There weren’t many highlights to review from the Chiefs’ 16-10 loss to the Bills on Sunday, but one development represented progress.
Wide receiver Albert Wilson returned to action after missing most of the past month dealing with knee and hamstring injuries, and he provided a glimmer of hope for a sagging offense.
Wilson caught three passes for 36 yards during the game. Alex Smith’s first four attempts to the fourth-year pro were off-target, including a screen pass in which Wilson and Tyreek Hill wound up running to the same spot.
But Wilson made the most of first reception since Oct. 19. On the first drive of the third quarter, the Chiefs finally strung together some first downs and reached the Bills’ 19.
Wilson lined up in tandem with Demarcus Robinson on the left side. Smith took the snap and got the ball immediately to the trailing Wilson for the 100th reception of his career.
“We do a good job when we get the ball in our hands early,” Wilson said, “and receivers do a good job blocking.”
In this case, Robinson put an effective block on cornerback E.J. Gaines, the former Fort Osage High and Missouri standout, clearing space for Wilson to do the rest. A nice cut at the 10 allowed Wilson to reach the end zone.
The Chiefs hadn’t been there since the third quarter of their Nov. 5 loss at Dallas, a span of eight quarters. The score cut the Bills’ lead to 13-10, and for the first time in the game the Chiefs had momentum.
It would be short-lived. Buffalo kicked a field on its next possession and the day’s scoring was over.
Wilson’s return brought a spark but not a victory.
“Great to be back out there, but we didn’t get the job done, so it takes away from that feeling,” Wilson said.
Wilson also recalled his contributions to the outcome.
“I came in in the first half and had two drops,” Wilson said. “I have to give (Smith) a better look, try getting him in a rhythm early.”
The same could be said for everybody on the offensive side. The Chiefs’ 236 total yards was their lowest output of the season, and it occurred against a team that had surrendered 101 points in its previous two games.
With 16 receptions in his first five games this season, Wilson was off to his best start of his career, an underneath threat to complement Hill and Chris Conley.
But Conley was lost for the season with an Achilles injury in the Chiefs’ fifth game and Wilson missed three of the next five games. It’s no coincidence that Smith’s production decreased in their absence.
“Any time you have that trust there, it’s nice to have it on the field,” Smith said before the Bills’ game. “Certainly he’s a play-maker for us.”
Smith proved prophetic with Wilson’s touchdown.
Now, it’s a matter of getting the entire offense back on track. Small steps first.
“Get one first down at a time, and I think our offense will get back to where it was,” Wilson said.