Inside The Bills

Chiefs inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2014 – 11:51 am

Here are the inactives for the Chiefs for their game with the Bills.

QB Aaron Murray
WR Donnie Avery
CB Jamell Fleming
S Daniel Sorensen
C Eric Kush
OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
LB/DE Josh Martin


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Bills know this one is a biggie

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2014 – 11:08 am

There have not been a whole lot of critical games for the Bills in the second half of the season in recent years, but today’s matchup with the Chiefs is certainly one of them. And that fact is not lost on the men in Buffalo’s locker room.

With both teams at 5-3 on the season and an opportunity to have a head-to-head edge over another AFC playoff contender in a game on your home turf, the Bills know the magnitude of today’s game.

“This is a very important quarter for us,” said Aaron Williams. “Any AFC game is going to be very important. But like coach says every day it’s only one game at a time. We’re really focused on Kansas City and nothing else. With that being said we’re going to work each and every day to get our record better. We have to come out here and take care of our responsibilities and be very fundamentally sound.”

“With those guys, they have a good scheme, good players,” said Kyle Williams. “It’s going to be a big test for anybody, especially for us coming in here with a big AFC game. We take each week for what it’s worth and this week we have a big challenge.”

 


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Chiefs offense a model of efficiency

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2014 – 9:11 am

The Chiefs offense isn’t going to wow anyone with game breaking plays, but they will methodically march down the field en route to putting points on the board. Kansas City head coach Andy Reid has his offense executing at an extremely high level this season.

The Chiefs are ranked second in third down conversions (52%), first in third and long conversions (45.5%), third in average number of plays per drive (8.91) and second in number of drives that chew up five minutes of game clock or more (17). In addition they are fourth in fewest fumbles lost with three, first in fewest penalties called against them (39) and fourth in red zone touchdown efficiency (70.4%).

In short Kansas City is not a team that’s going to beat themselves, which puts an onus on the Bills to play error free football on Sunday.

“This team is extremely efficient,” said head coach Doug Marrone in his weekly Coffee with the Coach segment on Buffalobills.com. “They’re not going to beat themselves. We’re going to have to play well in all three phases to beat this team. When you see their offense, defense and special teams playing that way it’s going to take all three phases of our team to beat them. That’s our challenge. We’ll have a good sense of where we are.”


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Report: Optimism for Jackson & Watkins

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2014 – 7:20 am

Sammy Watkins wasn’t able to practice all week. Fred Jackson was limited in practice in his attempt to return to game action. Both players are listed as questionable for today’s game against the Chiefs, but there are reports now that the Bills are optimistic that the two offensive playmakers will be able to dress for the game today.

That according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Albert Breer.

If both are able to suit up it’s unclear how limited or extensive their roles would be. Buffalo does have some capable depth at running back in the form of Boobie Dixon and Bryce Brown. Watkins’ role could be spelled somewhat by Mike Williams, who is the most comparable physical talent on Buffalo’s roster, should Watkins be unable to handle a full workload. Again that’s if they do in fact dress for today’s game at all.


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Defending home field has to be better

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2014 – 1:45 pm

The Bills have talked a lot amongst themselves about defending their home field. In the first half of the season they were a pedestrian 2-2 at home and 1-2 against AFC clubs. With four home games left on the schedule, three of which are against AFC teams including Kansas City Sunday, Buffalo’s players and coaches know home field must become a bigger advantage in the second half of the season.

“We’ve played phenomenal clubs, but at the same time a home game has to be our advantage,” said Aaron Williams. “We’ve got to protect our house. We haven’t done a real good job of that lately, but I think this quarter with three of the four games here it’s very important for us to win at home. We win all the road games and that’s great, but home games are special for the fans and for our momentum down the road.”

“When you get yourself in a situation where you have the third quarter (of the season) starting and three of the four being home games with the first one being Kansas City at home being extremely important,” said head coach Doug Marrone.

When asked about being a home underdog again with the Chiefs favored on Sunday, Marrone said he was not surprised in light of their .500 record at home.

“It’s going to be that way until we prove we can go out there and win on a consistent basis and we haven’t,” he said. “I’m not upset with anyone.  Do you need it as motivation?  I think these guys go out there every day and they understand what we have to prove each day.”


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Chiefs’ Alex Smith at his best of late

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2014 – 10:19 am

He was a cast off in San Francisco, but Chiefs head coach Andy Reid believed he could win with Alex Smith and if the veteran QB continues playing the way he has of late Kansas City will stay right in the AFC playoff race.

The Chiefs come into Buffalo hot this weekend, winners of their last three in a row and five of their last six. They’re also 3-0 against the AFC East this season. Their offense has been remarkably efficient this season and Smith is a big reason why.

Inside the opponent’s 30-yard line he has the highest passer rating in the league at 120.8. Yes, the Chiefs are a run first team by all accounts, but Smith has been an effective complement. Kansas City is the second-most successful third down conversion team in football (52%), and in the red zone they’re even better. Smith has the Chiefs’ attack converting third down in the red zone at a clip of 68.8 percent, also good for second best in the NFL.

“He’s probably one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the game right now,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “They do such a great job of rushing the football and the short passing game that they’re never behind in the sticks, meaning it’s 2nd-and-5 or 2nd-and-6 or 3rd-and-2. You’ve got to get them off pace and that’s difficult to do.”

In his last six games Smith has completed 71 percent of his passes with 10 TDs and one interception and a passer rating of 109. Smith’s teams are 21-1-1 when he has a passer rating of 100 or better.


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Chiefs to be short at CB again

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2014 – 4:14 pm

The Kansas City Chiefs have been nicked up in their secondary for a while now, and though they’re expected to get S Eric Berry back in the lineup they’re going to be shorthanded at cornerback Sunday against the Bills.

Starting CB Jamell Fleming is out this week with a hamstring injury. A couple of their reserve corners are also less than 100 percent with Chris Owens and Phillip Gaines both questionable with knee and ankle injuries respectively.

The Chiefs were hoping to have WR Donnie Avery make a return to the lineup, but he is out for another week with a groin injury.

Player Pos Injury Game Status
Jamell Fleming CB Hamstring Out
Jerry Franklin LB Hamstring Out
Josh Martin LB Hamstring / Knee Questionable
Tamba Hali LB Knee Probable
Donnie Avery WR Groin Out
Chris Owens CB Knee Questionable
Eric Berry S Ankle Probable
Phillip Gaines CB Ankle / Quad Questionable
Cyrus Gray RB Hand Probable
Junior Hemingway WR Hamstring Probable
Travis Kelce TE Ribs Probable
Sean Smith CB Groin Probable

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Chiefs CB Smith added to injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2014 – 5:26 pm

The Kansas City Chiefs Thursday injury report saw a couple of additions. Starting CB Sean Smith was a full participant, but was added with a groin injury. Special teams LB Frank Zombo was also added, but for non-injury reasons.

Starting S Eric Berry looks ready to return to the lineup from an ankle injury as he was a full participant for the second straight day. Starting CB Jamell Fleming however, has not been able to practice yet this week.

Player Pos Injury Participation Thursday
Jamell Fleming CB Hamstring DNP
Jerry Franklin LB Hamstring DNP
Josh Martin LB Hamstring / Knee DNP
Tamba Hali LB Knee LP
Donnie Avery WR Groin LP
Chris Owens CB Knee LP
Eric Berry S Ankle FP
Phillip Gaines CB Ankle / Quad FP
Cyrus Gray RB Hand FP
Junior Hemingway WR Hamstring FP
Travis Kelce TE Ribs FP
Sean Smith CB Groin FP
Frank Zombo LB Non-Injury Related LP

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Orton wary of Chiefs aggressive ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2014 – 1:15 pm

The Kansas City Chiefs boast a defense that ranks second in points allowed and third in sacks and fifth overall. Bills QB Kyle Orton has a healthy amount of respect for what the Chiefs defense is capable of after watching their game tape this week.

“They play great, clean defense,” Orton said. “Obviously the corners, the secondary plays aggressively. The quarterback doesn’t have a ton of time to hold on to the ball obviously with the edge rushers. The linebackers do a great job of being physical with the halfbacks, not giving easy throws to the halfbacks and they play an aggressive style of defense. We’re going to have our work cut out for us.”

Orton sees Sean Smith as a tough corner to beat in the pass game because he’s so big and physical.

“Good player. Anytime you’ve got a corner with great length, it really limits your throws,” said Orton. “Really closes and makes the window you have to throw into a lot smaller. He’s got good ball skills, does a good job playing press coverage. He does a great job with playing with vision on the quarterback and for a big guy, he’s got good feet.”


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Bills-Chiefs officially a sell out

Posted by Chris Brown on November 6, 2014 – 1:07 pm

The Bills have announced that Sunday’s home game versus the Kansas City Chiefs is sold out. Sunday’s game is sponsored by the New York National Guard, and a former Bills wide receiver will serve as Leader of the Charge.

Former Bills wide receiver Eric Moulds (1996-2005) will serve as the Leader of the Charge. It’s also the first home game to kick off Salute to Service month.


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Hali headlines Chiefs injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on November 5, 2014 – 5:48 pm

The Chiefs injury report  has had a good number of defensive players on it for most of the season. The situation is no different for Kansas City this week. LB Tamba Hali has a knee injury and was limited in practice. Kansas City’s secondary is also nicked up with starting CB Jamell Fleming not practicing due to a hamstring injury and reserve CB Chris Owens is battling a knee injury. S Eric Berry however, might be healthy enough to return to the lineup as he’s trying to come off an ankle injury.

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday
Jamell Fleming CB Hamstring DNP
Jerry Franklin LB Hamstring DNP
Josh Martin LB Hamstring / Knee DNP
Tamba Hali LB Knee LP
Donnie Avery WR Groin LP
Chris Owens CB Knee LP
Eric Berry S Ankle FP
Phillip Gaines CB Ankle / Quad FP
Cyrus Gray RB Hand FP
Junior Hemingway WR Hamstring FP
Travis Kelce TE Ribs FP

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Bills know 3rd qtr of season critical

Posted by Chris Brown on November 4, 2014 – 2:47 pm

With eight AFC teams 5-3 or better including the Bills, the players in Buffalo’s locker room know November is the time to make a move in the standings and separate yourself from the rest of the pack if you’re going to stake a claim on a playoff berth.

Bills WR Sammy Watkins is hoping they can put together a strong third quarter of the season after going 3-1 in the second quarter.

“We’ve got to finish this quarter 4-0 or 3-1,” Watkins said. “So we’ve got to keep being consistent and stay in tune and keep on pushing through.”

Watkins spent his bye week with family, but did make a point of watching the Chiefs-Jets game last Sunday.

“I watched a little bit. They played pretty good on defense,” he said. “They’ve got some linebackers that can run and their secondary is pretty athletic and big. So we’ve just got to come out and be physical and threaten them.”

All four of Buffalo’s opponents in the third quarter of the season are from the AFC.

 


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Dixon pumped for playoff push

Posted by Chris Brown on November 4, 2014 – 11:15 am

He’s been part of runs to the postseason before. Now with the Bills and perched at 5-3 in the thick of the AFC playoff race RB Boobie Dixon is getting excited.

“It’s going to be crucial,” said Dixon of the next stretch of games. “It’s crunch time. I’ve been in it before so I know how it feels. I’m just excited it’s that time of year. This is what you practice for. This is what you train in the offseason for. It’s about to be fun.”

Dixon knows the next two teams they face in the Chiefs and Dolphins also have 5-3 records, and believes that will factor into the intensity of each of their next two outings.

“Yeah, definitely. When you’ve got a winning record, teams are looking to earn their stripes against you,” he said. “They’re looking to put forth their best effort so that they can feel some type of way about themselves. When you win that one game you know the next one has more emphasis on it. It gets bigger and bigger.”

Dixon isn’t worried about playing two games in a five-day stretch knowing the Miami game quickly follows the Chiefs game on the road on a Thursday night.

“I’m feeling great. You just embrace the challenge,” he said. “This is a game we all love and grew up playing as game. Two games in 10 days. You just embrace the challenge. It’s going to be fun. We’re playing football. This is what we love to do, so let’s strap it up and play.”


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Bills gained yards, but not the ‘W’

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 10:26 pm

It’s not often that a team rolls up 470 yards of offense and comes out on the short end of the stick, but as head coach Doug Marrone stated, it always comes down to turnovers first. Still, it was hard to ignore the yardage differential between the two offenses Sunday.

The Bills, as mentioned gained 470 total net yards, while the Chiefs offense managed just 210. The 260-yard differential is the largest ever by Buffalo in a loss. The previous high was 253 yards in a 31-17 loss at Tampa Bay back in the 2000 season (433 yards to 180 yards).

The major discrepancy was on the ground. Buffalo rolled up a season-high 241 rushing yards while the Chiefs managed just 95. The 146-yard differential there is the second-highest in a loss in team history, behind only a 184-yd. advantage (211-27) vs. Denver all the way back in 1962, a 23-20 loss.


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Chiefs credit Bills attack, defense

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 5:53 pm

The Bills outgained the Chiefs by a better than 2:1 margin on Sunday, but did not come away with the win. Buffalo rolled up 470 totally net yards on Kansas City’s fifth-ranked defense, while the Buffalo defense surrendered just three field goals to the Chiefs offense. It had the Chiefs tipping their hat to the Bills.

“It was tough because you really didn’t know what they were going to come out and do,” said Chiefs defensive lineman Mike DeVito. “(Tuel) did a really good job out there staying poised and making some passes. They had us in the run game. We have to look at that and clean it up. You just had no idea what they were going to come out and do. It took us a while to get used to it.”

“They had two people on me sometimes and they were watching out for me, especially on the screen plays,” said Jamaal Charles, who had six catches for six yards. “They were hugging and they were playing the screen routes well and all the other routes well too.”

“I’ll tell you this, I think Doug (Marrone) is a heck of a coach,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. “He’s got a great staff and I knew they had a great defense coming in. If not the best one we’ve played thus far, surely one of the best ones. So I knew everybody was going to have to contribute, both sides of the ball and special teams. Everybody did that.”


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Tuel’s plan for Chiefs pass rush

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 12:05 pm

As Jeff Tuel gets set for his first NFL start today against Kansas City, he’s well aware of the Chiefs’ potent pass rush. Here’s how he intends to approach it in today’s game.

Job number one, avoid quarterback hits. Knowing that the quarterback depth chart is pretty much down to himself and Matt Flynn, Tuel knows he has to be quick with his decisions and not take on any unnecessary contact.

“Obviously they lead the league in sacks so they’re doing something right. They look really good on tape,” said Tuel. “We’ve got to have a great week of practice and just be prepared for that. I have to take care of myself because we’re down in quarterbacks so I’ve got to do whatever I can do to get down and do the necessary things. We’re not going to prepare any different because a team is undefeated or leading the league in sacks. So we’re just going to do our thing and continue to get better. “

A lot of three and five step drops are expected for Tuel today in the passing game, knowing Kansas City’s pass rush doesn’t allow for much success when teams try seven-step drop with their quarterback against them. The ball simply has to be out sooner than that.


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What Tuel learned vs. Browns

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 11:50 am

It wasn’t a performance that built a lot of faith in Jeff Tuel on the part of the fan base. His relief appearance in Week 5 at Cleveland wasn’t a good one. But Tuel feels he’s learned an awful lot from his first regular season NFL action and intends to improve on it today in his first NFL start.

“Really just going out there being under the lights and taking my first real official NFL snap helped,” said Tuel this week. “I mean you have a lot of adrenaline flowing you’ve got nerves and all that. I know how to handle it and prepare for it and you’ve got all these things, I just learned a lot about about myself and the system and operating it and not doing too much.”

Look for a quick passing game for Tuel today so he can get the ball out quickly to help neutralize Kansas City’s pass rush.


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Chiefs armed with consistent return men

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 10:02 am

It’s been the Kansas City defense that has grabbed most of the headlines in the Chiefs 8-0 start to the 2013 season, and to their credit they’ve been a very productive unit. Lost in the discussion is how dangerous Kansas City’s return men have been thus far this season.

One of the reasons Chiefs’ kick returner Quintin Demps and punt returner Dexter McCluster have not received more recognition is because they’ve got just one touchdown return this season, a ridiculous video game-like 89-yarder by McCluster .

While Demps (4.39 40-time) and McCluster haven’t taken many returns to the house they have put up some very solid return averages.

Demps average of 31.9 yards a kick return is good for fourth-highest in the NFL and second in the AFC. McCluster’s 10.8 yard punt return average is good for 8th in the NFL and 4th in the AFC.

Those averages have Kansas City ranked 7th in punt return and 5th in kick return average in the league. The Chiefs are one of only five teams in the NFL right now ranked in the top 10 in both return categories.

Part of the reason for their success is they try to take as many opportunities as they can. McCluster on 39-punt return attempts has taken just three fair catches, returning the other 36.

Demps is encouraged to take a kickoff out even if it’s nine-yards deep in the end zone, depending on ball location.

“It just comes from coaching,” Demps said. “(Special teams coordinator) Coach (Dave) Toub told us to be aggressive, me and Dex (McCluster). That’s what I’m doing, being aggressive, kind of the flow of the game. Sometimes I won’t bring it out, sometimes I will. A lot of times, we need a spark, so I bring it out, no matter what.”

 


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Chiefs have been great closers

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 8:19 am

There’s no question that the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs have had some close calls, but one thing that cannot be debated is that they are strong closers. In almost every instance this season they have come up with the big play when they need it.

Kansas City is among the league leaders with 20 total takeaways and a plus-12 takeaway-giveaway margin. Nine of their 20 turnovers however, have come in the fourth quarter. That’s almost half of their takeaways.

According to the Kansas City Star the Chiefs defense clamps down extra tight in the final stanza of games. The Star counted 17 times a KC opponent needed a fourth-quarter drive where a touchdown would tie or take the lead.

On those drives the Chiefs gave up a total of 13 first downs and three points, and forced six turnovers.

Per the Star, in Kansas City’s last four games they’ve given up a total of 255 yards in the fourth quarter, forced eight punts and cause five turnovers.

 


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KC offense not racking up big plays

Posted by Chris Brown on November 2, 2013 – 10:52 am

Kansas City’s offense has been steady this season, but far from spectacular. Their big play tally this season is below the league average.

Of their 542 plays from scrimmage on offense only 27 of them have gone for big plays (20 yards or more). That’s only five percent of their offensive plays.

Perhaps most surprising is RB Jamaal Charles, who is a home-run threat with the ball in his hands, has not delivered more big plays in the run game. The Chiefs rank 20th in big play run with just three. Charles’ longest run from scrimmage this season is just 24 yards.

Of all of Buffalo’s opponents Kansas City is the third-worst at turning in big plays. Cleveland and Carolina are the only clubs that have less pop in their offense.


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