Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs showed the Buffalo Bills which team just might be better prepared to make a second-half playoff push.
After a slow, sloppy start, the Chiefs persevered in overcoming a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit, while the Bills bumbled through a late-game meltdown in a 17-13 loss on Sunday.
"Nobody hung their head. Nobody was pointing fingers. They were all positive," Reid said of his team's demeanor heading into the fourth quarter down 13-3. "You just had this feeling like good things were going to happen."
They did, gift-wrapped courtesy of the Bills.
First, Jamaal Charles scored on a 39-yard run on fourth-and-1 to cut the Bills' lead to 13-10. Less than 5 minutes later, quarterback Alex Smith scored on an 8-yard run, two plays after Buffalo's Leodis McKelvin fumbled a punt at his own 26.
Kansas City's defense sealed the win by forcing the Bills to turn the ball over on downs at the Chiefs 15 after Kyle Orton threw four consecutive incompletions.
While the Chiefs improved to 6-3, the Bills dropped to 5-4 in an outing that began separating the contenders from pretenders in a jumbled AFC playoff picture featuring 11 teams with winning records after Sunday.
The Bills ended a two-game win streak, fell to 2-4 against AFC opponents and squandered whatever feel-good momentum they had coming out of their bye week.
"It's disappointing, frustrating, all those words," tight end Scott Chandler said. "I don't know what to say about it. We've got to be better."
Things don't get any easier for the Bills. They face a short week in preparing to play at division rival Miami (5-4) on Thursday.
Here are a number of things that stood out Sunday:
UNHAPPY RETURNS: McKelvin showed his frustrations by issuing numerous profanity-laced answers when pressed about his fumble.
"This is my job. I take this ... to heart," McKelvin said. "(Stuff) happens, in the game but you've still got to overcome it."
This isn't the first time McKelvin has had a costly turnover. In Buffalo's 2009 season-opener, his fumble on a kickoff return contributed to the Patriots overcoming 11-point deficit in final 2:06 for 25-24 win.
McKelvin is already looking ahead to Miami.
"I ain't going to lose no sleep, man," he said. "I'm just going to take (myself) home, put myself to sleep and get ready to play the Dolphins and beat (them), point blank, period."
DEAD ZONE: The Bills' offense stalled after Orton capped the opening possession with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Chris Hogan.
Buffalo finished settling for two field goals, Bryce Brown losing a fumble, and turning the ball over on downs on four drives inside the Chiefs 20. Brown was three steps from the goal line when Kansas City defensive back Ron Parker punched the ball loose. The ball bounced into the end zone, where Chandler had it go off his fingers and out for a touchback.
Late in the third quarter, the Bills went ahead 13-3 by settling for Dan Carpenters's 21-yard field goal after Orton threw two incompletions from the Chiefs 3.
PICK ON PARKER: Parker didn't mind being targeted by the Bills. The fourth-year defensive back was in on eight tackles, forced Brown's fumble and then knocked down three passes in stopping the Bills on downs at Kansas City's 15. That included knocking down Orton's fourth-down pass to rookie Sammy Watkins at the 1.
"I didn't really feel picked on," Parker said. "If they want to make a play, then they will go to their go-to guy (Watkins). I was prepared and ready for anything."
BY THE SACKFUL: Marcell Dareus had three of Buffalo's six sacks to up the Bills' total to 34.
The Bills entered the game ranked second in the NFL with 28 sacks, and extended their streak to 22 games, seven short of matching the franchise record set from 1996-98. Mario Williams had a sack in his sixth straight game to match a career best set in 2007 when he was with Houston.
The Chiefs, who entered the game tied for third in the NFL with 27 sacks, were limited to one by tackle Dontari Poe.
DEJA VU: Dareus experienced a familiar sense of dread in watching the Chiefs rally to victory during their second consecutive visit to Orchard Park. Last year, Kansas City scored two second-half defensive touchdowns to overcome a 10-3 deficit in a 23-13 win.
"That was going through my head," Dareus said. "At the same time, it's a tough loss and we just have to overcome it."
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