An A-Z rewind of the Chiefs’ 17-13 win over the Buffalo Bills and a fast-forward look ahead:
A is for automatic, which rookie kicker Cairo Santos suddenly has become. He converted his 10th straight successful field goal since his initial yips.
B is for Bowe, Dwayne, the Chiefs receiver who had a season-high eight catches for 93 yards, a wacky 23 of which came despite somehow losing the ball twice on one play in the first quarter. He scooped the first one right back up and ran a few more yards before the ground caused the second one, allowing the Chiefs to retain possession.
C is for cheerleaders, none on the sidelines for the Bill as the “Jills” operation has been suspended indefinitely amid a lawsuit over wages.
D is for defense of the Chiefs, which between a forced fumble at their 5-yard line and a goal-line stand at their 3 held Buffalo to just three points on its first two possessions of the half to make possible a comeback from a 13-3 deficit.
E is for extended, the seasonlong streaks of no touchdowns by Chiefs wide receivers and no touchdown runs by opponents. The latter appeared ended as Buffalo’s Bryce Brown was on the verge of scoring before having the ball tomahawked out of his hands by Ron Parker.
F is for fourth-quarter fourth-and-short plays that tilted the game: On fourth and one at the Buffalo 39, Jamaal Charles took a pitch to the end zone for Kansas City. On fourth and one at its own 46 on the next series, Buffalo tackle Seantrel Henderson was nabbed for a false start.
G is for goose egg put up by Buffalo in the fourth quarter as the Chiefs scored 14 points. The Chiefs have surrendered just 28 in the final frame all season and have outscored the opposition 119-63 in the second half.
H is for horrendous pass blocking for Alex Smith by the Chiefs’ offensive line and backs. Smith was sacked six times, hurried 10 and knocked to the ground another half-dozen or so times.
I is for injury to special teams captain Cyrus Gray, who suffered a torn ACL and is done for the season.
J is for Jamaal Charles, who rushed for 98 yards on his last 10 carries after being straitjacketed to zero on his first five. Charles’ 39-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 13-10 and changed the game. “It’s exactly what we needed,” guard Mike McGlynn said. “We needed something quick, and he broke it and put it in the end zone. Gave us the momentum that we needed.”
K is for Kelce, Travis, the tight end who has emerged as the Chiefs best receiving threat but was targeted just twice, finishing with two catches for 19 yards.
L is for long run: Beating the Bills in a toss-up road game after a Buffalo bye was the Chiefs fourth win in a row and sixth in their last seven since an 0-2 start. The playoffs are by no means a certainty, but this team by all appearances is playing better than last year’s group that started 9-0 with the help of a softer schedule and a host of key opponent injuries.
M is for mysteries of the universe: Will running back Knile Davis ever eliminate the fumble-itis rap against him? His fumble Sunday set up the Bills at the Kansas City 31 and could have proven critical, but the Chiefs defense bristled to hold the Bills to a field goal and keep it just 10-3 Buffalo.
N is for never fails, or almost not: The Bills generally outplayed the Chiefs for three quarters, but flubbed multiple opportunities to stomp them out and let them lurk in range instead … and ultimately paid for it.
O is for only one sack generated by the Chiefs, for six yards by Dontari Poe. The Chiefs entered averaging three a game.
P is for Parker, Ron, who broke up three of four Buffalo passes from the Chiefs’ 15-yard line just before the two-minute warning, forced the pivotal fumble earlier and led the Chiefs (along with defensive lineman Allen Bailey) with eight tackles.
Q is for quarterback Alex Smith, who basically was true to his word earlier in the week when he had said he’d rather play in snow than rain. In a chilly drizzle, Smith seemed to have trouble gripping the ball and completed just nine of 17 passes in the first half and 10 of his first 20. But Smith also was under siege, settled in to complete seven of his last nine in the clutch and once again helped the Chiefs win with his legs.
R is Reid, Andy, the Chiefs’ coach who has a better career regular-season record on the road (74-50-1) than at home (73-51).
S is for Sherman, Anthony, who forced and recovered the punt fumbled by Leodis McKelvin that set up the winning touchdown from the Buffalo 26. Two plays later, Smith barged in from eight yards out to account for the final margin.
T is for ten points down and rallying to win, the first time the Chiefs had done that in the Reid regime and first time overall they’d recovered from a double-digit deficit to win since coming back from 18 down to beat New Orleans 27-24 on Sept. 23, 2012.
U is for up next: defending Super Bowl champion Seattle on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. The Seahawks like the Chiefs are 6-3 after beating the Giants 38-17 on Sunday.
V is for Vickerson, Kevin, the Chiefs’ defensive lineman who initially appeared to be the penalty perpetrator on the Bills’ fourth-and-one play but perhaps sold it some on Henderson by energetically gesturing at him.
W is for weather, 42 degrees and raining at game time, which appeared to be a factor in the passing games for both teams.
X is for X-factor: Filling in for Gray, reserve up-back Albert Wilson somehow rocketed nearly 60 yards after the punt to make the initial hit on McKelvin before Sherman knocked the ball loose.
Y is for yards gained in the third quarter, 144-27 in favor of Buffalo.
Z is for zebras, the referees, whose vision apparently only extended to between the lines: At least three times, twice on the Bills, once on the Chiefs, they were oblivious to obvious late hits out of bounds.