The Buffalo Bills proved Sunday that running and stopping the run really does win NFL games, as they pounded the Kansas City Chiefs on both sides of the ball in an easier-than-it-seems-by-the-score 35-17 victory.
C.J. Spiller posted his second straight 100-yard game Sunday, going for 123 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries. That now gives him an NFL-leading 292 yards on 29 carries through two weeks – good for an average of just more than 10 yards per rush. The Bills ran for 201 yards as a team on 36 carries.
"They were playing a defense that allowed us to have pretty good matchups in the run game out of certain personnel groups," Bills coach Chan Gailey said. "We wanted to go take advantage of it, so that is what we did. I thought our guys were pretty physical coming off the football, and we were able to establish the run game extremely well early in the ball game."
The Bills' run defense, meanwhile, was stout when it needed to be. The Chiefs gained 150 rushing yards, but 101 of those yards came after the game was already out of reach at 35-3 in the third quarter. Chiefs starter Jamaal Charles was limited to three carries on six yards, while Kansas City as a team managed only 49 ground yards on 14 tries before the outcome was clinched by Buffalo.
The Bills started strong, with touchdowns on two of their first three drives. Spiller capped an 11-play, 84 yard drive with a 17-yard run to open the scoring 13 minutes in. He added his other touchdown five minutes later, a five-yard scamper to cap a seven-play, 67-yard drive and open up a 14-0 lead three minutes into the second quarter.
"That is what we would rather be. We would rather be a physical run team that throws it when they have to or throws it on surprise situations. That is what we would rather be," Gailey said. "We will continue to work down this path as much as we can."
The teams traded the ball through much of the rest of the quarter until Scott Chandler caught Ryan Fitzpatrick pass in the flat and ran it in 10 yards to give the Bills a 21-0 lead in the half's final three minutes.
Kansas City mustered little offense through much of the first half, punting on six of its first eight drives and fumbling away the ball on the other two. The back-breaker was a Peyton Hillis fumble on the Bills' one-yard line on a rush that would have trimmed the deficit back to 14 points at halftime.
The Chiefs managed a field goal to make it 21-3 seven minutes into the third quarter, but the Bills would put the game away in the next four minutes. First, Stevie Johnson took advantage of blown coverage, catching a ball with 10 yards of elbow room all the way around him and then running it in for a 49-yard touchdown reception.
"The defenders ended up getting mixed up and we ran like a switch-route. The middle opened wide and Fitz hit me. The rest was just me making a play," Johnson said. "Coach has been talking about people making plays and trying to make a difference, don’t just do your job, do a little more. I felt like I had to turn it up and get in the end zone."
The Bills quickly forced a punt on the next Chiefs possession, and Leodis McKelvin delivered the knockout blow with an 88-yard punt return touchdown – the second-longest punt return in Bills history – to give the Bills a 35-7 lead 11 minutes into the quarter.
The Chiefs got two touchdowns in garbage time in the fourth quarter. Both times, Matt Cassel connected with Dwayne Bowe for touchdowns, one of 33 yards and the other for two yards.
Fitzpatrick ended the day 10-of-19 for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Cassel ended up 23-of-42 for 301 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
The Bills sacked Cassel five times – Kyle Williams twice and Marcell Dareus, Alex Carrington and Kelvin Sheppard once each. The Bills won the turnover battle, 3-0, on two fumbles and an interception.
Elsewhere in the AFC East, the Arizona Cardinals stunned the New England Patriots at home, 20-18. The Miami Dolphins beat the Oakland Raiders 35-13, while the New York Jets lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-10. That creates a four-way tie in the division, with every team standing at 1-1.Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Bills, Football, NFL