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Big bounce back win for Bills over Chiefs

Posted Sep 16, 2012

It was a resounding rebound for the Bills after their disappointing Week 1 loss as they jumped on the Chiefs early and never took their foot off the gas in a 35-17 drubbing of Kansas City to even their record at 1-1. The victory marked the eighth time in the last nine meetings in Buffalo that the Bills defeated the Chiefs.

Buffalo put together a very balanced effort with a solid run game led by C.J. Spiller’s 123 rushing yards and a pair of TDs, a defense that stuffed the run and got consistent pressure on Matt Cassel and two turnovers. The special teams unit helped as well putting points on the board in the return game.

“The special teams made big plays, the defense made some big plays. We got five sacks,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “Things like that, three turnovers and five sacks you’ll win a bunch of football games you keep doing that. And we can run the football we’ve got a chance to be a pretty good football team before it’s over with.”

The Bills got on the board first as they leaned heavily on the run game to keep the chains moving early. Buffalo ran the ball on each of their first five first downs to start the game. C.J. Spiller was used early and often and was consistent in picking up positive yardage, as Buffalo ran the football on first down the first five times in the game.

“I think we wanted to establish that just being physical and it was working, so that was something you stay with,” said Ryan Fitzpatrick. “Again watching C.J. in the open field is such a great thing to stand back there and hand it off and have him get those big chunk runs. That really gets us going up front too and gives us a lot of confidence so that was good to see.”

Spiller was the featured ball handler on Buffalo’s first scoring drive with rushes on the first two plays for a total of 12 yards. Two plays later he pulled in a 19-yard reception after he was split wide to put the Bills in Kansas City territory. After a 20-yard scramble by Ryan Fitzpatrick to the Chiefs’ 17, and an incomplete pass on the ensuing play, Fitzpatrick handed off to Spiller, who exploited a big hole off left guard and sprinted to the end zone on a 17-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.

With the Chiefs having trouble finding an answer for Spiller, the Bills went to their feature back again. On a 2nd-and-5 from midfield Spiller following a lead block by Chris Hairston, busted a run down the middle of the field for 38 yards before being corralled at the Chiefs’ 13. Spiller would then cap the drive three plays later on a five-yard toss sweep for a 14-0 edge.

“I saw the corner out there and it was almost how we did it in practice. Cordy did a great job of pulling and you’ve got a big guy like that 6’6” or 6’7” pulling running full steam ahead at you and it’s only a little corner out there pretty much so I kind of just read it and he pushed him out and I was able to just cut it in,” said Spiller. “I knew there some guys coming from inside out, but if I just stuck my foot in the ground I think I have a pretty good chance.”

Spiller finished the day with 170 total yards from scrimmage (123 rush, 47 rec.) and his two touchdowns. His second-straight 100-yard rushing day to start the season made him just the fourth the Bills running back to start the season with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. He joins Fred Jackson (2011), Thurman Thomas (1991) and OJ Simpson (1973 and 1975).

Buffalo’s defense then forced a turnover. On a 1st-and-10 for Kansas City at their own 40, Alex Carrington sacked Matt Cassel and stripped the ball. Mario Williams recovered the loose ball giving the offense possession at the Chiefs’ 43.

Again Spiller made a big play ripping off a 27-yard screen play when split out wide to set up 1st-and-goal at the two-yard line. Fitzpatrick would cap the drive with a 10-yard scoring strike to Scott Chandler for a 21-0 lead with just over three minutes left in the half.

“We had that stuff in the plan,” said Fitzpatrick. “He’s a dynamic playmaker and you try to move him around as much as you can.”

The Bills defense then forced their second fumble of the half in the waning moment. With under a minute to play and the Chiefs’ threatening on a second-and-goal from the Bills one-yard line, Peyton Hillis was stripped by Nick Barnett and the fumble was recovered by Bryan Scott in the end zone for a touchback to keep Kansas City off the board in the first half.

“When the ball’s lying out there everybody’s diving after it like it’s that last scrap of food you can get to,” said Scott. “It was great defensively, because they were driving the ball down the field, they had gotten a couple of big plays on that series, and to be able to turn the ball over before the half is always huge.” 

Kansas City would finally get on the board midway through the third quarter with a 33-yard Ryan Succop field goal (21-3), but the scoring drive was answered less than two minutes later.

Ryan Fitzpatrick got the team out of a 1st-and-20 situation with a 43-yard catch and run hookup with Scott Chandler to move the Bills out to midfield.

“The way we were running the ball, the play action is definitely going to open up,” said Eric Wood. “And it did in the third quarter, when Scott had a 43-yard catch and run on a naked.  You don’t expect 45-yard throws on a naked, that’s a throw to the flat to keep him honest.” 

Three plays later Fitzpatrick looked off a linebacker and fired in the opposite direction to a slanting Stevie Johnson, who outraced the secondary to the end zone for a 49-yard scoring play (28-3).

“The defenders ended up getting mixed up and we ran a switch-route,” said Johnson. “The middle opened wide and Fitz hit me. The rest was just me making a play. I felt like I had to turn it up and get into the end zone.”

Buffalo’s special teams then put the game to bed before the third quarter concluded when the punt return unit gave Leodis McKelvin a crack and he took it 88 yards for a touchdown (35-3).

“I just got past that first wave,” said McKelvin. “Once you get past that first wave everything else is history.”

The Chiefs would tack on a pair of late touchdowns after the game had already been decided on a pair of touchdown plays from Matt Cassel to Dwayne Bowe.

Buffalo will try to build on their Week 2 victory when they travel to Cleveland to face the Browns next Sunday for a 1 pm kickoff.

“I just told them in the dressing room right now, last week everybody was kicking dirt on you,” said Gailey. “This week they’re going to put you on a bit of a pedestal and neither one are true. You’ve got to keep your steady mindset and in 24 hours we’ve got to get ready to go to Cleveland. That’s got to be the mindset. You can’t get too high with the highs or too low with the lows. We’ve got to look at where we want to go and keep our focus on where we want to go and don’t let that stuff distract us.”