By RANDY COVITZ
The Kansas City Star
Key play: Holding calls on Chiefs guard Jeff Allen and center Rodney Hudson kept pushing the offense deep in its territory.
Key stat: Bills quarterback Jeff Tuel completed five of seven passes for 112 yards, including a 59-yard touchdown bomb to Marquise Goodwin.
Key stat: The Chiefs’ three points in the first half were a season low.
Key play: Chiefs wide receiver Dexter McCluster, all alone at the Buffalo 30, dropped what likely would have been a game-tying touchdown pass with 1 minute left in the first half.
Key play: Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith returned a Jeff Tuel pass 100 yards; instead of Buffalo taking a 17-3 lead, the score was tied.
Key stat: Buffalo had the ball for 11 minutes, 54 seconds and scored just three points in the quarter.
Key play: Cornerback Marcus Cooper forced wide receiver T.J. Graham to fumble, and outside linebacker Tamba Hali recovered it and returned it 11 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
Key stat: Ryan Succop made all three of his field-goal attempts and is 18 for 18 in kicks inside the 50.
It took awhile to get the running game going, but the Chiefs chewed up minutes and yards in the fourth quarter when protecting the lead. Jamaal Charles gained 90 hard-earned yards in 17 carries for a 5.3 average, and fullback Anthony Sherman converted a third-and-1 with his first carry of the season. Still, the long run was 12 yards.
Alex Smith targeted Dwayne Bowe plenty, but there were no big plays by anyone, outside of a 20-yard gain by tight end Anthony Fasano. There also weren’t any mistakes (see Buffalo for what a difference interceptions make). Drops by McCluster and Bowe short-circuited some drives. The offensive line was called for four penalties in the first half but allowed just two sacks against the second-leading sack team in the league.
For the second straight year, Buffalo’s C.J. Spiller was a load for the Chiefs, rushing for 116 yards, including a 61-yarder. Fred Jackson was hard to handle, banging for 77 yards. The Chiefs dared the Bills’ young quarterback to throw the ball, and they sacrificed stopping the run game, allowing 241 yards, the second most of the season.
Two interceptions, including a 100-yard return, says it all. The only bad play was Marcus Cooper and Kendrick Lewis getting burned for a 59-yard touchdown early in the game. The Chiefs were held without a sack for the first time all season, and they didn’t get a hit on quarterback Jeff Tuel.
Ryan Succop made all three of his field-goal tries and had five touchbacks. Dustin Colquitt averaged 45 yards net punting and planted four of his six kicks inside the 20, including a dagger to the Buffalo 3 in the fourth quarter.
Andy Reid takes responsibility for the offensive play-calling, and he needs to dial something up that produces at least one offensive touchdown in a game. A team can’t live on pick-sixes and fumble recoveries alone. But give credit to defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s schemes and the attitude his unit plays with. And 9-0 is 9-0.
Player of the Game
Cornerback Sean Smith’s 100-yard interception return not only altered the game, but could turn out to be the highlight play of the season for the Chiefs.
Reason to Hope
This team keeps finding ways to win week after week by any and every way possible.
Reason to Mope
This run of good fortune can’t possibly continue, can it? The run of backup quarterbacks will definitely end.
The Chiefs will enjoy their bye week and have extra time to get ready for their prime time showdown at Denver on Nov. 17.
To reach Randy Covitz, call 816-234-4796 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/randycovitz.