Five things that stood out about the Kansas City Chiefs’ loss to the Buffalo Bills
Can we just fast-forward to January?
You know, save everyone the trouble?
Sunday afternoon’s Chiefs-Bills matchup lived up to its billing, no pun intended, even if you weren’t in favor of the outcome.
The Bills beat the Chiefs 24-20 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Staidum after Josh Allen found Dawson Knox for a 14-yard touchdown with 1:04 to play. Offered 64 seconds to take back the lead, Patrick Mahomes threw an interception on his second snap.
Let’s keep in mind, though, that the Chiefs lost this game a year ago, almost identical timing in the schedule, and won the playoff rematch.
The real impact is not what this suggests about AFC supremacy three months from now but rather that it provides the Bills a leg up on the game that could ultimately determine that.
Because right now, there is not another AFC team that would have competed in this game.
The loss will hurt in the standings, but it shouldn’t affect your feeling of where this season could conclude.
Here are five observations from immediately afterward:
1. The misleading day from the defense
Twenty-nine minutes into the game, the Bills, owners of the top offense in the NFL, had all of three points.
A stat that told an important story, though not the full one.
The Chiefs defense came up with some big plays Sunday, but the Bills dominated the majority of them. And the ones that affected the end of the game.
To be expected, if we’re being honest. The Bills average 440 yards per game, 20 more than any other team.
The Bills finished with 447 yards Sunday, an average gain of 6.4 yards. They gifted the Chiefs a turnover on the first drive and whiffed on two fourth-down plays. And they still outscored the Chiefs.
2. Patrick Mahomes appeared fooled on that INT
Sixty-four seconds to play and the football in Patrick Mahomes’ hands is not the worst spot to be.
The Bills, of all teams, didn’t need that lesson.
But one play into the drive — after a penalty — the Bills got Mahomes. Once with offseason strategy. Once with in-game strategy.
Von Miller was brought to Buffalo in the offseason for games like this one, and he not only had two sacks, he forced Mahomes to roll to his right. Once Mahomes did, he eyed Skyy Moore for the back end of his drag route. Moore had his guy beat, but Mahomes didn’t appear to see Taron Johnson, who darted up for the interception.
3. Why the first INT doesn’t bother me
The interception is a bad decision.
It’s also play that, when Mahomes is your quarterback, you’re just going to have to live with it.
Part of the magic of Mahomes is his ability to create something from nothing — but the rewards aren’t absent the risks. The dice are going to show snake eyes from time to time, but you don’t want him to stop shooting.
And, by the way, this one was nearly a touchdown. Maybe even could have been a touchdown. Marquez Valdes-Scantling had as good of a shot as anyone to make a play on the football, but Bills rookie cornerback Kaiir Elam out-muscled him for it.
4. Gabe Davis ain’t a one-hit wonder.
You’d think the Chiefs would be aware, right?
Gabe Davis was a relative no-name when he stunned the Chiefs for four touchdowns in last year’s playoff game, and if not for those memorable 13 seconds, Davis would have been the story — and out of nowhere.
His breakout games are no longer out of nowhere.
In his first two seasons, Davis didn’t top 600 receiving yards, but he’s already nearing 400 through five games. And he’s still catching touchdowns in Kansas City.
Thanks to some help in coverage.
The Chiefs had success in blitzing Josh Allen in the first half, but with less than a minute to play, they were still leaving rookie cornerback Joshua Williams all by his lonesome. It’s greed that proved costly, when Allen found him on the fly pattern down the sideline for a 34-yard touchdown with 16 seconds to play in the half.
The Bills certainly make life difficult on any secondary — with Diggs on the opposite side — but that’s a particularly tough, and in this case unnecessary, assignment for a rookie cornerback who falls fifth on the depth chart.
Diggs finished with 148 yards a touchdown. Davis had 74 yards and the score.
5. The eventful return of Harrison Butker
Matthew Wright’s record lasted all of a week.
Six days, actually.
A week after Wright, a fill-in for the injured Harrison Butker, set a Chiefs record with a 59-yard field goal at the half, Butker stole it.
In his first game back from a season-opening ankle sprain, Butker drilled a 62-yard field goal that would’ve been good from 72. How confident was he? After striking the ball, he turned his back and began strutting toward the opposite end zone.
The Chiefs probably would’ve entered the game unbeaten had Butker not missed time — the kicking woes made the difference in the loss in Indianapolis.
But it wasn’t a perfect day. On his next try, Butker sent a 51-yard try left of the inside uprights.