WKBW (Orchard Park) Kyle Williams may have said it best leading up to Sunday's game "One loss is not the end of the world". No, but the pressure was clearly on the Buffalo Bills to rebound against KC on Sunday. Sure there may have been only one way to go.. up.. but you have to like the way the team responded with the 35-17 victory.
There were plenty of smiles in the post game locker room following the well rounded win, the biggest may have belonged to RB C.J. Spiller. And for good reason. Spiller was the lone bright spot against the Jets, and continued to shine against the Chiefs.
Chan Gailey liked the match ups against the KC defense so the Bills ran early and often. Spiller finished with 123 yards rushing on 15 carries. Marking only the 5th time in franchise history that a Bills RB has opened the season with back-to-back 100 yard efforts.
Spiller was quick to thank the guys up front. The offensive line seemed to thrive in the "run first" game plan, Gailey kept the Chiefs off balance with a nice mix of play calls (if you forgive the first couple of drives in the third quarter), and Spiller did the rest.
I've always liked Spiller's approach to the game, his patience and his drive. He proved last year that he could carry the load when Fred Jackson went down. After this start what's left to prove??
Continuing with the positives… I feel badly for Matt Cassel. The Bills defense was BBQ'd for the lack of pressure on Mark Sanchez in week one. Kyle Williams made sure that wasn't going to happen again. Williams had two of the Bills five sacks on the day. Alex Carrington, Kelvin Sheppard, and Marcell Dareus each added one. (More on Dareus in a second).
100-million dollar man Mario Williams is still looking for his first sack in Buffalo but had a much better game against the Chiefs. I have to look back at the tape but I feel like he provided good pressure, finished with 2 tackles, was credited with a Pass Defense and recovered a fumble on the Carrington sack/FF.
The Bills were on the positive side of the turnover battle on Sunday. The defense finished with two forced fumbles. None bigger then the play at the end of the first half by LB Nick Barnett. Barnett was credited with the tackle and the forced fumble on the goal line. Barnett stripped Peyton Hillis on second and goal from the one. Bryan Scott recovered the fumble in the end zone securing the Bills 21-0 lead at halftime.
I was at the podium (Gailey, Fitzpatrick, Spiller).. so I was not in the locker room for Marcell Dareus's availability, but talking to players I know the team tried to rally around him during what has been an emotional week for the defensive tackle.
His younger brother was murdered last weekend during a triple homicide in Alabama. Dareus traveled to see family earlier in the week, but returned to the team on Thursday. He received a large ovation from the crowd when he was introduced, and finished with 2 tackles and a sack.
Here are his thoughts from post game..
On how it was uplifting to win the game:
The team rallied around me, we practiced so hard this week. There’s just so much help back here, so much family back here. Things were just clicking the way they were I just knew we were going to go out there with that fire and pull it through.
On the ovation at the beginning of the game:
I felt like Buffalo fans are the greatest fans in the NFL. They support us whenever we’re down, when we’re up it doesn’t matter. It’s extended family here, and they made me feel welcome today. I really, really enjoyed it and I really needed it. I want to thank them so much.
On why it was important to be on the field:
This is my relief, whatever is going on in the outside world I can go to the football field and take it out out there. Just have fun, be myself and just focus in on the field, take everything out of my head and just have fun.
On what the emotion was like during the game:
I do the best I can, just keep your thoughts together, stay focused and do the best I can.
I think Dareus deserves a lot of credit for not only playing, but playing well despite the tragedy going on off the field. He left the game on several occasions favoring his left arm but finished the game. Chan Gailey says he's expected to be ok.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was not perfect on Sunday, but with the game plan focused on the run, he didn't need to be. Fitzpatrick finished 10-19 for 178 yards and two touchdowns. The most important part of his day, he didn't turn the ball over. Fitzpatrick followed a three interception performance in New York with a decent day against Chiefs.
He was still off on a couple of throws but ran the offensive game plan effectively.
So Bills fans can breath a sigh of relief. For now. As Gailey said in the post game press conference his team is not as bad as people made it out to be after the loss to the Jets, and probably not as good as people will say his team is following this victory.
I'll just stick with the facts. The Bills are 1-1 heading to Cleveland coming off a solid game against a questionable opponent. Can they keep it up on the road??