It appears that the Bills may be destined to get that #1 pick in next year’s draft. The Bills gave another valiant effort on the road against a contending team in the AFC, and yet again, came up just short of a win. I suppose if there is any team that should settle for consolation prizes, it is one that is 0-7, but it’s another chapter in the story of incredible losses for the Bills franchise.
The Bills were pretty much dominated for the entire first half of the football game, but were able to head into the half with just a 7-0 deficit. For once it was the defense doing just enough to keep the Bills in the game. The Bills played a better second half, and actually won a third quarter (a modest 3-0 in the quarter) before forcing overtime in the fourth. While overtime was back and forth and both teams had their chances, the Bills may have lost the game in the 4th quarter. Fitzpatrick led the Bills into Chiefs territory with about a minute to go in the 4th quarter, when a pass slipped out of his hands, over the head of every Bill receiver, into the hands of Chiefs’ safety Eric Berry.
The overtime period was an exciting one, and Chiefs’ coach Todd Haley saved his team by calling a timeout right before the Bills converted a 53 yard field goal attempt in overtime. Lindell got a second chance after the timeout, however, on his second try, Lindell hit the right upright with a low knuckling kick. Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop also had his adventures in overtime, missing a 39 yarder in the quarter before kicking the game-winner as the overtime period expired to give Kansas City the victory.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was brought back down to earth by a Kansas City defense that kept pretty good pressure on him all game. Right tackle Cordaro Howard looked much more like a rookie than he did against the Ravens in his debut as a starter a week ago. Fitzpatrick was just 24-48 for 223 yards, including one touchdown and one interception. Fitzpatrick gave a gutsy effort in the 2nd half, but is still plagued by his inconsistent accuracy, and penchant for making mistakes in crucial moments of ballgames. The interception at the end of the fourth quarter, and an intentional grounding in overtime knocked the Bills out of field goal range, though the grounding was as much of, if not moreso, the fault of the offensive line.
Both teams had more success running than throwing the ball, based on yards per play, but went away from the run at key times. In the first half, the Chiefs often went pass happy in short yardage situations, once resulting in a turnover on downs deep in Bills’ territory. The Bills seemed reluctant to run in overtime, despite averaging more yards per rush than through the air (though the rushing average was boosted by Fitzpatrick gains on broken down pass plays).
Kansas City RB Jamaal Charles abused the Bills’ defense all game. Charles had 238 all-purpose yards on 26 touches. He gashed the Bills front seven, and badly abused Bills’ linebackers who attempted to cover him on his four receptions.
Steve Johnson had a much more modest game against the Chiefs, but he did catch a touchdown pass for the fifth straight game, tying a Bills’ record.
The Bills have looked like a competitive team the past two weeks, but you have to wonder if they will ever scratch together a victory when they lose opportunities like these. In the long run, being competitive and losing is probably the best thing that could happen to the team. It’s just awfully frustrating in the short term to watch this team continually wind up with loss after loss.