The Buffalo Bills lead the Kansas City Chiefs 14-7 at halftime, playing an aggressive and physical brand of offensive football. It’s been a frenetic pace reminiscent of a playoff game through two quarters, but the Bills appear to have found a few wrinkles to exploit towards points against the Chiefs’ defense.
Buffalo’s defense has played well, keeping quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the pocket and flocking to Chiefs receivers who continue to struggle catching footballs.
Bills Interim offensive coordinator Joe Brady involved running back James Cook early and often — as a receiver. Through two quarters, Cook has caught all five of his targets for 83 yards and one touchdown, adding 5 carries for 15 yards. While most predicted the Bills would run the ball against the perceived weakness of Kansas City’s defense, it appears they also struggle to contain running backs as receivers.
At the two-minute warning, quarterback Patrick Mahomes was more worried about motioning away the television camera than focusing on the 1st & 20 the offense had to face next. That secret play would net them a five-yard penalty. (Spicy.) Rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice proceeded to make up much of that deficit on the next play.
Allen and Mahomes have each thrown an interception, with Mahomes’ coming early and proving harmless due to the Bills’ inability to steal any points. Late in the second quarter, Allen threw an errant pass off a dead-end scramble, which turned into a half-field march down field to six on the ground by running back Jerick McKinnon.
After that late score by the Chiefs, The Bills were left with 1:19 and no timeouts. What started promisingly, ended in a last-ditch Hail Mary that fell harmlessly to the end zone grass.
At the half quarterback Josh Allen is 14-of-25 for 149 yards with one touchdown and one interception, adding five rushes for 27 yards and another touchdown. Patrick Mahomes has struggled to produce similarly, going 13-of-21 for 130 yards with that one interception.
Wide receiver Stefon Diggs has a total of two catches for seven yards, while Gabe Davis has been completely invisible as a pass catcher. It appears Brady’s plan through the half was to heavily involve the running backs and tight ends as pass catchers to the tune of 11 targets. Conversely, in total Buffalo’s receivers have a total of eight targets — with six going to Diggs.
Interestingly, multiple reporters and analysts made mention of Allen’s interception giving the Chiefs life, while failing to note the same was likely true of Mahomes’ turnover — which preceded Buffalo’s 14-0 lead. You know, momentum. Right?
A shoutout to Tony Romo who noted that the Bills were at a disadvantage due to yet another officiating mistake, this time costing Buffalo precious seconds on the clock. Make it make sense NFL.
Here’s your second-half open thread. Bets are this one comes down to the wire, so enjoy the rest of the game, be kind to all, and Go Bills!