Bills vs. Chiefs: 5 Things We Learned from Buffalo's 35-17 Win
The final score may have been 35-17, but the game itself was never in question.
What did we learn about the Bills today?
Read on to find out!
The Bills Improved in Every Aspect of the Game
Last week, the only positive the Bills could take from their embarrassing loss to the Jets was the effectiveness of C.J. Spiller. Today? The Bills have plenty to be smiling about.
On offense, the Bills were able to move the chains effectively. A large part of this was due to the play of the offensive line.
I focused on Cordy Glenn and couldn't have picked a better target. He manhandled anyone that came at him and created large running lanes. In the passing game, he moved fluidly downfield on a C.J. Spiller screen that almost resulted in a touchdown. Glenn was the second-most valuable player on the Bills offense today.
Not only were the Bills able to pick up first downs, but they had their fair share of big plays. Four Bills had plays of more than 20 yards: Spiller, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Scott Chandler and Stevie Johnson.
Most importantly, the Bills played mistake-free football on offense.
On defense, the front seven played an outstanding game. The Bills finished with five sacks and kept Matt Cassel out of sync all game long. If you didn't watch the game, you'd think Cassel was great on Sunday, but the majority of his yards and all of his touchdowns came in garbage time.
The defense were also responsible for two forced fumbles, and at the end of the game, Jairus Byrd intercepted a Cassel Hail-Mary attempt.
Last, the Bills special teams were outstanding. The biggest play, of course, was Leodis McKelvin's 88-yard punt return for a touchdown that sealed the game in the third quarter. John Potter was once again effective in his role as a kick specialist, and Brian Moorman's punts were outstanding. He didn't give the Chiefs any legitimate chance to return the ball.
It's just one week, but the Bills' improvement across the board is very encouraging.
Ryan Fitzpatrick Rebounded Nicely
Ryan Fitzpatrick's final stat line looked promising: 10-of-19 for 178 yards and two touchdowns. He also had four rushes for 34 yards. Overall, it was a nice bounce-back game for the Bills signal-caller.
Fitzpatrick was simply asked to be a game manager against the Chiefs and he handled the responsibility well. Fitzpatrick made enough throws to keep the defense honest. But for the most part, he just handed the ball off to C.J. Spiller and let his running back do the rest.
I'd like to end there and pretend Fitzpatrick's performance was all positive, but I can't.
Fitzpatrick's accuracy was still off. On the Bills' first series, Fitzpatrick had Scott Chandler wide open, but he held the ball too long and then threw the ball at Chandler's feet. He short-armed a few other throws and also threw several passes behind his wide receivers.
Fitzpatrick played mistake-free football, so I commend him for that. But there is still plenty of work to be done.
C.J. Spiller Just Wally Pipp'ed Fred Jackson
Most people know the story of Wally Pipp, but if you don't, here is an abridged version. Pipp was the starting first baseman for the New York Yankees in 1925. After complaining of a headache, Pipp was benched before a game and Lou Gehrig took his spot. Gehrig went on to play the next 2,130 games for the Yankees and Pipp became an afterthought.
This may lead to an argument, but Fred Jackson has to play second banana to C.J. Spiller when he returns. Spiller just offers more to the team. Spiller can run between the tackles, yet has the speed to turn the corner on opposing defenses as well. In terms of receiving, his speed is a mismatch on the outside and across the middle.
Jackson is still a very good running back and will still see plenty of action. However, under no circumstances should he be the starter when he is ready to return.
Will Spiller continue to average 10 yards per rush? Absolutely not. But he is a touchdown threat every time he touches the ball. That alone should earn him the job as the starting running back.
Dave Wannestedt Can Still Game-Plan Successfully
After losing to the Jets, many Buffalo fans wondered if Wannestedt could still succeed as a coordinator in the NFL. Against the Jets, the Bills defense was shredded through the air and showed no ability to get to the quarterback.
Fast forward one week and Wannestedt has plenty to smile about after the Chiefs game. He schemed well and sent blitzes often. Cassel had happy feet due to this and struggled to make his reads.
The ability to get to the quarterback also helped out the Bills' young secondary. Stephon Gilmore and Aaron Williams looked a lot better in their second games. It wasn't until the game was out of reach that Cassel was able to throw successfully on the young corners.
For the second week in a row, the Bills also played outstanding against the run, their biggest weakness in 2011. Kansas City running backs Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis finished with 17 rushes for 69 yards.
Look for Wannestedt to send plenty of exotic looks next week against Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden.
The Bills Have Momentum Heading into Their Game Against the Browns
There is no such thing as a guarantee in the NFL, but the Bills have plenty of momentum heading into their next game against the Cleveland Browns.
Ryan Fitzpatrick didn't throw an interception, C.J. Spiller was brilliant, and Stevie Johnson and Scott Chandler picked up the slack in the passing game. On defense, everything clicked.
For this to continue, the Bills will need to establish the run early against Cleveland. This will open up the passing game. Fitzpatrick should be able to expose the Browns' secondary, which will be without its best player, Joe Haden.
The Browns have plenty of talent on defense, and while there is also talent on offense, the Browns are young and inexperienced there.
If the Bills defense has a repeat performance next week, there is a good chance they'll be facing New England with a 2-1 record.