Bills, Spiller pin loss on Chiefs

Scott Pitoniak, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- There was a lot of head-scratching when the Buffalo Bills used the No. 9 overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft on C.J. Spiller. With Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch already on the depth chart and a roster full of questions to answer, running back seemed to be the last position Buffalo needed to address.
Two games into Spiller's third season, no one is scratching his head about the pick any more.
Building on last season's strong performances down the stretch and his 169-yard rushing effort in the 2012 opener, Spiller went over the century mark again, scored two touchdowns and set up another with a nifty reception as the Bills rebounded with a 35-17 rout of the Kansas City Chiefs at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The Clemson All-American started in place of the injured Jackson -- just as he had during the final five games of last season -- and responded with 123 yards and two scores on 15 carries and also caught three passes for 47 yards as the Bills evened their record at 1-1.
The Chiefs, who also were spanked in their season opener, dropped to 0-2 and have been outscored 75-41.
"You got to have depth in this game because injuries happen,"' Bills safety George Wilson said. "And C.J. is proving that we've got high-quality depth at running back. He's really stepped it up for us. We're witnessing a star in the making."
Spiller took the burden off Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who bounced back from a three-interception game against the Jets, to complete 10 of 19 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns. More significantly, last year's league-leader in interceptions did not throw a pick against the Chiefs.
"We knew coming into this game we had to be very decisive running," Spiller said. "We had to put our foot down and do what it takes.
"It all starts with preparation. I do the same thing every week: I read hard and run hard at practice. It really is just translating it on Sundays."
Wideout Dwayne Bowe was one of the few bright spots for Kansas City, catching eight passes for 102 yards and two fourth-quarter scores -- one from 33 yards and the other from two. Matt Cassel completed 23 of 41 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns, but much of his yardage came after the game was decided.
As great as Spiller was Sunday, he wasn't the only reason the Bills were able to rebound while the Chiefs' misery continued. Buffalo's much-hyped defense -- bolstered by the addition of high-priced, free-agent defensive ends Mario Williams and Mark Anderson -- bottled up Matt Cassel and company for much of the game. Seven days after allowing the Jets to score 48 points, the Bills recorded five sacks, and forced two fumbles and seven punts.
The Bills took a 7-0 lead on a Spiller's 17-yard touchdown run with 2:01 remaining in the first quarter. Fitzpatrick completed passes of 19 yards to Spiller and 16 yards to Brad Smith and also scrambled 20 yards during the 11-play, 84-yard drive.
Spiller was on the move again on the Bills' next possession, capping a 67-yard march with a 3-yard touchdown run to put them up 14-0 with 12:29 left in the half. Spiller helped set up his score with a 38-yard run to the Chiefs 12.
A Kansas City fumble -- on a sack and strip of Cassel by Alex Carrington and a recovery by Williams at the Chiefs 43 -- set up Buffalo's third score. The TD came on a 10-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to tight end Scott Chandler that put the Bills up 21-0 with 3:29 left in the half. Spiller had a role in setting up that touchdown, too, taking a screen pass from Fitzpatrick 27 yards to the Chiefs 2.
Kansas City finally got on the board on a 33-yard field goal by Ryan Succop midway through the third.
But the Bills responded with two more touchdowns -- a 49-yard catch-and-run by wideout Stevie Johnson and an 88-yard punt return by Leodis McKelvin -- to go up by 32 points.
Kansas City scored its first touchdown with 6:26 left in the game on Bowe's 33-yard reception.
The Chiefs closed out the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown toss from Cassel to Bowe with 1:10 left, but it was too little too late, and now the Chiefs find themselves in a big hole.
"You don't want to have to be playing from behind and I think both weeks that's been our problem,"' Chiefs right tackle Eric Winston said.
Kansas City cornerback Brandon Flowers said it's too early for the Chiefs to panic.
"It's a long season -- it is not a sprint, it's a marathon," he said. "We can turn this thing around and end up 14-2 and we would be the best team and this and that. So we just have to buckle down and turn things around."
NOTES: Fred Jackson (2011), Thurman Thomas (1991) and O.J. Simpson (1973 and '75) are the only other Bills backs to begin a season with consecutive 100-yard rushing games . . . Jamaal Charles, who rushed for 87 yards in the season opener vs. Atlanta, had just three yards on six carries. He had been a Bills killer with 398 yards in his previous four games against Buffalo . . . Bills nose tackle Marcell Dareus, playing a week after his younger brother was murdered in Birmingham, Ala., had three tackles, including a sack . . . The Chiefs were without injured starters Anthony Torbio and free safety Kendrick Lewis. Dontari Poe and Abram Elam started in their place . . . Kansas City's Pro Bowl linebacker Tamba Hali had four tackles in his first game back from a one-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

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