Trick and Treat for Chiefs Fans

Kansas City, MO -- No matter how ugly it was, the Chiefs pulled away from the lowly Buffalo Bills on Sunday with a 13-10 victory. All it took for the Chiefs to avoid their first tied game in over two decades was a 35-yard field goal by Ryan Succop as the final seconds ticked away in overtime.

Just about every Chiefs player imaginable was reaching into the goody bag for a treat and running wild on the Bills, whom entered the game 0-6 for the season. Dwayne Bowe caught his fifth touchdown in three games, and Jamaal Charles tallied 238 total yards while blazing through the league's worst run defense. Charles' effort helped the Chiefs record their third consecutive game with over 200 yards on the ground.

With Dexter McCluster out with an ankle injury, the Chiefs were undoubtedly missing a key part of their offensive attack, but Charles made up for it with his own explosiveness. The Chiefs were also playing without their stud offensive lineman Ryan Lilja, so rookie Jon Asamoah took his place in the starting lineup.

On defense Wallace Gilberry, Andy Studebaker, and Tamba Hali had a combined three quarterback sacks among them, Eric Berry registered his second career interception, and Gilberry, Brandon Flowers, and Kendrick Lewis all forced fumbles. To say the least, no matter how close the score is on paper, the Chiefs ultimately dominated this game.

With a touchdown reception from Cassel, Dwayne Bowe let the Chiefs go to the locker room with a 7-0 lead at halftime. At the beginning of the second half, Buffalo had the ball for nearly nine minutes and almost made the third quarter go by in a blink of an eye.

By then, Tamba Hali was probably the only Chiefs lineman who wasn't gassed as the Bills' offense was catching steam. Hali was applying pressure to Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick all day but still didn't have all that much help from others in breaking through the brittle Bills offensive line. On several plays, Hali was blowing past the Bills' offensive line so fast that Fitzpatrick barely had any time to function in the pocket, leading to a few bad passes and an intentional grounding call.

KC Linebackers Andy Studebaker and Tamba Hali were defensive stars in the first half against the Bills.
Getty Images



Fitzpatrick entered the game with the NFL's second-best passer rating behind reigning league MVP Peyton Manning and is just about the only bright spot on a bad Bills team. Statistics aside, the Chiefs' defense brought Fitzpatrick back down to Earth and was hunting him all day. Kansas City's defense showed more blitzing schemes than we've seen in most games this season, and were definitely throwing the kitchen sink at Buffalo.

Buffalo is now led by Chan Gailey, the Chiefs' former offensive coordinator. Gailey was relieved of his duties before the beginning of last season but he's definitely helping this Bills team recover from an atrocious past few seasons. Gailey did a fantastic job with the tools he had here in Kansas City and made the most of it, and is surely doing the same thing with lesser talent now in Buffalo.

Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel deserves a lot of respect in many of his play calls which threw the Bills' offense off balance. In the final twenty seconds, the Chiefs were still applying plenty of pressure to Fitzpatrick and forced him to throw an interception to Eric Berry. The play let the Chiefs survive for another 15 minutes of play.

In overtime, the Bills got the ball first and were seemingly shutting down in their first drive. However, a facemask penalty called on Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel kept them alive. Not long after the Bills marched down the field into position for a 53-yard field goal. The problem is, once their kicker Ryan Lindell kicked the ball which cleared the crossbar, Chiefs head coach had simultaneously called a time out. Haley perfectly executed the "icing the kicker" routine because once Lindell got a second crack at kicking just a few moments later; the ball sailed to the right and hit the crossbar. It was probably the best decision by Haley all day.

This was when things started to fall into place for the Chiefs, no matter how hard it was to watch as the seconds ticked off the clock. Tight end Tony Moeaki hadn't seen any passes come his way for the entire game until he caught a few big receptions from Matt Cassel that led the Chiefs into the red zone. The Chiefs took a shot at their own field goal by Ryan Succop but the wind played havoc with it and let it sail in the wrong direction.

With just about four minutes remaining, the Chiefs were looking at possibly their first tied game since 1989. Most if not all Chiefs fans remained at Arrowhead while their team needed it the most and it paid off. Most importantly, the Bills shut down while Matt Cassel thrived and picked their defense apart in order to give Succop another shot at the game-winning field goal.

Wallace Gilberry made his first start in a Chiefs uniform on Sunday.
Getty Images



With the clock starting at :05 seconds, Succop hit the game-winner as time expired. In hopes to avoid another shanked kick, Succop—set up on the right hash mark—used the right technique to kick the ball just to the right of the uprights and let the crosswind do the rest of the work.

This time of game was bound to happen sooner or later. The Chiefs not only faced an opponent they very well could have stomped over but instead, they learned how to keep their composure in tight situations.

Matt Cassel finished the game with another moderate showing in the stat book, but more importantly, he delivered a win. Cassel has now thrown 119 consecutive passes without an interception.

Now that's impressive for a guy who's struggled to manage games when it matters most, but who has now morphed into a quarterback who won't lay an egg for the entire 60 minutes. He completed 14 of his 26 passes for 152 yards, but his late game-winning drive overshadows those numbers. It was another impressive showing by Cassel that won't necessarily be reflected in numbers or statistics, but pays off in measures especially if this team keeps on marching towards the postseason.

It's become apparent that after Sunday's game lady luck keeps on helping the boys in red and gold in a remarkable turnaround season. But with luck aside, the wins keep on coming for the Chiefs who remain at the top of the AFC West with a 5-2 record.

A win is a win in the National Football League, no matter if it takes you 75 minutes to get it and just 13 points on offense. I'm not saying that the five wins so far this season have all been lucky because they surely haven't. The Chiefs have won them for a reason, and this game is just about enough proof for the non-believers.

WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories