The Buffalo Bills certainly should have completed the upset of the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, but their inexperience got the best of them.
The Bills came into the game with their third, different starting quarterback of the season in undrafted rookie free agent Jeff Tuel. Tuel had a promising preseason, but raised some concerns in his debut when EJ Manuel was injured against Cleveland in week 5. He played well to begin the game, which included a 59-yard touchdown pass to Marquis Goodwin. But he later collapsed, throwing two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. TJ Graham also lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. In fact, Buffalo's defense didn't give up a single touchdown, but they lost anyway, because of the mistakes on offense.
Tuel's second interception of the game that was returned for a touchdown was an immediate momentum changer. Buffalo was up 10-3 and on Kansas City's one-yard-line. On a third and goal, Tuel dropped back and and fired a quick-slant that was intercepted by the Chiefs. The worst part, is that Stevie Johnson had beaten the defender and was alone in the back of the endzone. Tuel missed him. It's easy to assume that if Manuel or even Thad Lewis had played this game, that play would have been a touchdown and Buffalo would have won. But assumptions are just empty guesses, that don't mean much anyway.
Buffalo's defense did its job. It held Kansas City to three field goals, but could not generate a turnover. They had a chance when Alex Smith was hit from behind and lost the football, but Leodis McKelvin tried to scoop it and run, and consequently kicked it, allowing the Chiefs to recover. Kansas City would punt one play later.
Despite their miscues, Buffalo was again in the game until the final minutes. One can only draw the conclusion that when it gains experience, winning will come. The good news for Buffalo is that Manuel is eyeing his return to the field next week when the Bills travel to Pittsburgh. The bad news is he will most likely be playing solely for the purpose of gaining experience for next season, as this loss drops the Bills to 3-6 on the year, making their playoff chances minute in a tough AFC.
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