Chiefs run past Bills
The Chiefs and Bills played a physical game in cold and wet conditions in Buffalo Monday afternoon.
And it was the Chiefs emerging with a 26-17 win behind a punishing ground game and a defense that stifled a potent Bills offense.
The Chiefs were highly efficient on both sides of the ball, converting an impressive nine of 14 attempts on third down on offense and holding the Bills to 206 yards.
Kansas City improved to 5-1 while the Bills dropped to 4-2.
The passing game provides electricity and can light up a scoreboard, a fact to which Chiefs fans have grown accustomed in the Patrick Mahomes era.
But running the football will take an opposing team's soul, and that's exactly what the Chiefs did with a smash-mouth approach against the Bills' defense.
With rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire leading the way, the Chiefs ran roughshod over the Bills' run defense, which entered the game ranked a respectable 12th in the league, by producing a season-high 245 yards rushing and a touchdown on 46 attempts. The yardage totals also marked just the fourth time since Reid arrived in Kansas City that the Chiefs topped 200 yards on the ground in a game.
Edwards-Helaire gouged the Bills with 161 yards rushing on 26 carries, averaging a healthy 6.2 yards per attempt. Darrel Williams chipped in with 26 yards and a touchdown on six carries. The scoring run came on a fourth-and-inches play in the second half.
Mahomes contributed 36 yards on 10 carries, while Darwin Thompson totaled 17 yards on three carries.
Monday's performance on the ground showed what the Chiefs can do if they committed to running the football on a consistent basis. And with a run-heavy mentality, the Chiefs controlled the game with a time-of-possession edge of 37:45 to 22:15.
A preview of what's to come? Perhaps, especially knowing newly signed Le'Veon Bell will join the offense soon.
Bell and Edwards-Helaire are set to become an intriguing one-two punch for defenses to consider.
A week after allowing seven explosive plays, defined as 20 or more yards, the Chiefs' defense rebounding in emphatic fashion against the NFL's fifth-ranked offense.
The Bills entered the game averaging 401.8 yards per game, but netted barely 200 against the Chiefs' swarming defense.
Of the seven explosive plays KC allowed last week, six were through the air. The Chiefs put that in the past by smothering the Bills' passing attack and held quarterback Josh Allen to 122 yards passing. Before Monday, the Bills ranked second in the league in passing, averaging 308 yards per game.
Linebacker Damien Wilson paced the defense with six tackles.
The Chiefs' depth on their front five will be tested.
With the Chiefs already down starting left guard Kelechi Osemele, right tackle Mitchell Schwartz left the game in the first half with a back injury and did not return.
The Chiefs began the game with veteran Daniel Kilgore at center in place of Austin Reiter, then had Mike Remmers start at left guard with Osemele on injured reserve. Schwartz's departure prompted Remmers to slide to right tackle and guard/center Nick Allegretti to enter the game at left guard. The personnel shuffling left Reiter and rookie guard/tackle Yasir Durant in reserve.
For the most part, the Chiefs' offensive line did well under the circumstances.
The ground game exploded behind the patchwork front five and Mahomes was sacked just once and hit four times in the game, a week after being sacked three times and hit five times.
But with all the good, the Chiefs could be facing the grim possibility of life without Schwartz, who is widely regarded as one of the NFL's best right tackles, should he be forced to miss significant playing time.
'QUIET' DAY FROM NO. 15
With two touchdown passes in the game, Mahomes now has 91 career touchdowns.
The Chiefs' signal-caller entered the record books yet again, reaching 90 career touchdown passes in his 37th career game. The accomplishment breaks the Super Bowl-era record for the fewest games needed to reach 90 passing scores, previously held by Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (40 games).
Mahomes completed 21 of 26 passes for 225 yards and a 128.4 passer rating. Both TD passes went to tight end Travis Kelce.
Not a bad day at the office at all, but the Chiefs showed Monday against a good Bills defense that they didn't need to win the game with Mahomes' golden arm.
With wide receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring) not dressed because of a hamstring injury, conventional wisdom suggested second-year pro Mecole Hardman would see more action.
Not so. Hardman saw one target and didn't record a catch.
Instead, Demarcus Robinson turned in a season-high five catches for 69 yards to lead the team. Hardman came up with two catches for 46 yards, including a 37-yard grab.
In addition to Schwartz, the Chiefs played most of the game without defensive end Alex Okafor, who left in the first half with a hamstring injury. Okafor previously missed Weeks 2-3 after suffering a hamstring injury in the season opener.