Chiefs-Bills: What we learned

The SportsXchange

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- It was a day of many happy returns for the Kansas City defense as the Chiefs stormed back to defeat the Buffalo Bills 23-13 and remain the NFL's only unbeaten team Sunday afternoon at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The Bills, with fourth-string, rookie quarterback Jeff Tuel making his first start, were driving for a score that would have given them a 17-3 lead early in the third quarter when cornerback Sean Smith intercepted a pass at the goal line and returned it 100 yards. Then, early in the fourth quarter, cornerback Marcus Cooper stripped the ball from Bills receiver T.J. Graham, and linebacker Tamba Hali picked it up and ran it in from the 11 to give Kansas City a lead it wouldn't relinquish.

Coach Andy Reid's opportunistic Chiefs had three takeaways that resulted in 17 points as they improved to 9-0 for the first time in 10 years.

The Bills lost for the fourth time in five games and dropped to 3-6.

Buffalo rushed for 229 yards and out-gained the Chiefs, 470 to 210. But they couldn't make up for the turnovers, especially Smith's coast-to-coast pick-6.

"No way was I going to let anybody catch me on that one,'' said Smith, a fifth-year veteran out of Utah. "When I caught that ball, I saw a lot of open space. The quarterback was the only guy really who had a shot at me and I wasn't about to let a quarterback catch me. I'd never have heard the end of it."

Tuel, filling in for injured starter EJ Manuel and injured backups Thad Lewis and Kevin Kolb, took full blame for interception.

"It was 100 percent my fault; it's something I've got to see,'' said Tuel, an undrafted rookie who was 18 of 39 for 229 yards and one score and was intercepted twice. "We've got to finish with a kick no matter what -- whether it's an extra point off a touchdown or a field goal. It's 100 percent on me."

Running back Jamaal Charles once again was the focal point of the Kansas City offense with 90 yards rushing on 17 carries and six receptions for six yards. Quarterback Alex Smith finished 19 of 29 for 124 yards and no scores.

Bills running back C.J. Spiller, back after missing last week's game with a high ankle sprain, had his best game of the season, rushing for 116 yards on 12 carries and catching two passes for 39 yards. Teammate Fred Jackson chipped in with 77 yards on 16 carries and 22 yards on one catch.

What the Chiefs said

"You've just got to take it one game at a time. You can't look ahead. I feel like, in the past, the times that we've had trouble are when we look ahead. We've got Denver coming up. It's going to be a big game after the bye, so we're going to get ready for that.'' -- Defensive end Mike DeVito.

What the Bills said

"Obviously, it hurts. It hurts me, it hurts the guys in that room. I feel for them. I feel for our fans. It's tough. It's a tough one." -- Coach Doug Marrone.

Four things we learned from Sunday's game at Ralph Wilson Stadium

1. Bills running back C.J. Spiller is back to being one of the most electrifying players in the game. A week after sitting out the New Orleans game with a high ankle sprain, Spiller was back in the lineup, making huge plays. He averaged 9.7 yards on 16 carries and added 39 yards on just two receptions. He looked like the dynamo he was last season when he averaged 6 yards per carry.

2. Who cares about style points as long as you win? The Chiefs were outgained by 160 yards and didn't record a sack after averaging 4.5 per game the first eight games. And, still, they won by 10 points, thanks to their dominance in the takeaway-giveaway category. Kansas City didn't turn the ball over and forced three turnovers that they cashed for 17 points.

3. Turnovers and penalties continue to haunt the banged-up, youthful Bills. In addition to giving the Chiefs 17 points, Buffalo hurt itself again with crucial penalties, including a block-in-the-back call against Nigel Bradham that negated an 89-yard punt return for touchdown by Leodis McKelvin.

4. Jamaal Charles can't do it alone. For the first time this season, the Chiefs running back was held under 100 yards from scrimmage (96). Quarterback Alex Smith passed for just 124 yards on 19 completions and was sacked twice. Although Smith's mistake-free approach has served Kansas City well, there's going to come some point where he's going to need to do more and lighten Charles' load.
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