A Different Iowa Tight End Hits The End Zone

From Arrowhead Stadium

Coming into the game there was attention on a former University of Iowa tight end, Tony Moeaki. The Chiefs starter and former Hawkeyes star was out for the season with a knee injury and everyone knew his absence was going to hurt the K.C. offense.

After Sunday’s opener, there was another former Iowa tight end in the headlines, a guy that only a true fan of the Hawkeyes could even name. Bills TE Scott Chandler caught five passes, pulled in two touchdowns and ended up the game’s leading receiver in Buffalo’s 41-7 dismantling of the Chiefs and their defense.

“I thought we had something in Scott Chandler that creates something food for us in the passing game,” said Bills head coach Chan Gailey. “I was really proud of him. He deserves it. He works hard.”

Gailey’s plan was obvious from the start. The Bills No. 1 offensive mind wanted to spread the Chiefs defense out. He wanted to see what he could do about creating space in the middle of the defense for his passing game. The running game was not his top mode of attack; it was the passing game with QB Ryan Fitzgerald.

Oh, did that plan work. Hard to say it worked to perfection, but it was more than enough to keep the Chiefs on their heels defensively.

“We just couldn’t seem to get into any kind of rhythm,” said DE Wallace Gilberry. “We did a good job at times, and then we gave a few things up.”

With four receivers on the field, the Chiefs went to their sub-defense. It’s a dime defense (six defensive backs) that’s really a nickel, since S Jon McGraw basically plays a linebacker role. In this situation, it takes off the field NT Kelly Gregg, DEs Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson, OLB Justin Houston and ILB Jovan Belcher. Coming in are Gilberry and DE Allen Bailey, LB Cameron Sheffield, and DBs McGraw and Javier Arenas.

That allowed Chandler plenty of space in the middle of the defense, including a second half touchdown where he ran down the hashmarks and was wide open in the end zone for a touchdown.

“It was bad communication with the defense,” FS Kendrick Lewis said of the score. “It happens. They made a big play on it.”

Gailey thought there were some physical mismatches there for the Bills to take advantage of with Chandler (6-7, 263) and WR David Nelson (6-5, 215). Nelson caught four passes for 66 yards, including a 35-yard play. Combined those two big guys had nine catches for 129 yards and Chandler’s two scores.

“We knew there was a possibility that we could get some of the mismatches that we did have and I don’t really know that we knew they weren’t going to guard me down on the goal line. That’s one of the advantages of being a big guy down there. You’re able to use your body and when (Fitzgerald) puts it right on your body, it’s easy for you.”

Coming into the game, Chandler had caught one pass in the previous four seasons he spent with San Diego, New York Giants, Dallas and Buffalo. One catch for eight yards – it came last year for the Bills against Denver. In the just completed pre-season, Chandler had three catches for 22 yards.

But all the sudden he was making fans of Iowa tight ends forget about Tony Moeaki.

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