Chiefs out of sync in another blowout loss
Sunday, September 16, 2012
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — An inconsistent offense coupled with a defense that is surrendering plenty of points has the Kansas City Chiefs already searching for answers.
The Chiefs were dealt their second straight defeat, falling 35-17 to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. The loss comes on the heels of last week’s 40-24 drubbing against the Atlanta Falcons, and puts Kansas City in a familiar position.
The Chiefs opened a season 0-2 for the sixth time in seven years, which includes last season when they opened with a 41-7 home loss to Buffalo.
“It’s something that we have to find out what it is,” cornerback Brandon Flowers said. “We have to get together as a team and find out what’s going on, because I feel we have the players to go out there and make it happen.”
The Chiefs weren’t able to make anything happen against C.J. Spiller and the Bills. Spiller, starting in place of the injured Fred Jackson, scored twice and finished with 123 yards rushing a week after Buffalo was routed in its opener against the New York Jets.
It was the same-old sloppiness by a Chiefs team that fizzled against the Falcons.
“We didn’t play well on either side of the ball, or any part of our team,” Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel said. “We’re disappointed, and we know we have to play better. You have to eliminate the inconsistency and sustain drives to put ourselves in better position to be successful.”
Cassel finished 23-of-42 for 301 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, with much of that production coming after the Bills had built a 35-3 lead. Dwayne Bowe scored both touchdowns on 33- and 2-yard catches in the final seven minutes.
The Chiefs’ running attack sputtered. Peyton Hillis had 66 yards rushing, and Jamaal Charles just 3 yards on six carries. Charles came in having accumulated 398 yards rushing in his last four meetings with the Bills.
Kansas City managed just four first downs and 71 yards on its first five possessions. The Chiefs then came up empty on their sixth possession, and after Cassel marched them 77 yards on eight plays. Facing second-and-goal at the 1 and down 21-0 with less than a minute to go in the first half, Hillis took the handoff, but was tripped up immediately by linebacker Nick Barnett and then lost control of the ball as he fell forward.
Safety Bryan Scott jumped over a pile of players to get control of the ball before Hillis could recover.
“It was very devastating for me and the team,” Hillis said. “I put the blame right on myself. It was a pretty deflating moment for the offense overall.”
Spiller also had 47 yards receiving, and picked up where he left off last week, when he took over for Jackson and enjoyed a career-best 169 yards rushing.
The Bills’ high-priced Mario Williams-led defense then did the rest. Kyle Williams had two of the team’s five sacks, and Buffalo forced three turnovers. That included Mario Williams recovering Cassel’s fumble, which led to Scott Chandler’s 10-yard touchdown catch in a first half during which the Bills took control.
Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick shrugged off last week’s three-interception outing by going 10-of-19 for 178 yards and two touchdowns, including a 49-yarder to Stevie Johnson. And Buffalo’s special teams contributed: Leodis McKelvin returned a punt 88 yards to make it 35-3 with 3:46 left in the third quarter.
The Chiefs were so thoroughly outplayed on both sides of the ball in the first half Spiller’s 139 yards from scrimmage nearly matched Kansas City’s 148 yards net offense.
“It was another disappointing loss,” Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said. “We didn’t play well enough in any phase of the game, and didn’t coach well enough. It’s disappointing because I thought we prepared well and had the right mindset coming in. But then we come here and couldn’t do anything right.”
The Chiefs defense struggled despite welcoming back two regulars. Star pass-rushing linebacker Tamba Hali returned after serving an NFL-imposed one-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and Flowers returned after missing the opener with a foot injury.
Kansas City did lose tight end Kevin Boss to a head injury in the second quarter. After making a catch over the middle, Boss stumbled backward and hit the back of his head on the turf at the same time safety Da’Norris Searcy struck him on the side of the helmet with his forearm.
Boss appeared woozy as he walked off to the sideline. Searcy was penalized for a blow to the head.
Notes: Spiller became the fourth Bills player to reach 100 yards in the first two games of a season, joining Jackson, Thurman Thomas and O.J. Simpson, who did that twice. ... Chiefs CB Javier Arenas hurt his neck and did not return. ... McKelvin’s TD return was the second of his career, and the second-longest in team history, 3 yards short of the record set by Keith Moody in 1977.
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