It’s halftime of the KC Chiefs’ Sunday afternoon showdown against the Buffalo Bills, and they trail the Bills 13-3 at Arrowhead Stadium. Here is Chiefs beat writer Terez A. Paylor’s quick analysis.
1. The most embarrassing play of Andy Reid’s tenure?
There’s no way around it –– the first-quarter play where Ty Hill and Albert Wilson each ran the same screen route to the same side, and quarterback Alex Smith still threw it incomplete as both of them looked at each other in bewilderment –– was the most embarrassing play of the season ... and maybe Andy Reid’s tenure. Just horrific execution. Blame the coaching. Blame everyone.
2. The offensive playcalling has been terrible
From the press box, it’s clear the Chiefs aren’t surprising the Bills with anything offensively. Buffalo has a bead on most of the Chiefs’ running plays, which is fine when your offensive line is good enough to win 1-on-1 anyway. But the Chiefs’ line has not been that good since September. Patience should be running thin with this group up front. They have to play better and start moving some people. Teams are running a ton of zone against the Chiefs –– not just Cover 2, like Travis Kelce said after the Giants loss –– but the way to get teams out of that is to pound the rock and bleed them to death with a thousand paper cuts. Buffalo’s defense, by the way, gave up 51 points last week to the Chargers. Their linebackers are terrible in coverage, and the run defense has been gashed in their previous three games. The Chiefs’ inability to take advantage of any of this is embarassing.
3. Alex must start trusting his receivers and making plays
Over the first eight games, Smith was playing at an MVP level. He was throwing people open, evading pressure, keeping his eyes up and testing defenses vertically. Where has that been over the last few weeks? The quarterback has to elevate the play of his teammates, and he simply hasn’t done that recently. No excuses.
4. Where’s the pass rush?
The front seven isn’t getting it done in pass-rushing situations. Tyrod Taylor is one of football’s most elusive quarterbacks, but it feels like the Chiefs haven’t gotten close to him all day long. When you can’t rush the passer, you can’t win in this league.
5. The one bright spot
It’s been second-year inside linebacker Reggie Ragland, who has built on a strong performance against the Giants by playing his tail off in the first half against the Bills. He’s been all over the place, playing downhill and packing a wallop when he arrives at the ballcarrier. General manager Brett Veach may have found a steal.