The key plays, stats and grades from the KC Chiefs’ 16-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
Player of the game: Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor bounced back from a benching last week in a big way, completing 19 of 29 passes for 183 yards, a touchdown and zero interceptions. He didn’t turn the ball over and did a nice job engineering responses to each of the Chiefs’ two scoring drives.
Reason to hope: The Chiefs still lead the AFC West by one game. The defense also played well enough to win for the third straight game.
Reason to mope: The offense is abominable right now; let’s just call it what it is. The passing offense has been flat, the running game can’t gain traction, and very few concepts are working.
Looking ahead: The Chiefs, 6-5, will try to snap their three-game losing streak on Sunday, when they face the New York Jets at noon at MetLife Stadium. The Jets fell to 4-7 with a 35-27 home loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. They’ve gone 0-2 in their last two games against Chiefs coach Andy Reid, dating back to 2013.
Rushing offense: Entering the game, the Bills’ run defense ranked 24th in the NFL, allowing 119.9 yards per contest. The Chiefs finished with 55 yards in 19 carries, an anemic average of 2.9 yards per carry. Running back Kareem Hunt rushed for 17 yards in 11 carries, while quarterback Alex Smith was the Chiefs’ leading rusher with 35 yards in five carries. The Chiefs never got anything going on the ground because the Bills flooded the line of scrimmage with constant penetration and rarely allowed Hunt to get any momentum going forward. A horrific day against a defense that had allowed an average –– an AVERAGE –– of 213 rushing yards in its previous three games.
Passing offense: Entering the game, the Bills’ pass defense ranked 24th in the NFL, allowing 246.9 yards per contest. Smith completed 23 of 36 passes for 199 yards, one touchdown, one backbreaking fourth-quarter interception and a passer rating of 76.0. He was also sacked twice and hit four times against a pass rush that ranked 29th in the league with 15 sacks entering the game. Receiver Tyreek Hill led the Chiefs in receiving with 41 yards on seven catches and 11 targets. Tight end Travis Kelce caught three passes for 39 yards. An embarrassing performance overall that will only increase calls for the youngster, Patrick Mahomes. Even ESPN analyst Louis Riddick did the latter following the loss, and Riddick –– a former player and player evaluator in the league –– is super level-headed, so that’s saying a lot. Chiefs coach Andy Reid will have to contend with this furor sooner rather than later
Rushing defense: Entering the game, the Bills’ run offense ranked 11th in the NFL with an average of 118.4 yards per contest. The Bills rushed 37 times for 104 yards and zero touchdowns, and running back LeSean McCoy finished with 49 yards and zero touchdowns in 22 carries –– a meager average of 2.2 yards per carry. All things considered, the Chiefs did a great job against the run Sunday … but I don’t give “A’s” in losses, because when you lose, everyone needs to be better. Period.
Passing defense: Entering the game, the Bills’ pass offense ranked 30th in the NFL with an average of 184.4 yards per contest. Taylor completed of 19 of 29 passes for 183 yards, one touchdown, zero interceptions and a passer rating of 94.5. He also rushed three times for 27 yards. The Chiefs sacked him twice and hit him four times, which is decent when facing a player with Taylor’s escapability. Yeah, they could have played better. But they get a passing grade because they played well enough to win. Don’t blame this on defensive coordinator Bob Sutton and company.
Special teams: Kicker Harrison Butker connected on his only field-goal attempt of the day, from 45 yards out. Punter Dustin Colquitt dropped two of his eight punts inside the 20. Akeem Hunt did break a nice 32-yard kick return, but the Bills’ Brandon Tate averaged 10.2 yards on six punt returns, which isn’t good enough.
Coaching: This grade is not a reflection on Sutton or special-teams coach Dave Toub. This has more to do with the offensive staff, which shares some part –– along with the quarterback, receivers and offensive line, of course –– in yet another brutal showing in a loss. As the great Jim Mora might have said, they couldn’t get a first down, they couldn’t run the ball, they couldn’t pass the ball, it stunk. This is Reid’s offense, and it falls on him. Even if he’s dialing up the right plays, guys are breaking open and Smith isn’t hitting them –– which is happening more than Reid would ever admit –– it still falls on Reid, because he chose Smith and it’s his responsibility to coach him and get the most out of his talents.