Chiefs vs. Bills: Stats That Mattered in Buffalo's Week 2 Win over Kansas City
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My colleague, NFC East lead writer Brad Gagnon, put it best: "The reality is that [stats] rarely tell the whole story, but I also find that they almost always tell part of the story."
Ultimately, the "whole story" will only be written when the season is over, when we have an idea of how these stats look in the end; but for now, let's just take a look at the stats that had an impact on Sunday's game between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs.
The Bills have been very Jekyll-and-Hyde in the turnover department, and lost the turnover battle by three last week against the Jets. They finished last year ranked fifth in turnovers forced on defense (20 interceptions, 11 fumble recoveries), and gave up the eighth-most turnovers of any offense in the league (25 interceptions, five fumbles lost).
Turnovers have been feast or famine for the Bills in recent history. They need to be very careful about winning and losing games this way. They were plus-13 in turnover differential on their way to a 5-2 start, but were a grotesque minus-14 in turnover differential when they finished 1-8.
This matters because the Bills finally have a truly disruptive pass defense with solid pass-rushers on the front line. Their front seven racked up five sacks and 15 total pressures according to Pro Football Focus.
Jamaal Charles, in particular, was held to an average of 0.3 yards per carry in the first half (Chris Johnson much?) and .5 yards per carry for the game.
This matters because while the pass defense was the focal point of the 2012 offseason moves—acquiring defensive end Mario Williams, drafting cornerback Stephon Gilmore—the porous run defense has needed an overhaul for some time. Put it this way: They were so bad on run defense, teams were forgoing the pass in favor of the run.
If performances like this week against the Chiefs continue, the Bills could be turning the page on that chapter of their storied history.
Spiller's 8.2 average on Sunday was the third-best average of his career, second only to his game against the Jets last week in terms of games with more than five carries. His current average of 10.1 YPA leads the NFL through the first two games.
This matters because the Bills offense, which has typically been a pass-oriented unit under Chan Gailey, should strongly consider making Spiller their No. 1 weapon. He may not have the physical look of a 20-touch-per-game back, but on the field, his play has deserved that kind of workload.
Spiller was there to provide one big play after another, and the Bills needed it pretty badly when you look at the next stat...
Last year, Fitzpatrick finished among the worst in the league with only 17.9 percent of his passes traveling 15 yards or more through the air, but thus far in 2012, Fitzpatrick has thrown just 13.7 percent of his passes deeper than 15 yards.
This matters because the rap on the Bills coming into training camp was that they lacked explosive threats in the passing game. If the Bills have them on the roster, they haven't emerged as legitimate targets to where Fitzpatrick is targeting them in the passing game.
That the Bills were able to put up 35 points on a day where they got so little from their passing game is promising, because if Fitzpatrick's first two weeks are any indication, they may have to continue to follow that blueprint to wins.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand.
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