Several demons are exorcised by the notion that the Bills avoided a quick Patrick Mahomes touchdown drive at the end of the game on Sunday to win. Had Mahomes again ripped apart the Buffalo secondary in a multiple of 13 seconds to steal the game, Bills head coach Sean McDermott would have been forced to acquire a quantity of purifying sage for Orchard Park that would have been too enormous for regular shipment.
Although it was a part of the Bills' psychological preparation for this week's game, we don't believe that they were able to stick to the cliché that their matchup with the Chiefs was just another game on their calendar. But it's not all about last year's events.
After thrashing the Rams in the season opener, beating the Titans by 34 points and the Steelers by 35 points, it's a safe guess that they were curious to discover how good they truly were. It's common knowledge that the Buffalo Bills are the best football team, but it's weeks like this one that solidifies the notion.
Both the Bills and Chiefs turned the ball over on their opening series, which was disturbingly similar. The Bills had no difficulty moving the chains to start the game, but Josh Allen‘s fumble on an option play in the red zone robbed them of an early scoring opportunity. Mahomes ultimately threw an interception to rookie cornerback Kaiir Elam in the end zone as the Chiefs marched down the field with no difficulty before stalling inside the red zone.
The Bills regained possession of the football and immediately resumed play, but fell short of the end zone. Tyler Bass kicked a 39-yard field goal to give his team an early lead. Things would remain abnormally drowsy until shortly before the halfway break.
As for the Chiefs, they struggled offensively against the Bills for the majority of the first half. The Chiefs punted from near their goal line after taking over on downs from the Bills following a disappointing 3-and-out drive, then they punted again after gaining only 10 yards of offence on their subsequent possession.
There were several instances during Sunday's game in which the Bills roster and coaching staff displayed maturity. The inclusion of particular players, like Von Miller, and the ability to alter the game plan when a key player was unsuccessful or having a bad week were crucial to their victory over the Chiefs. They are past the moments of quicksand that frequently grip a team when numerous uncalled penalties and sudden physical annoyances accumulate.
Buffalo was able to eliminate the Chiefs' running game, limit the damage done by Mahomes's favourite pass catcher (Travis Kelce), and force Mahomes into the slow-motion Matrix pose he typically assumes while under duress and on the run, just before a sidearm pass is intercepted by an opposing defender.
Mahomes was not as disoriented and aimless as he was in the Super Bowl LV defeat to the Buccaneers, but he was equally forced into extending plays that directly benefited the Bills' defence.
It is one thing to go all-in and simply stock a roster with enough talented players to dominate the division. It is quite another thing to construct oneself as the antithesis of one's most common adversary. Sunday at Arrowhead, the Bills demonstrated that they are the latter, which ultimately means much more than accumulating style points by keeping Mahomes from doing what he did to you a year ago.