Chiefs hold off Bills 30-22 for fifth straight win
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Kansas City Chiefs never thought their season was over when they were in the midst of a five-game losing streak, last in the AFC West and laughably far from playoff contention.
They're not about to think their job is done after five straight wins, either.
''We just got over .500,'' coach Andy Reid said after a 30-22 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday pushed the Chiefs to 6-5. ''Think about that.''
Alex Smith threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Chiefs. Jeremy Maclin caught six passes for 160 yards and a score, while Spencer Ware ran for 114 yards and another touchdown in place of Charcandrick West, who missed the game with a hamstring injury.
Travis Kelce also caught a TD pass and Cairo Santos kicked three crucial field goals.
But for all those offensive standouts, it was the Kansas City defense that once again came to play. After the Bills' Tyrod Taylor and Sammie Watkins scorched them in the first half, the Chiefs limited the damage in the second half while forcing a pair of game-changing fumbles.
They did it without All-Pro pass rusher Justin Houston, too. He left with a left knee injury that Reid likened to a strained ligament Houston sustained a couple years ago.
''This league, it's hard to be that far behind and still have the mindset we have a good enough team to win games, keep our season alive,'' fellow pass rusher Tamba Hali said. ''With the guys we have, it says a lot about our character, how much `want' we have on our team.''
That same ''want'' is being tested in Buffalo now, too.
The Bills (5-6) had a chance to improve their own playoff prospects on Sunday. But after jumping out to a 10-0 lead, their offense collapsed down the stretch. And given a chance to march for a tying touchdown, Taylor was stopped on fourth down to essentially end the game.
''We're out of mulligans,'' Bills coach Rex Ryan said. ''We have to start focusing on this game and learn from what the mistakes were, and we have to get them fixed. If not, you're going to see them again. And that's the first thing we have to do.''
As the Chiefs carry their five-game win streak to Oakland next week, and the Bills try to bounce back against Houston, here are some takeaways from Sunday:
WHERE'S THE REPLAY: Ryan questioned whether there were adequate replays available inside Arrowhead Stadium, and said that influenced his decision to challenge – or not challenge – several close calls. ''If you can't see a replay, then how is anybody up there going to know to challenge or not?'' said Ryan, who ultimately lost both times he challenged a call.
ALL OR NOTHING: Watkins caught six passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns, all in the first half. ''For the most part the wide receivers, tight ends were making plays in the first half,'' he said. ''We didn't do that in the second half. If we would have had more sense of urgency and came out more alive we could have got the win.''
OTHER INJURY NEWS: Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher hurt his neck and center Mitch Morse had a concussion, while Bills running back Karlos Williams hurt his shoulder and defensive lineman Alex Carrington had to be carted off the field with a right knee injury.
ERRORLESS ALEX: Along with some downfield passing success, Smith also ran for 35 yards and picked up a critical first down. He also did not throw an interception for the seventh straight game – a franchise-record 283 consecutive attempts. ''Part of being quarterback,'' he said, ''when you are throwing the ball is making good decisions and being accurate.''
SLOPPY CONDITIONS: The game was played in a cold, driving rain, and the field slowly became saturated even though it was covered until just before kickoff. ''There were actual moments out there that it wasn't that bad,'' Smith said. ''By the second half, the balls were pretty beat up as far as mud and stuff on them. Not bad here and there.''
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- Alex Smith
- Cairo Santos
- Charcandrick West
- Eric Fisher
- Jeremy Maclin
- Justin Houston
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Mitch Morse
- Spencer Ware
- Tamba Hali
- Travis Kelce