Bills Come Close, But Can’t Beat Chiefs

From Arrowhead Stadium

Todd Haley tried to warn everybody all week about the Buffalo Bills. The NFL’s only winless team wasn’t really that bad. They had some talent and they had heart.

And, they proved Haley a prophet Sunday afternoon, pushing the outcome 74 minutes, 55 seconds into the game before Ryan Succop’s 35-yard field goal gave the Chiefs a 13-10 victory.

“That’s progress for the Kansas City Chiefs,” head coach Todd Haley said, as his team went to 5-2 on the season. “I feel strongly that this team took another step in the direction we are going and continuing to make progress.”

That “progress” came with a lot of work, a lot of ups and downs, and a lot of chances for both teams to walk away with a victory. They were just five seconds away from neither team getting a victory, until Succop atoned for a missed FG earlier in the overtime.

“I don’t think I’ve been in a game like that before,” said QB Matt Cassel. “There were so many ups and downs. It was a roller coaster. It’s great to come out of a day like that with a win.”

In fact, the most veteran of Chiefs thinks it was the type of victory that can strengthen a pretender into a contender.

“This is one of those games where you identify the character of your team,” said LG Brian Waters. “We had all sorts of chances to lose today and we came out of this with a victory. Now that’s something to build on.”  

They did it thanks to another afternoon with their winning formula – run the ball, stop the run and don’t turn it over.

It was a huge day for the running game, as they pounded out 274 yards on 45 carries and Jamaal Charles had 177 yards on 22 carries. Charles was the offensive star of the day, as he finished with 238 yards in total offense with his four catches for 61 yards. He had the two longest offensive plays of the game for the Chiefs, a 32-yard run and a 31-yard catch.

Against the run, the Chiefs defense allowed 137 yards, but 43 of that came in the overtime. They did not allow a run longer than 14 yards, and that was by Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.

And, they did not turn the ball over, giving them now no turnovers in the last three games and only four on the season. They finished plus-1 against the Bills, as rookie SS Eric Berry had an interception late in regulation that snuffed out a Buffalo drive.

“I’m tired, but happy,” said DE Glenn Dorsey. “We were prepared to face a good team and they were that. We just made a few more plays.”

This was not a game where the tape will be sent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In the first three quarters, the teams combined for only 10 points. The Chiefs had the edge, with a one-yard scoring pass from Cassel to WR Dwayne Bowe. After half-time, the Bills added a 43-yard Rian Lindell field goal in the third quarter. The score was still 7-3 in the Chiefs favor when the fourth quarter began.

It should have been 10-3 at that point, but continuing in his mode of gambling on fourth down, Haley walked away from a potential 37-yard FG early in the second quarter. Instead, the offense stayed on the field and tried to convert 4th-and-2. Cassel was sacked by Bills DT Kyle Williams and the Chiefs got nothing from the trip into Buffalo scoring territory.

Succop finally got a chance about five minutes into the fourth quarter when he finished p a 12-play drive with a 28-yard field goal that gave the Chiefs a 10-8 lead with 9 minutes, 36 seconds to play.

Up to that point, the Chiefs defense had bottled up the Bills offense. They had gotten after Fitzpatrick with a strong pass rush, especially from OLB Tamba Hali. They had shutdown their running game and Fitzpatrick was struggling to throw the ball. As they began their possession after the Chiefs FG, they had just 133 yards of offense and Fitzpatrick had thrown for just 92 yards.

Starting at their 17-yard line, the Bills offense moved down the field, converting a 3rd-and-5 and then a 3rd-and-8. With just over four minutes to play, the Chiefs defense thought they had the turnover they needed when CB Brandon Flowers knocked the ball out of the hands of Bills WR Lee Evans and OLB Mike Vrabel recovered at the Chiefs 13-yard line.

But Bills coach Chan Gailey challenged the call and instant replay showed that Vrabel’s elbow was down and out of bounds as he pulled the fumble in. Buffalo got to keep the ball and five plays later, on a 4th-and-G from the Chiefs four-yard line, Fitzpatrick hit WR Steve Johnson for a four-yard TD. Haley challenged the call, because replay indicated his knee had hit before he crossed the goal line. The officials disagreed and the TD stood.

Lindell’s PAT kick tied the score at 10-10 with 2: 18 to play in regulation time.

After a touchback on the kickoff, the Chiefs had the ball at their 20-yard line. They were 50 to 55 yards away from getting into Succop’s range for a FG. They had just one time out left, having used one on defense and then losing another on the replay challenge. Cassel threw for seven yards to Bowe and it was time for the two-minute warning.

On 2nd-and-3, Charles ran for two yards, but on third down and only one yard needed to move the sticks, Cassel’s throw to WR Verran Tucker was short. Facing now 4th-and-1 at their 29-yard line, the offense lined up to go for the first down and in fact, Cassel leaped over center and got enough to move the sticks.

But just before the snap of the ball, the Chiefs sideline called a time out. That negated the Cassel run and with more time to ponder his decision, Haley sent the punting team on the field. Dustin Colquitt got off a nice boot of 56 yards down to the Bills 15-yard line, but the coverage allowed WR Roscoe Parrish to get loose and he returned it 33 yards to the Buffalo 48-yard line.

Fitzpatrick moved them 11 yards, but then on a first down throw at the Chiefs 41-yard line with 32 seconds on the clock, he overthrew Evans and Berry picked off the pass and returned it 13 yards.

The Bills won the overtime coin toss and got the first chance to score. It didn’t happen. The Chiefs got their first opportunity. It didn’t happen. On Buffalo’s second possession of the overtime, Fitzpatrick moved them down to the Chiefs 37-yard line. On fourth down, Lindell tried a 53-yard field goal. He made his first kick, but Haley had called for a time out before the snap. On his second attempt, the ball had the distance, but hit the right upright and bounced out.

The Chiefs drove down and reached the Bills 21-yard line where they set up for a fourth down field goal attempt from Succop of 39 yards. His kick had the distance, but a blustery wind that roiled through Arrowhead all day blew it left.

As the clock ticked away, the teams exchanged possessions and finally the Chiefs drove the ball to the Bills 16-yard line with five seconds to play. That’s when Succop came in and allowing for the wind, knocked in a 35-yard field goal to win the game.

The last 30 minutes of the game played out like a Rocky movie, where the teams traded roundhouse punches that staggered each other, but couldn’t get the knockout. They kept coming off their stools in the corner and throwing punches until finally, Succop’s kick ended the fight.

“We took a big step today,” said Haley. “That will be a real big step when you look back at our team. I’m not talking about the standings or any of that. I’m talking about the core of our team that will be a game that a lot of these guys will keep in their mind.”

17 Responses to “Bills Come Close, But Can’t Beat Chiefs”

  • October 31, 2010  - Tim says:

    Jamal Charles basically saved his coach’s ass for that poor coaching call on 4th down early in the game. If we’d have taken the 3 then, we never woulda had to go through that. They can say what they want about winning a roller coaster game & that’s true BUT what’s also true is that they bailed their coach out today. With 274 yds. rushing, this game shouldn’t have been that close. We were out coached.

  • October 31, 2010  - Craig says:

    Good Comment Tim. Go Chiefs!! A win is a win but, I agree bad coaching call. Sometimes you gotta take the high percentage play. This gambling will come to bite us again as at Indie. I know Cassel had the game winning drive but he played poorly doing the regulation time and missed Bowe badly in the first OT possession which should have been intercepted. He took a step back today.

  • October 31, 2010  - Mike says:

    Agreed, Craig, but remember he put a TD pass in Bowe’s hands at the start of the game, which he (surprise!) dropped. Derrick Johnson should have had two INTs.

  • October 31, 2010  - Aloha Ray says:

    I have no problem with the fourth down calls, but I do not understand why we are lining up with 3rd and 1 with no one in the backfield. With our running game we should be at least threatening the run in those situations, and probably handing the ball off.

  • October 31, 2010  - Tenand6 says:

    Aloha— Ditto. Our watch party had the same observation. You have to show run regardless of the play call.

  • October 31, 2010  - Rick says:

    Games are not won or lost in the 2nd quarter. If we had executed and gotten the 1st down, you would have loved the play, but we didn’t so…….

  • October 31, 2010  - Paul says:

    Hey Mike. Bowe didn’t drop the 1st quarter TD. The defender pulled Bowe’s left arm down and he couldn’t get both hands on the ball. At least that’s the way I saw it. Still a great win.

  • October 31, 2010  - Edward says:

    Yeah between Bowe not going up with two hands instead of one trying catch that touchdown pass. Weiss splitting Thomas Jones out wide instead of running him up the middle on that 3and 1 or 2 yard play instead Weis called a pass play where everyone was in the same area where Bills could defend the pass and run by Cassel and yeah that 4th down play when Haley decided to go for it early instead of taking 3pts. I would say Charles saved alot of people from being the goat of the game. Either way Great win for the team. Definately this is a game we wouldn’t have won last yr or previous 3yrs. We’re finally learning how to win games instead of losing them. Which is a sign we’re becoming a good team.

  • October 31, 2010  - Thomas says:

    I agree with the above comments. Haley for the second game this year went after a forth down conversion instead of kicking the field goal and putting points on the board. If a field goal would have been made earlier in the game, we might not have gone into over-time.
    I admire Haley for taking some chances but do it when we have a comfortable lead and not during a close game.
    We sure dodged a bullit and was very “LUCKY”.

  • October 31, 2010  - Nate says:

    The reason bowe went up with one hand for the drop in the end zone was because the defensive back had a hold of his other arm. go watch the tape.
    I don’t know what Charlie Weiss and Todd Haley had for breakfast but as we say up here in the high country, they were both “off their feed” today!

  • October 31, 2010  - el cid says:

    Right Nate, but it was exciting til the end and we won. Just think there are “smarter” ways to approach the game. How many yard did the RBs run for? Should have been a done deal. But we hung on by our teeth to win. Sometimes smarter is better than “the great gambler”, at least on my heart.

  • October 31, 2010  - Michael says:

    I knew the Bills would be a tough one. A pretty
    good team with a bad record. They just don’t know how to put it all together yet.

    The Chiefs are 5-2, and I have zero complaints. I didn’t agree with all thier moves, but I’m not going to say they should have done this or that. They appear to know what to do to win games. I love the personality of this team. They don’t back down from anything, and different parts of the team and different players step up when needed. The D was top-notch. Charles showed again that he is a special player. Cassel was clutch when it counted. The KC crowd was great, and it was a beautiful day in Kansas City.

  • October 31, 2010  - No Trick, Just Treat As Chiefs Get 13-10 OT Victory | Chiefs Football at says:

    [...] GAME STORY: Bills make it tough but Chiefs earn the victory. [...]

  • November 1, 2010  - Tracy says:

    The Bills are a tough out and have been most of the year. Their fans must feel a lot like those of the Titans who saw their team go winless for many games recently.

    We can, and should, question Todd Haley’s gambler’s attitude on 4th down but it keeps things interesting. Going in, he obviously would have been wiser to use any and all opportunities to put points on the board. In the future we may well see a different attitude as he certainly learned as much from this game as we did.

    Nonetheless, the team is 5-2 and looking at a road trip to the Black Hole. The Raiders pose as much a threat as any team KC has played so far so the Buffalo win has a bit more importance than we might have thought a few weeks ago.

  • November 1, 2010  - dan in joplin says:

    So, a 37 yard field goal in that wind is a guaranteed 3 points???? I like going for it, I just wish the PLAYERS would have executed!!! Anyway, it was early in the game and there were a NUMBER of plays that happened after that call. When you are able to run the ball the way we did, we should have won that game easily. There were alot of plays & play calling thruout that game that could have changed the outcome if they were better.

  • November 1, 2010  - el cid says:

    I heard somewhere a HS coach in Arkansas has not kick on 4th down since 1996. Still does not make it a good idea.

    If you say our kicker is so good the ball is going to end up on the 20 anyway, maybe you do not kick. Especially if your defense is good to great. If the weather is effecting what you want to do, maybe you do not kick…..OTHERWISE pucker up and try the FG, 3 points would have made a big difference sunday. Just one game but next sunday we are playing a strong running team with a tough, really tough front 7 on defense (something like 8 sacks in two games, thankfully we do not pass well enough to get that concerned). We will need every point we can score.

  • November 1, 2010  - RW says:

    Going for the first down with less than 2 yards to go has a couple of schools of thought for me.

    School 1: Run the ball with a power blast play and establish turf against the opponent, i.e., win small. Go for it but do something the defense isn’t expecting like a quick slant look-in pass to pick up the yardage. Winning small again.

    School 2: Go all in and throw the ball into the endzone to a WR, RB or TE that has leaked out of the running formation. Winning big. High risk, high reward and all that.

    School 3: Take the FG. Doing what’s expected and living to fight another encounter later in the game when you’re back in the red zone or close to it.

    I think there’s a time and game condition for each school and it depends on the score, quarter, game/weather conditions and finally, the head coach’s gut feeling. Haley’s calls thus far have been, shall we say, interesting to put it mildly.

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