From Arrowhead Stadium
The numbers jump off the statistical page from Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and Bills:
BUFFALO PASS RECEIVING: Terrell Owens, 2 catches for 15 yards; Lee Evans, 1 catch for 11 yards.
The best tandem of wide receivers that the Chiefs have seen this year were held to three catches for 26 yards. Put the clamps on a pair of receivers like that and a defense expects that they’ll be on the winning side in any game.
It didn’t happen as the Bills beat the Chiefs 16-10.
“I’ll have to wait to see the tape,” said CB Brandon Flowers. “Coach (Haley) always talks about hidden yardage, so I’ll be anxious to see where we maybe gave up some hidden yardage. But we really didn’t let those two guys hurt us.”
Owens did score Buffalo’s only touchdown, on a nine-yard pass from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick in the first quarter. He caught just one more pass after that for six yards. Evans did not catch a pass until the second half, that one for just 11 yards.
The Chiefs forced three turnovers during the game, as OLB Mike Vrabel caused a fumble on a sack, CB Brandon Carr pulled the ball out of the hands of a Buffalo tight end and Flowers grabbed a Fitzpatrick pass in the end zone for his third interception of the season.
Not bad for a guy who did not practice on Thursday or Friday and had no clue whether he would play in the game until he woke up Sunday morning.
“I didn’t know what they were going to do with me,” Flowers said. “But I didn’t know until this morning that I was going to play. That’s cool for me, because you don’t’ want to be watching. You want to be out there and helping out your teammates.”
It seems almost silly to say a defense played well after giving up 200 rushing yards, but the Chiefs defense really did play a good game. They allowed just 273 yards in total offense, one of their best performances of the season and a site better than the numbers they’ve allowed in the last three games: 516, 426 and 413 yards.
“I thought our defense played really, really well,” said head coach Todd Haley. “‘We’ve got to do a better job against the run, but I really thought the defense for some of the spots they were put in really fought it out and made a bunch of key, key plays that gave us a chance to stay in the game and gets back in it.”
Vrabel had a sack and a forced fumble, but he wasn’t happy with his or his team’s overall performance.
“We didn’t do a good enough job, obviously,” said Vrabel, speaking specifically about stopping the Bills running game.
Fred Jackson had 99 yards on 20 carries and Marshawn Lynch picked u p 84 yards on 12 carries, including a 47-yard run that went on the ledger as another big play this Chiefs defense has allowed.
But the big plays were not there in the passing game, as they held Buffalo to just 73 yards in net passing, easily their best performance of the season. Vrabel and OLB Tamba Hali had the sacks. Vrabel and CB Brandon Carr caused the fumbles, with NT Ron Edwards and Carr recovering the loose balls. Flowers had the interception. SS Mike Brown led the team with nine tackles.
But when they needed the big play, it was hard to find.
“Once again at the end of the game we just couldn’t come up with the plays to win it all,” said FS Jon McGraw. “It’s frustrating but we’ve got to do what we’ve been doing the last few weeks and that’s keep trusting that we are headed in the right direction.”