- “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Margaret Hungerford, 19th Century author and non-Chiefs fan.
- “You are what you are.” Bill Parcells, NFL coach and curmudgeon who never coached the Chiefs.
- “I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam.” Popeye the Sailor Man, vegetarian and rumored Chiefs fan.
In a game that won’t change the minds of any critics around the country, the Kansas City Chiefs played their worst game of the year Sunday and still came home with a 23-13 win over the Buffalo Bills and remain the league’s lone undefeated team at 9-0.
To paraphrase Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, the team isn’t the most beautiful thing in the world and they aren’t trying to win beauty contests, but they keep winning every week. And to paraphrase Bill Parcells, you are what your record says you are and by the ONLY measure that counts – wins and losses – the Chiefs are the top team in the league.
Kansas City used two touchdown returns on Buffalo turnovers in the second half to put away a Buffalo team that ran up and down the field all day, but with the exception of one play, couldn’t score a touchdown.
The Chiefs offense – the target of all the critics who say the team is a fraud – was outgained more than two to one by the Bills offense (470 total yards to KC’s 210), but did what they’ve done most of the year and played mistake-free football. Jamaal Charles was held in check most of the game until it mattered in the fourth quarter. Even Dwayne Bowe – a statistical missing person all year – chipped in seven catches for 67 yards with most of those being critical to keeping the few offensive drives the Chiefs had in the game moving.
Bills starter, Jeff Tuel, a rookie making his first NFL start, hit WR Marquise Goodwin for a 59-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter over Chiefs CB Marcus Cooper that put the Bills up 7-0 and continued the annoying habit the Chiefs defense has had of giving up one or two huge plays per game.
The Bills and Chiefs exchanged field goals in the second quarter and went to the locker room with Buffalo ahead 10-3. Unfortunately for KC, they let a golden opportunity for a touchdown get away when receiver Dexter McCluster dropped the easiest pass he’ll ever get as a professional at the Buffalo 30-yard line when Buffalo failed to cover him. Had he caught it, there was no doubt that the Chiefs offense would have had their own 56-yard scoring catch and a tie ball game at half.
It looked like McCluster’s mistake might have been the death knell for KC’s unbeaten season on the Bills opening drive of the second half. Bills RB C.J. Spiller took a handoff from Tuel on the Buffalo 20-yard line and wasn’t caught until 61 yards later when Chiefs corner Sean Smith saved a touchdown with a tackle at the Kansas City 19-yard line.
(Author’s note: It was at this point in the game that your Chiefs Examiner realized that he hadn’t had his lucky Diet Coke yet and quickly ran and got one. What follows may or may not have been a coincidence. It’s your call.)
Luckily for the Chiefs, Smith made the play of the game six plays later with Buffalo facing a 3rd-and-goal at the 1-yard line. The Chiefs corner stepped in front of a Tuel pass for an interception at the goal line and returned it 100 yards the other way for a Chiefs touchdown. The Bills faithful, who had been rocking and rolling like an Arrowhead crowd moments earlier in anticipation of going up 17-3 on the undefeated Chiefs, fell stunned into silence.
The Chiefs and Bills traded field goals again during the rest of the third quarter, Then, in what has been a familiar pattern to anyone that watched the Chiefs, the 4th quarter made up for the torment of the first three for Chiefs fans.
The teams were tied 13-13 when the KC defense made their second huge play of the game. On a 3rd-and-10 at the Buffalo 13-yard line, Tuel hit receiver T.J. Graham with a pass at the line of scrimmage, but Marcus Cooper stripped him of the ball and it bounced into the waiting hands of birthday boy, Tamba Hali, who rumbled untouched into the end zone for an 11-yard fumble return for a touchdown.
At that point, thousands of Bills fans in the stadium knew the game was probably over and hundreds of thousands of Chiefs fans watching on television just KNEW that their magical season would continue unblemished for at least a couple more weeks.
And once again, the offense which had played poorly all game, began picking up first downs and eating up the play clock. Again, it wasn’t sexy, but it was effective.
So Chiefs fans will have to bite their lips for the next two weeks while their team is on its bye week and let all the critics – both here at home and in the national media – chide the Chiefs as a fraud. You shouldn’t care.
Because YOUR team is 9-0 for only the second time in franchise history and the way things are going in this wacky NFL season, they just might have a two-game lead over every other team when they take the field against Denver on Nov. 17th.
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