Whoever coined the phrase, "Nobody said it'd be easy, they only said it'd be worth it," probably didn't use it to describe the Kansas City Chiefs' 17-13 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, but they might as well have.
The Chiefs trailed 13-3 going into the third quarter, but scored 14 unanswered points in the final 15 minutes of the game to come away with their sixth victory of the season.
"There are games you're going to have like this where everything is not pretty and you have to play through it," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said after the game. "There's a certain toughness that it takes to not only play in the National Football League but to be able to come back from a deficit like that and our guys showed that today.
"They showed real grit there that second half. Nobody hung their head. Nobody was pointing fingers. They were all positive and you just had this feeling that good things were going to happen. We were just hoping we had enough time on the clock to get that done."
In the first half, the Chiefs ran the ball 12 times for 43 yards and quarterback Alex Smith was 9 of 17 for 96 yards.
Grit could be a term used to describe quarterback Smith's play on Sunday.
Smith showed it as he was hit early and often by the Bills defensive line, which Reid had pegged as one of the best in the NFL coming into this game.
The Bills defense had six sacks of Smith on the day, but showing the kind of toughness that's come to define this Chiefs team, Smith didn't waver and led the Chiefs back in the fourth quarter.
"He's a phenomenal leader and he's dirty tough," Reid said of Smith. "He handles everything. He never complains about anything and he's not afraid to get after you but at the same time he's going to build you up. He's like a coach on the field there."
One of the other leaders on this Chiefs offense is fullback Anthony Sherman, who had quite the day himself and was named the offensive captain for this game.
Sherman shared his thoughts on Smith's performance after the game.
"It's toughness," he said. "It's courage. For him to stay out there and just keep slinging it is why he's one of the leaders on this team."
The Kansas City Chiefs visit the Buffalo Bills in week 10 of the 2014 season.
Smith finished the game 17 of 29 for 177 yards through the air with four rushes for 25 yards and one impressive touchdown run.
"You're not going to play games where you always have success and things are always going well," Smith explained. "I thought our guys handled it well. We came in at halftime and there wasn't any panic. We all knew it was one play away from changing the game. I thought defense held us in it all day and special teams coming up with a big play there at the end.
"It's a different type of confidence you get when you win games like this and you keep that momentum going. It's hard to define winning games like this."
After being sacked six times and hit way more than that, Smith said he felt good anyway.
"I'll tell you what," Smith said. "Right now you feel great. You don't feel anything. We have a great group of guys that stick together and these games, they're just sweet when you come out on top."
The play that really jump-started the Chiefs in the fourth quarter was a third-and-16 pass from Smith to receiver Dwayne Bowe, who made the catch on the sideline and was able to pick up 15 yards.
Bowe finished the game with a season-high eight catches for 93 yards.
"I'm proud of him and the year he's having," Reid said of Bowe after the game. "We don't do a ton of deep stuff but he just gobbles everything up that's even near him and I know our quarterback appreciates that."
With more than half of Smith's passing yards on Sunday going to Bowe, the biggest catch and throw between the two was on that third down play because it set up the arguably best play call of the season so far for the Chiefs.
Trailing 13-3 and on fourth-and-1 from the Bills 39-yard line, Reid called a counter pitch that faked the dive to Sherman and pitched it out to Charles on the edge.
Considering the defensive line they were facing and the success they'd had controlling the line of scrimmage for a good portion of this game, the play call was brilliant.
Charles, who had already missed time in the game as he dealt with a "stinger," took the pitch 39 yards for the Chiefs' first touchdown of the game.
"There was no doubt," Charles said of whether or not he was going to come back in after the stinger. "You never count me out. If anything is wrong with my upper body, I'm definitely going to come back in. But there's some things that I can't do like with my lower body because it's the most important part of my game."
Reid spoke of Charles' performance after the game.
"He's a tough kid," Reid said of Charles. "He's not the biggest kid. We forget about that. He runs so stinkin' hard. He's got great vision and he kept those linemen going.
"Then the run game wasn't going very good at the beginning. All I heard was 'Let's just keep working.' Just keep working and good things happened there as it worked out. Jamaal (Charles) kind of leads that. It's great to have his leadership there."
Charles spoke about that fourth down call.
"We figured that they were going to crash," Charles said of the Bills defense. "That was going to be our first short-yardage play and it was successful.
"Get the first down. That's what you're always thinking. Get the first down. But if you can go ahead and get the extra yard after, that's a blessing and it came out successful so I'm just happy that I scored on that play. It was so amazing."
On the defensive side of the ball, Ron Parker may have had the best game of his career on Sunday against the Bills.
Parker was responsible for defensing three of four Bills passing attempts with under four minutes to play in the game and with the Bills having the ball on the Chiefs 15-yard line.
The Chiefs were leading 17-13 and Parker stepped up and made plays in the end zone, along the sideline and anywhere else he needed to be.
But perhaps the biggest play of the game from Parker came on the forced fumble of Bills running back Bryce Brown, who had a lane to the end zone for what would have been a 17-3 Bills lead early in the third quarter.
Parker fully extended and knocked the ball loose from Brown, and the ball rolled out of the back of the end zone for a touchback.
"I thought he had a real good game," Reid said of Parker. "He is relentless. He's the one out at practices diving to bat balls down and that's just how he goes and it's great to see him rewarded with a game like this. That's a beautiful thing."
A lot of Parker's time on Sunday was matched up against the Bills leading receiver, rookie Sammy Watkins, and Parker, who has switched between cornerback and safety this season, wasn't surprised by the matchup.
"We practiced like that all this week," Parker said. "I was following [Watkins] in practice so it wasn't a surprise. It was just the game plan. It was something we had in the game plan and we stuck with it."
Parker's forced fumble was one of two key turnovers from the Bills, who had three on the day.
The other key fumble was when Bills punt returner Leodis McKelvin had the ball knocked away by Anthony Sherman with 10 minutes left to go in the game. Rookie Albert Wilson flew down the field and stood McKelvin up while Sherman knocked it loose and came up with the fumble recovery.
"They trained us to make a big play," Sherman said after the game. "It was a turning point in the game so it was good for the team and we got the [win] so everything's good."
That fumble set up Smith's 8-yard touchdown run that gave the Chiefs the 17-13 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
After that, the defense did its job.
Nobody said it was going to be easy for the Chiefs offense to function against the Bills fierce defensive line on Sunday, and they came through when it mattered the most.
Nobody said it was going to be easy to keep the Bills offense out of the end zone in the four tries they had the ball in the red zone, but that's what the Chiefs defense did. And you know what? It was worth it. The Chiefs have won six of their last seven games.