and has two tackles for loss. This is Buffalo’s second-leading tackler. He’s all over the ball, but not making any positive impact.