At his first-half rate, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins was on his way to a 300-yard receiving day.
Watkins had caught six Tyrod Taylor passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns. The duo seemed unstoppable.
Until the second half.
Those first-half statistics proved to be Watkins’ final numbers. The Chiefs mixed, changed and disguised coverage, kept the ball for long stretches and took away the Bills’ weapon in a 30-22 victory on Sunday.
“Sammy Watkins made some tremendous plays out there,” Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith said. “He’s an amazing athlete and a great talent. He showed why he’s one of the top-tier receivers.”
But the Chiefs showed why they’ve been terrific on defense during their five-game winning streak. The Bills had 296 total yards in the first half, 119 in the second, primarily because they slowed the passing game.
“We eliminated the explosive plays,” Smith said. “The deep ball was killing us, and we put ourselves in some bad situations. In the second half, that became our main focus.”
Watkins kept winning battles against Smith, and the Chiefs got him help, shading safety Eric Berry in the second half.
“Sean had a rough first half,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “No matter how you put it, it was a rough first half.”
Possession time was another factor.
“We had the ball for only 11 minutes of the second half, so we didn’t have a bunch of opportunities to take those shots unlike the first half,” Taylor said.
Watkins considered it a problem in approach.
“In the second half if we had had more of a sense of urgency and we were more alive we’d have gotten the win,” Watkins said. “We have to be aggressive the whole game.”