That sprung C.J. Spiller on a 38-yard run up the middle and set the tone for a physical beat down at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The Buffalo Bills routed the Chiefs the old-fashioned way Sunday, by running all over them on the way to a 35-17 victory.
It was exactly the kind of bounce-back game the Bills needed after their season-opening, 20-point loss in the Meadowlands.
"We would rather be a physical run team that throws it when they have to or throws it on surprise situations," Bills coach Chan Gailey said. "That is what we would rather be. We will continue to work down this path as much as we can.
"I thought our guys were pretty physical coming off the football and we were able to establish the run game extremely well early in the ball game."
The Bills rode their best player - Spiller - to a 21-0 halftime lead. The blowout was 35-3 by the fourth quarter, at which time much of the sellout crowd of 69,402 retreated to postgame celebrations.
Spiller gained 139 of his 170 scrimmage yards in the first half. He finished with 123 rushing yards on 15 carries and 47 receiving yards on three catches. Spiller is averaging 10 yards a carry over the first two games, the first time a back with 25 or more carries has done that since Jim Brown in 1963.
"C.J.'s a stud," said center Eric Wood. "That kid can run."
"Watching C.J. in the open field is such a great thing," quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. "You just sit back there, hand it off and have him get those big chunk runs."
The Bills called 16 runs and 15 passes in the first half, but three of those pass plays turned into scramble-runs by Fitzpatrick for 36 yards.
Even though the Chiefs have five first-round draft picks in their front seven, they have not been dominant against the run. They ranked 26th last year and 14th in 2010, when they weren't decimated by injuries.
"They were a defense that allowed us to have pretty good matchups in the run game out of certain personnel groups," Gailey said. "We wanted to go take advantage of it, so that is what we did."
"Their linebackers usually play pretty close to the line of scrimmage," Hairston said. "They wanted to stop the run. No team wants to get the ball run on them. We were able to impose our will on them today."
The Bills' linemen got up on the Chiefs' linebackers and allowed Spiller to get to the second level of the defense.
Spiller ran 17 yards for a touchdown to cap an 84-yard drive on the Bills' second possession. Tight end Scott Chandler pulled from left to right at the snap, and Johnson and Chiefs safety Travis Daniels both broke hard in Chandler's direction. Spiller cut off left guard through a big alley created by tackle Cordy Glenn and guard Andy Levitre and cruised into the end zone.
"It's kind of misdirection because they think the play's coming with me one way, and it's going out the back door," Chandler said. "But C.J. has freedom there to cut it wherever, so credit him with finding the hole."
Spiller gained 47 of 67 yards on the next scoring drive. The big gainer was the 38-yard run to the Chiefs' 12. Using their three-receiver set, the Bills caught the Chiefs with six defensive backs. Guard Kraig Urbik created a hole, Hairston de-cleated Johnson and Spiller made Daniels whiff.
"Derrick Johnson is a great linebacker," Hairston said. "I was just able to catch a guy in a close space."
A 5-yard toss sweep to the left by Spiller, led by a surprisingly fleet Glenn, put the Bills up 14-0.
A forced fumble by Alex Carrington five minutes later set up the Bills on the Chiefs' 43. Four plays later, the Bills split Spiller out wide, with Stevie Johnson in the slot, and threw their fleet back a receiver screen that he took for 27 yards to the 2. Atlanta had hit several receiver screens on K.C. last week.
"I think that was the only screen we had in [the game plan]," Urbik said. "We knew we were gonna run it once, but I don't know if it was a big point of emphasis."
After a penalty pushed the Bills back, Fitzpatrick hit Chandler on a 10-yard TD strike to make it 21-0 with 3:29 before halftime.
Spiller's runs created more openings in the second half. Fitzpatrick's best throw of the day was a 20-yard laser to Chandler in perfect stride off a bootleg to the right. Chandler turned it into a 43-yard gain.
"The way we're running the ball right now, the way our backs are hitting the hole, the play action's definitely going to open up," Wood said. "You don't expect 43-yard throws on a naked [bootleg]. Generally that's a throw to the flat to keep 'em honest. Obviously, Scott did a great job, but they've got to respect C.J."
"He laid it right in there, and then I have to show off my speed," Chandler deadpanned.
Johnson capped the drive with a 49-yard catch and run on a simple slant pattern for a touchdown. Donald Jones was in the right slot, and Johnson was lined up outside.
"I ran a fade-type route to the outside, both guys ended up going with me and he came wide open," Jones said.
Everything was clicking for the Bills. Their defense had five sacks. Leodis McKelvin returned a punt 88 yards for a touchdown.
For a week, anyway, the Bills gave their fans reason to relax a little.
"Who jumped off the bridges?" asked safety George Wilson. "I would hope nobody's thinking about ending it all after one game. I mean, we do play 16 of them. It definitely feels good to be able to get the winning taste back in our mouths."