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Bills embarrass Chiefs at Arrowhead

Posted Sep 11, 2011

The start to Buffalo’s 2011 season could not have been better on Sunday, as they dominated the home standing Kansas City Chiefs in every phase of the game en route to a 41-7 blowout victory at Arrowhead.

“Everybody played well and it was a balanced day for us and our guys played well,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “I was impressed with the way we blocked some plays. We did some good stuff, we made some adjustments on the field. They had to make some adjustments to what they were doing and it worked out well.”

Ryan Fitzpatrick tied a career high with four touchdown passes, two of which went to tight end Scott Chandler, and the defense and special teams forced three turnovers, which resulted in 17 points for Buffalo. The 34-point win marked the largest margin of victory in team history on opening weekend.

“First and foremost we’ve got to thank our defense,” said Fred Jackson, who rushed for 112 yards on 20 carries. “They gave us the ball, they gave us plenty of opportunities on the field today. If we have them playing like that we’ve got to reward them.”

“It’s encouraging. We knew what we had and it’s only one game, but I think it probably surprised some people for us to score that much and it helps to get the turnovers,” said Fitzpatrick. “But it’s one game. We’re ready to move forward and we’re going to enjoy it for a day because I remember how hard it was last year when we lost here, but we’re certainly going to enjoy this one and move on.”

On the opening kickoff Chiefs return man Dexter McCluster was separated from the football on a hit by Chris White. Recovering the fumble at the Kansas City 26-yard line was fellow rookie linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, giving the offense a short field to start the game.

Three Fred Jackson carries helped lead to a 3rd-and-goal at the Chiefs’ four-yard line. Ryan Fitzpatrick gunned a pass to the goal line where he hit Scott Chandler for a four-yard touchdown reception to give the Bills an early 7-0 lead.

Buffalo’s defense was effective early sending the Chiefs four-and-out, three-and-out and three-and-out on their first three possessions.

“We were well prepared,” said Marcell Dareus. “We really watched film as a team and defensive line and really wanted to announce our dominance up front and do the best we can. This is Buffalo football. We want to be as consistent as possible and that’s what we’re working towards right now.”

Fitzpatrick and the offense methodically moved the ball after a drive start at their own 25. On a 2nd-and-10 from the Buffalo 38, however, Fitzpatrick hit David Nelson down the right sideline for a 35-yard pass play to the Kansas City 27.

On the very next play Fitzpatrick went up top to Stevie Johnson who leaped higher than his defender at the front corner of the end zone and fell head over heels into the end zone for Buffalo’s second touchdown. Rian Lindell’s extra point made it 14-0 Bills with a minute left in the first quarter.

“That’s what we’re asking out of Stevie all year,” said Fitzpatrick. “He’s our guy that when we go to him I’m expecting that he comes down with the ball. That’s me throwing it and saying, ‘Steve make a play.’ And that was an amazing play, amazing catch and that’s the kind of player that he is.”

Kansas City on their ensuing possession couldn’t cash in on what was initially ruled a 19-yard touchdown pass from Matt Cassel to Leonard Pope, but after it was reviewed it was overturned. And on 3rd-and-8 at the Bills 19 Cassel was sacked by Spencer Johnson for a loss of 12. Ryan Succop’s 49-yard field goal attempt then sailed wide right.

Buffalo then marched 50 yards from their own 39 with Rian Lindell putting a 29-yard attempt through for a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles then fumbled the ball on the first play of the next series on a hit by George Wilson. Leodis McKelvin recovered the loose ball at the Chiefs’ 21.

Four plays later Lindell put a 38-yard field goal up and through for a 20-0 lead with 5:42 left in the first half.

The Chiefs offense finally put a solid drive together at the end of the first half. Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster combined for 59 yards on an 81-yard drive with Charles pulling in a six-yard touchdown reception that was just out of the reach of cornerback Aaron Williams to get Kansas City on the board, as the game was 20-7 in favor of Buffalo at the half.

The Bills kept their foot on the gas pedal in the second half scoring a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter. Scott Chandler capped the first scoring drive with his second touchdown of the game, the first two of his career, as he pulled an 11-yard reception.

Kansas City blitzed Fitzpatrick off the edge, but no one covered Chandler down the seam who pulled in the pass by himself in the end zone. It marked the first time a Bills tight end had a pair of touchdowns in a game since Robert Royal had two on Dec. 9, 2007 against Miami.

“The big thing we harped on was scoring touchdowns in the red zone,” Fitzpatrick said. “I was kicking myself with the two field goals we had in the first half. Those were big opportunities for us where we could’ve had touchdowns. So we came out and capitalized on some of those opportunities in the second half.”

After the Bills defense forced the Chiefs offense three-and-out for the fourth time in the game, Buffalo tacked on another touchdown. A 28-yard punt return by Roscoe Parrish again gave the offense a short field at the Kansas City 32. A 15-yard reception by Stevie Johnson to convert a 3rd-and-11 set the Bills up with a 1st-and-goal situation at the Chiefs’ seven-yard line.

A play later, Fitzpatrick shot a pass to Donald Jones on a post pattern for a four-yard touchdown play to make it 34-7 after the extra point with less than a minute in the third.

The fourth quarter played out much the same. Drayton Florence posted the second takeaway by Buffalo’s defense when he intercepted Matt Cassel’s pass intended for Keary Colbert along the left sideline and returned it 30 yards to the Chiefs’ 28.

After Fred Jackson eclipsed 100 yards rushing on the day with three straight carries for 18 yards, C.J. Spiller took a 2nd-and-5 carry at the Kansas City nine-yard line and made one cut before bursting to the front right corner of the end zone for Buffalo’s fifth touchdown of the day.

“I just wanted to get established early, kind of help Fitz,” said Jackson. “We feel if we get the run game going it allows him to make more plays for us. We did a great job protecting him.”

Lindell’s extra point made it 41-7 marking the first time Buffalo scored 40 points or more on opening weekend since a 40-7 victory back on Sept. 6, 1992 against the Los Angeles Rams.

Buffalo’s defense was very stout throughout the game holding Chiefs’ Pro Bowl rusher Jamaal Charles to just 56 rushing yards in the game. Kansas City’s offense had 10 of their 12 possessions held to five plays or less by George Edwards’ unit.

“We practiced all week and were very disciplined in our responsibilities,” said Nick Barnett who had four tackles and a pass breakup. “We had some great calls from coach and we executed. We prepared for what they do the best, when they run the backs out the field, those run and shoot draws. A lot of their game relies on that and we prepared to stop those plays and let our DBs play and they played well.”

The Bills travel home to prepare for the Oakland Raiders in Buffalo’s home opener on Sept. 18.

McGee injured
Injured early in the game was Terrence McGee, who sustained a hamstring injury and did not return.