The Kansas City Chiefs went on the road to Buffalo and won their ninth straight game to start the season. The Chiefs defense again was opportunistic, scoring two touchdowns on takeaways from the Bills. Buffalo had an impressive ground game, rolling up over 240 rushing yards, but they were unable to convert when it counted.
The Bills finished the game completing only 27 percent on third and fourth down combined, including an interception returned for a touchdown and a turnover on downs deep in Kansas City territory.
Marcus Cooper is a Pro Bowl Caliber Defensive Back
The San Francisco cast-off turned Chiefs rookie cornerback has been startlingly good this season. Cooper was burned early on a long pass play to Marquise Goodwin but came back strong, defending several other deep shots taken his way, breaking up a sure Bills touchdown in the end zone and stripping a completed pass that Tamba Hali returned for a touchdown.
Cooper is a rookie, and he makes rookie mistakes early, but what's so impressive is how he adjusts throughout the game. I've never seen him make the same mistake twice in a game.
Cooper always finds himself around the ball making a play. Cooper has two interceptions, a forced fumble, 14 passes defended and a fumble return for a touchdown on special teams...and he wasn't used heavily until Week 4 of the season when Brandon Flowers was injured.
Cooper appears to have bright future ahead of him and has been invaluable for the Chiefs this season.
The Chiefs Continue to Struggle Stopping the Run
Kansas City has shown cracks in the run defense at times this season, but nothing as porous as allowing the 241 yards Buffalo ran up on them. Over-pursuit by the Chiefs' linebackers allowed the Bills' running backs to cut the ball back into running lanes and break off big gains.
This is the same problem I mentioned early in the season that the Chiefs were having with quarterback containment against mobile quarterbacks It's the nature of the beast in having a hyper-aggressive defense; you're constantly exposed on counter and draw plays and prone to over-pursuit.
While the Chiefs penultimate test in two weeks against the Broncos figures to be an aerial assault from Peyton Manning, the Chiefs would do well to put in some extra practice against the run during the bye week.
Andy Reid Cares Nothing for Convention Play-Calling
Although it should be readily apparent from the calls he's made over the course of his career, Andy Reid will eschew "the obvious" in favor of his instinct for better or worse. The Chiefs ran 24 passing plays, to seven rushing plays in the first half against the Bills. No NFL team has had a greater first-half disparity in play-calling all season.
The Chiefs need to obtain some sort of balance to remain unpredictable. Buffalo was dialed in on the Chiefs' screen plays; Kansas City really only fooled them on deep shots which were off-target or dropped.
The Chiefs are a defensive team that plays the odds with field position and turnovers; the offense needs to develop some sense of consistency to maximize the team's ability to be successful. The Chiefs need more balance and to be less predictable for that to happen. Reid has never shown a willingness to acquiesce to conventional wisdom, however, so it remains to be seen if things will change.