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Top 3 Things We Learned

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Top 3 things we learned from Bills at Chiefs | Week 14


1 — Bills defense stands tall with season on the line

With the game and maybe even the season on the line, the Bills defense finally came through.

After a Tyler Bass field goal with 1:54 remaining in the 4th quarter gave the Bills a 20-17 lead, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs got the ball back with two timeouts and the game resting in the defense's hands once again.

Not executing late in games this season has been a common theme for the Bills this season; they have four losses this season in which they held a lead in the fourth quarter.

Their fortunes turned in the best way possible Sunday evening as the defense forced a turnover on downs to seal the win.

"It's kind of cliche, but literally we had a two-minute drill at the end of practice specifically for this moment to close out games," DT Ed Oliver said. "And we was put in the situation and we won. I think it has a lot to do with practice."

For a moment though, it was Déjà vu all over again: the Chiefs driving down, threatening to score and win the game. And they did score — only it didn't count. A wild play unfolded in which Mahomes found Travis Kelce at the Buffalo 30-yard line and Kelce threw the ball back and across the field to Kadarius Toney who streaked in for a go-ahead TD.

But instead of a score, a penalty was called on Toney for lining up offsides prior to the play, wiping the score off the board.

"I originally thought it was on us," QB Josh Allen said. "I didn't know what the flag is, it's not a flag they usually call. I was just getting up and getting ready to go score." 

The penalty made it 2nd-and-15 from the KC 46-yard line with 1:12 left — and that's when the Bills defense made three consecutive stands. Buffalo got pressure from Von Miller who forced an incompletion to make it third down and long. 

"We were putting that pressure on him towards the end. Yeah, so collapsing the pocket and he was having to make decisions probably a little faster than he wanted to," Oliver shared.

On the next play, Oliver swatted down Mahomes' pass at the line to set up the critical fourth down. The Bills' sack leader Leonard Floyd got pressure off the right side to force an errant throw that wobbled through the air and hit the turf. The Bills survived.

"Really proud of those guys," head coach Sean McDermott said. "They went out there, they knew what they had to get done."

It's the second season in a row in which the Bills defense has forced either a turnover or a turnover on downs in the final two minutes on the road against the Chiefs. Buffalo became the first team to beat Patrick Mahomes three times in the regular season in his career.

2 — The James Cook Game

Sunday at Arrowhead started with a 14-0 surge out of the gate by the Bills.

James Cook was the go-to option early on where he was explosive in both the pass game and run game. He totaled 98 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in the first half.

"He was awesome," Allen said. "He's been working hard, probably his best week of practice this week, been getting more comfortable with him catching passes out of the backfield and he had a lot of opportunities and he took advantage of that."

Cook's touchdown reception came on a great play design in the first quarter as he ran a wheel route out of the back field with three receivers lined up on the same side. Kansas City safety Mike Edwards bit on a fake screen to Trent Sherfield, leaving Cook uncovered up the seam.

"We ran this play all week at practice," Cook said. "So, the safety moves over. And go up the seam for the touchdown."

Cook's 64 receiving yards in the first quarter marked a career-high in receiving yards in a single game. Cook finished with 141 yards total yards.

The second-year back is playing well at the right time over the last month as he's topped 100+ scrimmage yards in four consecutive games. He's the first Bills RB since LeSean McCoy (2016) to have a stretch of four or more games with over 100 total yards.

"He's growing, he's developing, it's a joy as a coach to watch a player continue to take steps in terms of his development," McDermott shared.

Cook credited his offensive line for opening up running lanes for him and the rest of the Buffalo RB room. The Bills have rushed for over 100 yards in four consecutive games.

"O-line. You know, they're blocking their tails off," he said. "And we're finding the holes, and we hitting it."

3 — Back to December

The Bills win over the Chiefs was the first of Buffalo's four games in December, which is where they've been at their best in recent years. Since 2020, Buffalo is 15-2 in December/January games during the regular season.

Their hard-earned victory is hopefully a sign of things to come the rest of the month as Buffalo still find themselves out of a playoff spot for the time being. But the nail-bitter over the Chiefs is the first step in that direction toward a potential playoff berth.

"It was gonna be back and forth as it was — we knew that. We jumped out early and then they came back. Had some momentum in the back half of the second quarter and then somewhat into the third quarter and fourth quarter. And we just stayed the course," McDermott said.

There were several heroic moments in the fourth quarter for the Bills in Kansas City.

One play that will be remembered is Allen's near-impossible throw to Latavius Murray along the sideline. Allen was 0.2 yards from the sideline when he threw back across his body to find Murray for a 21-yard gain. It's the closest distance to the sideline of any completion since 2018, per Next Gen Stats.

"Third down on that drive, gotta find a way to make a play. We were on the same page there and he made a heck of a catch," Allen said.

While Allen was as humble as to be expected, his head coach gave him plenty of praise.

"He makes some plays that very few if anyone in the league can make and so, that's part of what makes him special," McDermott said.

Though the Bills didn't score that drive, they were to able to get the ball back and Allen engineered a scoring drive where the offense converted two third-down conversions to set up a Tyler Bass field goal. It marked Bass' first game-winning field goal of the season.

Check out the best images from the field and inside the Bills locker room following Buffalo's big win over the Chiefs.

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