Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith lowered his shoulder and steamrolled Buffalo defensive back Aaron Williams in the corner of the end zone.
As Smith scored the game-winning touchdown with an 8-yard run in Sunday’s 17-13 win over the Buffalo Bills, he showed he could dish it out as well as take it.
Smith was sacked six times, hurried 10 times and hit or taken to the ground while throwing at least another half-dozen times by a relentless Buffalo defense made up of five pass rushers who entered the league as first-round draft choices.
But Smith kept bouncing up, completing 17 of 29 passes for 177 yards and rushing for 25 yards, including two critical runs — one for 12 yards that converted on third and 12 and led to Cairo Santos’ first-half field goal, and the other on a read-option for his first touchdown of the season.
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“It’s something we had and it made it nice that we were down in the red zone,” Smith said of the touchdown run, “and coach (Andy) Reid called it the way they were playing us. The end bit on Jamaal (Charles), and with (tight end) Anthony Fasano out there blocking, it really made it happen.”
Nothing really was happening for the Chiefs’ offense through most of the game as they spotted the Bills a 13-3 lead.
Buffalo, ranked eighth overall on defense and eighth against the run, bottled up Charles for a half, forced a fumble by Knile Davis and tied its season best for sacks in a game.
“This is really a good group … they’re good up front, here at their own place,” said Smith, who was last sacked six times last season in a win over Cleveland. “They’ve got the advantage when it’s loud and you can’t use cadence. We put ourselves in some bad third downs … had penalties and sacks and negative plays and put ourselves in third-and-longs, and you’re kind of falling right in their wheelhouse.”
Buffalo entered the game ranked second in the NFL with 28 sacks, including 25 by its front four, so the Chiefs’ pass protectors knew it would be a difficult day. Bills defensive end Marcell Dareus, the third overall pick in the 2011 draft, had three sacks Sunday, raising his total to a career-best 10.
“We knew we were going to get their best shot,” said guard Mike McGlynn. “They came out firing. Lot of blitzes. Out of their bye week, they brought a couple of things that were different from previous games. It was a grind.”
Smith stayed upright enough to complete eight of his last 11 passes, and despite the harassment of the Bills, he did not throw an interception for the fourth straight game.
“It’s what he’s always brought to the table,” said fullback Anthony Sherman. “His toughness, his courage … For him to stay out there and keep slinging it is why he’s one of the leaders on this team.”