Thanks to an unusually dominant run game, the Kansas City Chiefs came to a sovereign 26:17 win over the Buffalo Bills in week 6. Rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire paved the way and Patrick Mahomes finally put the lid on it.
In wet and cold weather (10 degrees Celsius), both teams found it difficult to get going, so the Bills only got a 48-yard field goal from Tyler Bass on their second drive. As a result, both teams temporarily picked up speed and scored three touchdowns in a row until the break.
Patrick Mahomes found tight end Travis Kelce on a juke route from the slot in Man Coverage of a linebacker for the first touchdown in the game. The Bills’ answer was arguably their best drive, when quarterback Josh Allen found Stefon Diggs – on a fake shallow route that then became the out route – in the end zone. The Chiefs’ renewed response was a 12-yard touchdown pass to Kelce, who this time was on a simple corner route and Safety Jordan Poyer was simply too late to follow.
Until the break it was again turbulent, as the Chiefs forced a punt near the center line and the Chiefs wasted a lot of time and then lost a fumble by Kelce. The Bills then tried a 52-yard field goal, but Bass forgave the attempt.
After the break, both teams continued to try to achieve success through the running game. While the Chiefs succeeded, Buffalo barely moved. In a seven-minute drive, KC came to what was probably the decisive touchdown at the end of the third quarter – Darrel Williams ran to a 13-yard score at 4th and inches.
Buffalo Bills wake up too late
Two problems came together for the Bills: They couldn’t stop the Chiefs’ run and Allen didn’t pass the game. Either the passes were imprecise or the receivers made drops. In the fourth quarter there were numerous undisciplined defensive actions that led to penalties and made life even more difficult for the Bills.
The Bills shortened after a Chiefs field goal just under six minutes before the end after a quick drive with an 8-yard touchdown catch from Cole Beasley, but then Mahomes took over and put one critical first down after the next and led KC to the decisive field goal after the two-minute warning. Then KC-Safety Daniel Sorensen ended the party with an interception.
Buffalo Bills (4-2) – Kansas City Chiefs (5-1)
Result: 17:26 (3: 7, 7: 6, 0: 7, 7: 6) BOXSCORE
Bills vs. Chiefs – the most important statistics
- Allen’s touchdown pass to Diggs in the first half was Allen’s 15th touchdown pass of the season. He is only the second quarterback ever with 15 touchdown passes and 3 rushing touchdowns in the first six games of a season. The first to do this was Hall of Famer Steve Young.
Patrick Mahomes (21/26, 225 YDS, 2 TD) threw his 90th touchdown pass in the NFL in his 37th game. He breaks the previous record of Dan Marino, who threw his 90th touchdown in the 40th game.
Another Mahomes record: He and Travis Kelce have now made 24 touchdowns together since the 2018 season. That’s most of a QB receiver duo during this period.
The star of the game: Chiefs offensive line
The already weakened O-Line of the Chiefs also lost right tackle Mitchell Schwartz early in the game, for which Mike Remmers took over. And yet the unit dominated the game on the line of scrimmage almost consistently. They hold Mahomes’ pocket together as much as possible, but they excelled in the run game, which was ultimately the deciding factor. Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire led the squad with 161 rushing yards and a phenomenal 6.2 yards per carry, a total of KC ran for 247 yards (5.6 per carry) and thus controlled the game.
Flop of the Match: Josh Allen (Bills)
The game was within reach for the Bills, who largely managed to keep the explosive Chiefs offense in check and largely prevent big plays. But their own offense did not play along. One reason for this was the poor performance of Allen (14/27, 122 YDS, 2 TD, INT), who hardly made a pass over medium and long distances and especially threw deep balls without any touch. At the end he turned it up again, but by then the game was already decided.
Analysis: Bills vs. Chiefs – the tactics board
- The final 1:13 minutes before the break was an example of poor time management on the part of Andy Reid. Instead of pushing the pace after the punt of the bills to score more points, it was a leisurely pace, without any real urgency. Then you also lost a fumble and continued your lethargy defensively: The Bills came within field goal range again because Allen found a completely open Diggs who had no opponent anywhere in sight. The Chiefs played Prevent and withdrew with their defensive backs until shortly before the end zone, so that Diggs could easily get a few yards out. That Bass then missed the field goal from 52 yards was pure luck from Reid’s point of view.
The Chiefs Defense was keen to stop the run through the middle, but without compromising their secondary. Only the front six closed the middle. In addition, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo often showed a good hand with lightning. The tackle for loss by cornerback Bashaud Breeland against Singletary shortly before the break for a considerable loss of space was exemplary. It was noteworthy, however, that you often played Man Coverage against Diggs, which is always risky and was definitely punished.
Offensively, the Chiefs presented themselves surprisingly run-heavy. This often meant that they performed with 12 people and more often put a tight end to the running back than an H-back or fullback to the backfield. And for the most part they actually ran, which the Bills only partially stopped. They were evidently keen to prevent the Chiefs’ deep routes with two deep safetys.
The Bills made it offensively similar, but relied more on 11-Personnel, whereby the robust rookie wide receiver Gabriel Davis was often set up in the backfield, be it as H-Back or fullback, to both in pass protection and also help out in run-blocking. That was certainly due to the fact that the staffing ceiling on tight end was a little thin with the failure of Dawson Knox. The Bills’ run game was not really effective. Only everyone managed to create halfway explosive plays with designed and improvised runs.