Converting on Chiefs
Kansas City’s defense has dominated third down this year, but it didn’t in the first quarter at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The Bills burned the Chiefs for a 59-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Tuel to Marquise Goodwin with 1:52 left in the quarter. It converted a third-and-9 situation and gave Buffalo a 7-0 lead.
Kansas City entered the game allowing a league-low 37.4 percent conversions on third down and had allowed just 9 percent conversions on third-and-9 or longer.
Key plays: Tuel hit Robert Woods for an 18-yard gain to start the TD drive. … The Bills marched 51 yards on their first possession, but Scott Chandler dropped a third-down pass to force a punt. It was the only one of three they failed to convert.
Kyle highlights: Kyle Williams had a fast start, which is routine for the Bills’ defensive tackle. He put a hit on Chiefs’ QB Alex Smith to force a stop on the first third down play. Williams crashed the backfield to flush Smith and cause a sack on the Chiefs’ second drive.
Zebra report: Leodis McKelvin made a bobbing-and-weaving, 89-yard return for an apparent touchdown on the Chiefs’ first punt, but a flag was thrown early on the return. Nigel Bradham was called for an illegal block.
Red zone blues
Both defenses came up with red-zone stops in the second quarter.
The Bills made their stand thanks to a great play by rookie Nickell Robey, who flattened Dexter McCluster for a 2-yard gain on a pass to the left flat at the Buffalo 9. That forced a 27-yard field goal by Ryan Succop.
The Bills advanced to the Kansas City 8 late in the half. But on second down a big blitz by the Chiefs forced a throwaway. Then an on-target Jeff Tuel pass to the middle of the end zone for Robert Woods went incomplete. Woods almost held on but the ball was broken up by Marcus Cooper. The Bills got a 26-yard field goal from Dan Carpenter to take a 10-3 lead.
Key play: A Tuel overthrow for Scott Chandler was intercepted by Keenan Lewis, leading to the K.C. field goal.
Zebra report: Jairus Byrd was called for a 15-yard personal foul penalty after an incompletion when his shoulder grazed the face mask of intended receiver Anthony Fasano. Hard to see how Byrd could have held up, and it wasn’t much of a hit. But that’s the way the game is called these days.
Entertainment: The Penn State band’s halftime performance was outstanding.
End to end
The pivotal play in the game was one for the record books.
Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith intercepted a Jeff Tuel pass at the goal line and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown. It came with 10:58 left and tied the game, 10-10.
The return was not a record against Buffalo. Miami’s Louis Oliver returned an interception of a Jim Kelly pass 103 yards for a touchdown in a 1992 blowout win by the Dolphins in Orchard Park. In the finale of the 2001 season, Miami got a 100-yard interception return for a TD by Brock Marion off a Travis Brown pass.
Smith’s pickoff came at the end of a seven-play, 79-yard march by the Bills.
Key plays: Kansas City got a 41-yard field goal by Ryan Succop with 3:57 left to take a 13-10 lead.
Second-guess: Obviously, the Bills ran a risk by putting the ball in Tuel’s hands at the Chiefs’ 1. Kansas City had stuffed Bills run plays on both first and second down. With a rookie QB starting his first game, the play was a gamble.
Ball control: The Bills held a time of possession advantage of 11:54 to 3:06 in the third quarter. Buffalo also held a yardage advantage of 392-146 after three quarters. But the game was tied.
Turnovers the margin
There’s no magic to the Kansas City Chiefs’ 9-0 start to the season.
The Chiefs have created a league-high 23 turnovers and stand plus-15 on the season in turnover margin after Sunday’s win over the Bills.
The Chiefs got their league-best 11th fumble recovery on the sixth play of the fourth quarter when Tamba Hali scooped up a fumble by T.J. Graham and returned it 11 yards for a touchdown. The score put the Chiefs ahead, 20-13.
“We were out-gained by a ton,” said Chiefs coach Andy Reid. “But the turnovers and the score are kind of the important things. Turnovers, either created or lost, really, that’s what the game came down to.”
Rookie Marcus Cooper forced Graham’s fumble after a short catch over the middle.
Unsung Chief: Dustin Colquitt showed why he made the Pro Bowl last season. He booted a 59-yard punt just before the fumble return to pin Buffalo back at its 13. For the day, Colquitt booted six punts for a net average of a whopping 45 yards.
Zebra report: Buffalo challenged an incompletion for Marquise Goodwin that would have gone for 40 yards to the Buffalo 46. The ruling was upheld. It was a fair decision. It was hard to say Goodwin had possession.