BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The scheduling roller coaster that the Bills were on in October finally came to a halt against the Chiefs. Buffalo was coming off its first loss of the season, and an ugly one at that. And the defending champs were coming to town.
The Kansas City Chiefs' 26-17 win didn't feel as close as the score might indicate. The Bills limited the big play, but were gashed in the running game by rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Buffalo's offense sputtered.
"They showed a couple different things on defense, and stuff we weren't expecting," quarterback Josh Allen said. "We've gotten a lot better since that game, but they could probably say the same thing."
Kansas City was the team to beat in the AFC in Week 6. There was no Super Bowl hangover for them to endure. You could argue that the Chiefs are still the team to beat. But now, you could also make that argument for Buffalo, too. Bills players certainly are making that case.
"They could be driving 99 yards, have it first and goal, and we can still be confident that we'll get them off the field," safety Jordan Poyer said. "That's the type of culture that Sean [McDermott] has brought in since he came here, and we want to continue that."
"[Experts] think Kansas City is the top dog, and that's fine," defensive end Jerry Hughes said. "Once it comes time for Sunday and the Bills Mafia knows who's coming out there to play football, and it's us. We get after you for four quarters."
The Bills have been getting after their opponents for 32 quarters now; their eight-game win streak is the longest active streak in the league. But the team learns the most about itself after a loss, and now they have a chance to knock off the Chiefs on a much bigger stage.
"It's going to be a fourth quarter dogfight," Allen said. "We need to... put the ball where it needs to be if they're in zone, or beat our guys if they're in man, and establish the run, and play good complementary football."
Allen threw just 14/27 for 122 yards and two touchdowns when the Chiefs came to Orchard Park in October. On the other side of the ball, superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes was kept in check, but the run defense was still Buffalo's week point.
"Our plan is a lot different this week... When we first played them, we wanted to limit the explosive plays," Poyer said. "I think [this week] we'll be a little more aggressive to be able to show up in their run game but also get back in their deep passing game."
In November, the Bills' defense started to find their stride. Leslie Frazier's unit has peaked at the right time; look no further than last Saturday's effort. Buffalo allowed just three points to the league's reigning MVP.
"Lamar [Jackson] runs the ball really well," Hughes said. "You always have to be alert with him. With [Mahomes], it's a different story. Because his arm is so strong. Even when he's scrambling, he's extending plays. He's buying time for a receiver to get open."
The Chiefs' arsenal of receivers is one of the league's best. Even if Mahomes can't play, the Bills secondary will have their hands full. Even three months later, there's a silver lining in October's loss to Kansas City.
"We've learned from it, and I think we can use it and look back at that game to try to get some positives out of it," "Let's try to minimize the big plays and try to correct the things that they were able to expose the first time."
The Bills and Chiefs kick off at Arrowhead Stadium at 6:40 with a trip to Super Bowl LV on the line.