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Chiefs vs. Bills: 8 Observations

Posted Nov 26, 2017

Here are some things that stood out Sunday afternoon against the Bills

The Kansas City Chiefs (6-5) fell to the Buffalo Bills (6-5) by a score of 16-10 Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium.

Here are eight observations from the game:

1. The Chiefs dropped another close one

The Chiefs had a chance to win the game with one final drive.

Trailing by six points with a little more than two minutes remaining, the Chiefs began a drive at their own 14-yard line with no timeouts left. 

The Chiefs ultimately made it as far as the Bills’ 36-yard line, but on third-and-8 with 1:26 left in the game, Chiefs’ quarterback Alex Smith was picked off by rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White, who returned it 63 yards to the Chiefs’ 10-yard line.

At that point, the Chiefs couldn’t stop the clock and the game would end after a couple of kneel-downs.

Consequently, it meant the Chiefs have lost five of their last six games overall, and those five losses have been a combined 27 points.

2. The Chiefs’ defense played well

The Chiefs’ defense held LeSean McCoy—one of the league’s best running backs—to just 49 yards on 22 carries, which is an average of just 2.2 yards per carry. He came into the game ranked eighth in the league with 709 yards rushing, and was leading the league with nine carries of at least 20 yards this season.

McCoy’s 2.2 yards per carry on Sunday was the third-lowest average of his career in games that he had at least 15 carries. Since he entered the NFL in 2009, McCoy leads the league in rushing.

Furthermore, the 16 points allowed by the Chiefs’ defense also makes it the first time under Andy Reid that the team lost a game at Arrowhead Stadium after allowing 17 or fewer points.

3. The Chiefs’ offense struggled, particularly on third down

The Chiefs converted just 2 of 13 third-down opportunities on Sunday, which obviously makes it difficult to sustain a drive and get any kind of a rhythm going.

Quarterback Alex Smith finished the game 23 of 36 for 199 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

After the game, Reid mentioned the slow start and took responsibility for not putting the guys in better positons to make plays.

The Chiefs went three-and-out on their first five drives of the game, converting their first first-down early in the third quarter.

Rookie running back Kareem Hunt finished with 11 carries for 17 yards.

4. Three key guys returned from injury on Sunday, and each made an impact

The Chiefs were without linebacker Tamba Hali, receiver Albert Wilson, and defensive lineman Allen Bailey last week against the New York Giants.

All of those guys played against the Bills on Sunday, and each made a difference.

Bailey was a part of the defensive line that helped shut down McCoy and the Bills’ running game, while Hali’s pressure on Taylor on a second-down play midway through the third quarter, which resulted in a sack from Justin Houston, was a big moment in the game at the time.

Wilson scored the Chiefs only touchdown on the day—a 19-yard scamper on a bubble screen on the first drive of the second half, which everyone was hoping would lead to more second-half success on the offensive side of the ball.

It ended up being the best drive of the day, and a fantastic individual effort from Wilson, who made a few fantastic moves in the open field and now has a career-high three touchdown receptions this year.

5. Reggie Ragland has put together solid back-to-back performances

For the second-straight week, Chiefs’ inside linebacker Reggie Ragland led the Chiefs with nine tackles, which included three-for-loss Sunday against the Bills.

Ragland, who entered the league as a second-round pick of the Bills two years ago, has been a bright spot for the Chiefs’ defense over the past couple of weeks.

Considering he missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury, which led him to being traded to the Chiefs at the end of the preseason, the arrow is pointing up for the former SEC Defensive Player of the Year out of Alabama in 2015.

Last week, Ragland shared a bit of his story and what motivates him to be the player he’s aspiring to be. It’s worth the read.

6. Bills took an early 7-0 lead and never looked back

At the end of the first quarter, Taylor hit rookie receiver Zay Jones for an 11-yard touchdown, which gave the Bills an early 7-0 lead. The drive went 9 plays for 58 yards and took 4:24 off the clock. 

The Bills wouldn’t look back as the Chiefs would never lead on the day.

7. Frank Zombo and Rakeem Nunez-Roches had pretty good days, too

If we’re talking about guys who performed well on Sunday, of which there were a handful, veteran outside linebacker Frank Zombo and defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches should also be in that conversation.

Zombo finished with four tackles, which included two for loss. He had a key quarterback pressure in the second half that led to a Bills’ punt, which gave the Chiefs’ offense another crack at scoring.

But the play from Zombo that most will remember is the one he had on McCoy on third-and-1 midway through the fourth quarter. The play, which began at the Chiefs’ 42-yard line, resulted in a loss of five yards and gave the Chiefs another chance because the Bills were forced to punt. 

Nunez-Roches finished with four tackles on the day.

8. Rookie kicker Harrison Butker set a franchise record

One of the things getting lost because of the Chiefs’ recent struggles is the season rookie kicker Harrison Butker is having right now.

Late in the first half, Butker hit a 45-yard field goal to get the Chiefs on the board at 10-3.

It was his 23rd-straight made field goal, which is a franchise record that was previously held by Pete Stoyanovich (1997-98) and Ryan Succop (2011), who each had 22-straight during their time with the team.

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