Week 12: Bills Rout Chiefs 54-31
Breakout win is exactly what they needed.
by Steve Saslow
The Bills needed a breakout game after the four game losing streak and they did get it. Leodis McKelvin picked off two passes and returned one for a score to get the Bills rolling to a 54-31 rout of the Chiefs. The offense broke out in a huge way after a slow start as they finished with the most points for the Bills in a game since 1966 and 2nd most ever. It was also the most points ever given up by a Chiefs team. Trent Edwards ran for two scores and threw for two in the win as the defense forced five turnovers.
The game was a track meet at the start. The Bills elected to defer the opening kickoff and the Chiefs went right down the field to take a 7-0 lead as Kawika Mitchell was beaten by a wide open Jamaal Charles for a 36 yard touchdown. The Chiefs moved easily to get the 80 yards in just seven plays to gain the lead.
The Bills moved the ball almost as easily, after a false start penalty they moved it 66 yards in 9 plays all passes and runs by the running backs Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson. Lynch had 24 yards rushing on five carries including a fourth down scoring plunge from the one yard line. That came after Trent Edwards missed a wide open Robert Royal badly on a third down play action play as he was very timid early. Jackson had a big 15 yard run and a 14 yard reception on the drive. Lynch added a 13 yard reception.
The Bills had a chance to take an early stranglehold on the game before the first quarter expired but couldn't do it. The Chiefs had to punt from their own 1 after Kawika Mitchell nearly had a safety but Tyler Thigpen was able to get it out of the end zone. The Bills took over at the Kansas City 40 after the punt and moved it down to the one. They once again struggled in the red zone and Lynch actually lost two yards on a third down run from the one so the Bills had to settle for the go ahead field goal to take a 10-7 lead.
The failure to deliver an early staggering blow by the Bills gave the Chiefs a chance to deliver that blow. Larry Johnson did that with a 63 yard run to setup a Tony Gonzalez touchdown reception less than two minutes later to give the Chiefs the 14-10 lead. It looked like it was going to be tough for the Bills to get that elusive sixth win but they quickly turned things around.
The defense finally made a play when two players stepped up that were only in the lineup because of the injuries to the secondary. Reggie Corner forced a fumble that George Wilson recovered setting the Bills up on the Chiefs 28. A pass behind Lee Evans and a failed screen forced the Bills to settle for a 39 yard Rian Lindell field goal. He looked a bit shaky in barely hitting his two early field goals.
The Chiefs went right back to work quickly moving into Bills territory on a 29 yard reception to set the Chiefs up in good shape before McKelvin's breakthrough performance would turn things around for good. He stepped in front of a pass and took it all the way back for a 64 yard interception touchdown return. He made a nice dive wrapping the ball around the pylon to get the touchdown.
The shootout continued as the Chiefs marched right back down the field thanks to another big offensive play as Gonzalez got wide open for a 35 yard reception. The Bills defense stiffened thanks to a sack and a penalty and held the Chiefs to a field goal that pulled them within three.
That left the Bills with enough time to strike back and Edwards finally hit a deep ball with a 51 yard pass to Lee Evans. The throw was on the money in double coverage and the Bills leading receiver pulled it in to put the Bills right back into scoring position. That play was the longest pass of the season for Edwards and seemed to energize him and get his confidence back.
They had to settle for three after Evans' grab as Lindell's 34 yard field goal was right down the middle to give the Bills a 23-17 lead. McKelvin gave them the ball right back with his second interception of the half and Edwards went to work. His last minute drive with no timeouts went 53 yards in five plays and was hurt by two big penalties on Jason Peters. He was not to be denied as he ran it in from 15 yards out to give the Bills the 30-17 halftime lead.
It was a huge play, he was no longer timid as he went for the kill. If he was stopped before the end zone time would have run out on the half and the Bills would have went to the locker room on a down note. The drive set them up for the second half where they could play more relaxed and with more poise. It was a gutsy chance because if he doesn't score all the momentum goes to the Chiefs and Edwards confidence would have went right back into the gutter. It setup a very good second half.
The Bills had great field position in the first half thanks to some short kickoffs and turnovers. That continued as the Bills were shot out of a cannon to start the second half. McKelvin returned the 2nd half kickoff 46 yards and the Bills were in business thanks to a 15 yard face mask penalty that was tacked on to the end of it. Edwards continued to move out of the pocket on the drive running twice more including his second touchdown of the game from five yards out to put the hammer down on the game.
The Chiefs came into this game 2nd in the league in turnover ratio but the Bills made it a whopping +5 when Marcus Stroud recovered a Thigpen fumble. That set up a 38 yard Lindell field goal to give the Bills 10 quick points in the first five minutes of the third quarter to go up 40-17.
The Bills defense was taking the ball away but they were also giving up the big play and that meant the Chiefs weren't out of the game yet. They went right back to work. Gonzalez made a couple of nice catches and then Thigpen went up top for a 45 yard touchdown pass to Mark Bradley. Wilson was turned around and fell down to make it an easy six.
The offense was gaining more and more confidence though and moved right down the field on a very quick 83 yard touchdown drive that took nine plays but only 4:55 on the clock as the Bills stayed in the air despite having the lead. They used some nice play action plays and continued to move Edwards out of the pocket and it was working well for them. Edwards executed a perfect play action and hit his old friend Josh Reed for the eight yard score to give the Bills an unbelievable 47 points before the end of the third quarter.
The Bills would go over the half century mark when the Bills stayed aggressive on offense. Edwards hit Derek Schouman for a 17 yard score after the Bills took over in great field position once again. The Chiefs would add a garbage touchdown but a 54-31 win looks very impressive. The team needed a big game and got it and should feel good. They can't feel that good though as the Chiefs are the Chiefs they have one win in the last 20 games. It's nice to get the win and it feels good but it really doesn't change much since it is a game that they should win if they are a playoff contender. If it gives Edwards more confidence than it could be a turning point but right now it is just a win that they had to have and did.
Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the Bills game against the Chiefs:Gameballs