ORCHARD PARK, NY – I know I'm in the minority, but I dig it here. Lot of grit in this town, lot of character in a stadium that feels more like the Big 10 than the NFL. I love that the team flags that fly over the stadium are the old, outdated, pseudo-3D helmet flags. And I love that it was cold, rainy, and windy.
This is football, or at least what I think of as football from my childhood. Very 1990s, and I mean that in a good way. On with the reaction:
Chris Owens hadn't played since week five, and his first series was about as bad as you can get. He got shook by Fred Jackson in the open field, giving up a first down on a pass in the flat. Then he was shook by Bills receiver Chris Hogan at the line of scrimmage, giving up an easy touchdown for Kyle Orton after Eric Berry followed the tight end.
Remember when everyone hated Cairo Santos?
Dwayne Bowe played his hind parts off. He tends to get crushed a lot when he's not involved, or drops a pass, so it's only fair to recognize him when he's basically the team's only weapon on offense for three quarters. It's still frustrating to watch him not run every route as hard as he could, or quit on passes too early, but he played hard today.
Bills were coming off a bye, and depending on how nerdy you are, it's always interesting to see how that impacts the game. The Bills seemed to have a great scouting report on the Chiefs, particularly in keying on Jamaal Charles early and unleashing stunt after stunt after stunt with their strong group of pass rushers. The Chiefs' line was either confused or flat-out beat by many of them.
Two interesting nuggets, one on offense, one on defense. It didn't amount to much, but I liked the play design in the second quarter where the Chiefs bunched three receivers to the left and pitched it right to Jamaal Charles. They've been successful with that trips formation, often throwing to Travis Kelce and giving him some blockers with the other two receivers. This particular play was wiped out by a holding penalty, but I like the pitch to the other side with Charles, keeps the defense honest.
Another thing that stuck out was seeing Justin Houston and Tamba Hali rush from the same side a few times. They may have done that a time or two earlier in the season, but I don't remember seeing it this much. Seems like a good wrinkle to show the other side every now and again.
There are fumbles that you can understand, where either a guy is fighting his tail off for an extra yard, or maybe where a helmet comes in and knocks the ball loose. But Davis' fumble in the second quarter just can't happen. Routine tackle, not even directly on the ball. For a guy with fumbling issues, and who's played well enough to earn some run, that just can't happen.
Dontari Poe hasn't had some of the freakish, highlight plays that defined his breakout 2013 season, but he's putting together another good year. He's too much to block one-on-one, and sometimes too much to feel safe with a double team. Touched on this in the Justin Houston column, but Poe and Allen Bailey are doing a really nice job on the interior of the defensive line. At worst, they're holding their blocks and clogging the middle. At best, they're making it really hard for quarterbacks to break the pocket up the middle, creating more chances for Houston and Hali to get sacks.
It's always easy to pick on cornerbacks, both literally and figuratively, I guess, but Ron Parker had a really nice stretch there early in the second half. I know Sammy Watkins is probably playing at less than 100 percent, but the Bills worked hard to get a one-on-one match down the left sideline, on a go route, and Parker ran step for step, inside position, the play had no chance. A few snaps later, he forced the fumble from Brown near the goal line that gave the Chiefs the ball back on a touchback.
Parker made a hell of a play to knock the ball loose, and then the Chiefs were fortunate that Chandler dropped the recovery in the end zone. He also stood up strong on the Bills' drive inside 3 minutes, erasing three potential touchdowns, including 4th down.
Looking forward to watching this one again, but the Bills did a really good job of keying on Charles in the running game and Kelce in the passing game. Andy Reid is always good at getting his guys in positions to make plays, but there wasn't a lot of that against Buffalo.
Incredible play call on the 4th and 1, the misdirection pitch to Charles. Bills were prepped for power football, and the Chiefs led them one way, pitched to one of the game's great playmakers the other way, and, poof. It's gorgeous because it worked, of course, just hope we remember that next time the Chiefs do something out-of-the-box in a situation like that and it doesn't work. Those are usually the times we hear a lot of, “WHY DOES ANDY ALWAYS TRY TO BE SO DAMN CUTE?” stuff.
It probably can't be overstated how overmatched the Chiefs' offensive line was today. My goodness. The Bills are really tough up front, but that was a bloodbath. If the Chiefs have, say, a good offensive lineman they've been benching even after he's back from suspension, they might think about playing him.
Andy Reid was showing off. Sounds like a good column to write. I gotta head downstairs. Talk to you guys soon.