For the past two years, one game has always been looked at as the one that got away for the Buffalo Bills, which put the Bills’ playoff hopes on life support. Both of those games were against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Now you can make it three years in a row.
Despite the rain, the Bills and Chiefs exchanged offensive fireworks, but the Bills ultimately lost to Kansas City, 30-22.
Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw for a career-best 291 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins had 6 catches for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns. Bills running back LeSean McCoy added in 101 all-purpose yards and a touchdown.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith was 19/30 for 255 yards and 2 touchdowns, Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin had 9 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown, and Chiefs running back Spencer Ware ran for 114 yards and a touchdown.
For Buffalo, it is two losses within six days, and suddenly going from the #6 seed to the #10 seed and now need help as the season goes on in order to make the playoffs.
Here are some observations from this Bills loss to the Chiefs:
- Watkins went off on the Kansas City cornerbacks Sean Smith and Marcus Peters. Watkins’ stat line of 6-158-2TD was in the first half. Yet, somehow, the Bills went back to forgetting they had Watkins and that Watkins was having a special day. How does this keep happening? Buffalo traded up for Watkins in 2014, yet don’t know how to constantly get him at least 10 targets. It shouldn’t matter how, but Watkins needs touches, he is a generational talent being wasted.
- The Bills defense gave New England’s Tom Brady everything he could handle back on Monday night. Six days later, Smith gets to do what he wants? This defense is not consistent at all, and not just schematically. The Bills were scared of Smith’s mobility, with good reason. Smith ran for 35 yards and several key first downs. However, Smith ran when there were holes as well. The strangest part was Smith’s adjustment to attacking deep on Buffalo. Bills cornerback Ronald Darby finally had his humbling game, giving up 2 touchdowns. Buffalo didn’t take advantage of three passes that should have been intercepted, but also got lucky on a few deep misfires that were close. After their best defensive game of the season, Buffalo put up a dud on that side of the ball.
- The injury to running back Karlos Williams may have altered play-calling. Buffalo likes to run with those two backs, and with Williams out, it caused the Bills to throw it more. Taylor didn’t have the same success as he did in the first half, and Watkins was targeted once, on a high pass. Buffalo can’t afford to throw it 40 times in a game, as they are not built for that.
- Bills head coach Rex Ryan may want to have a chat with the guy who helps look at plays that should be challenged. There were two very blatant plays where Buffalo should have challenged the call and did not. Furthermore, Buffalo lost on the two challenges they DID use. Yes, Ryan deserves some blame, but it was mostly the coaches that are tasked with looking at replays who dropped the ball here. The first instance was when Smith hit Maclin on a deep ball that was a tad under-thrown. However, during the catch, the tip of the football is seen making contact with the ground on the replay. Buffalo did not challenge it, and Kansas City scored to make it 10-7 on the very next play. The second instance, was far worse. With just over two minutes left, Bills wide receiver Chris Hogan caught a pass on second down that was called incomplete. Hogan had caught the football, took two steps, ordered a pizza, took two MORE steps and was tackled. Yet, thanks to
#badrefsan odd call, it was called incomplete (Seriously, they need to fix the rules of “What is a catch?”). However, more baffling was the fact that Ryan was not advised to challenge the obvious screw-up, again. Buffalo lost the ball on downs, and the game after that. Buffalo challenged the spot on the fourth down play because the game was on the line, not that it was a bad spot, Taylor lost the football one yard shy of the marker.
- The Bills no longer control their destiny. Sitting in tenth place, the Bills need some teams to start losing games. Pittsburgh (6-5) is the best wild-card team, Kansas City (6-5) has the head to head, Oakland (5-6) and the Jets (6-5) have a better conference record, and the Houston Texans (6-5) are Buffalo’s next opponent. Buffalo still faces the Jets and Texans, but the Steelers and Chiefs are a legitimate problem.
- The Bills need safety Aaron Williams back, and badly. The longer that backup Duke Williams has to cover tight ends, the worse it will get.
WHAT’S NEXT: Buffalo (5-6, 3-2 AFC East) gets a rare home game in the second half of the season, hosting the suddenly resurgent Houston Texans (6-5, 2-1 AFC South) on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.