Bills vs Chiefs Week 5 Review: Allen Rains TDs in Stormy Kansas City

Bills vs Chiefs
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

How about these Buffalo Bills!?! Everyone had this Bills vs Chiefs Week 5 matchup circled on their calendars, and it delivered in a BIG way. Josh Allen vs Patrick Mahomes: Round 3 was a statement game for Buffalo. Allen played his best game of the season, scoring 4 touchdowns in a rainstorm to lead the Bills to a 38-20 victory.

The defense proved that they could be just as good against Mahomes as against their previous weaker opponents. There was no stopping Buffalo on Sunday night despite an hour-long weather delay and some downright awful officiating. Super Bowls aren’t won in October, but this game put the Bills in the driver’s seat to be the 1 seed in the AFC.

Key Takeaways from Bills vs Chiefs

The Good

Josh Allen

Allen finally met the moment and delivered an incredible performance in Kansas City. He marched down the field and scored a rushing touchdown on the first drive, then added 3 more through the air. He completed 15 passes for 315 yards, along with 8 rushes for 61 yards, excluding kneel-downs.

Despite the wind and rain, Allen was deadly with the deep ball. He had a perfect passer rating on throws more than 20 yards downfield, going 5/6 for 213 yards and touchdowns to Emmanuel Sanders and Dawon Knox. His 61-yarder to Stefon Diggs should have been a touchdown, too, but Diggs lost track of the safety and got caught celebrating.

His rushing output was vital to keep the offense moving. Of his 8 carries, 5 resulted in a first down or touchdown. When Josh Allen plays at this level, the Bills are unstoppable.

Dawson Knox

Dawson freaking Knox. The Bills drafted Knox as a long-term athletic project out of Ole Miss back in 2019. He showed flashes over his first two years but had a lot of growing pains too. Now he is the team’s leading touchdown scorer and one of Josh Allen’s favorite targets. He is one of the best athletes in the league at tight end and showed that on his 53-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.

Knox’s breakout is the biggest driver of the Bills’ offensive success this season. His presence prevents defenses from loading up on coverage players as Pittsburgh did. Keeping him on the field allows the run game and pass protection to flourish and maintains the threat of explosive pass offense.

Emmanuel Sanders

Sanders has been an absolute stud on the field this season. He has 329 yards and 4 touchdowns so far. His ability to uncover in the intermediate range is a perfect match for Allen’s biggest area of strength. Most importantly with Sanders, his maturity and experience has lifted the Bills locker room. The team was able to stay level-headed through the early lead and uncomfortable weather delay. Sanders was surely a big part of that mental strength.

Defense

This was a thoroughly dominant performance from the whole defensive unit. The Bills held the Chiefs to their lowest scoring output this season — without their best player, Matt Milano — and forced 4 turnovers. Patrick Mahomes completed 33 passes but only gained 272 yards through the air. Star weapons Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce could not make an impact for the majority of the game.

Jerry Hughes had 9 pressures, and rookie Greg Rousseau was a force in the run and pass game. Rousseau had a pivotal red-zone interception in which he used his length to tip a Mahomes pass to himself. Jordan Poyer tallied two pass breakups, and Micah Hyde intercepted a Tyreek Hill drop which he returned for a touchdown.

Newly-extended Taron Johnson led the team with 12 tackles and had a pass breakup as well. AJ Klein and Siran Neal filled in for Milano and performed admirably. The Bills didn’t blitz Mahomes once but still generated pressure and kept Mahomes flustered. This season, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier has been on an absolute tear, and Bills vs Chiefs Week 5 is just his latest masterpiece.

The Bad

Special Teams

Punter Matt Haack has been on the wrong side of average this season. He had one good punt but failed to flip the field in his other opportunities. Isaiah McKenzie fumbled a return attempt but luckily was able to jump back on the ball. The coverage unit allowed over 30 yards per return on kickoffs. Kicker Tyler Bass was a bright spot, but the unit was otherwise disappointing.

Missed Opportunities

Nothing came back to bite us, but the Bills left some points on the board early. After their first touchdown drive, the kick coverage unit forced a turnover. The offense took over in field goal range but moved backward and ultimately had to punt. Later in the first half, Stefon Diggs lost sight of the defender and got tackled celebrating on his deep reception. The offense stalled and kicked a field goal. Those are the kind of missed opportunities that usually lead to a loss against the Chiefs.

The Ugly

Weather

Buffalo has played back-to-back games in the pouring rain. They faced an hour-long rain delay in the Bills vs Chiefs Week 5 matchup on Sunday night. Nobody can control the weather, but the Bills can control if their stadium has a dome. Bad weather is an equalizer, so it’s not an advantage when we are the better team.

Officiating

The refs in this game thought they were the stars of the night. In total, this game saw 17 accepted penalties for 158 yards. The flags disproportionately hurt the Bills on Sunday night. There were multiple phantom holding penalties on our offensive line and defensive backs.

More egregious holds were routinely ignored when committed by Kansas City. Ed Oliver was called for roughing the passer on a critical fourth-down stop by the defense, but he was pushed by a Chiefs’ lineman directly into the legs of Mahomes. The Chiefs used the gift to score a touchdown on that drive. The officials called a hold on Mitch Morse on a Josh Allen first down run when they were trying to create a dagger drive to put the game out of reach. Video replay showed that Morse was not even engaged with any defenders on the play.

Everyone will point to a roughing the passer on Frank Clark the following play that negated a Josh Allen interception. He picked up Allen and drove him to the ground with all his body weight. It’s the correct call of a dumb rule, and if you want to nitpick that call, you have to acknowledge that the previous incorrect holding is the only reason that play ever happened.

What’s Next?

The Bills head to Nashville to take on the 3-2 Titans on Monday Night Football next week. The extra rest will be valuable after the emotional, extended Bills vs Chiefs Week 5 game. The Titans have been pretty disappointing this year, even dropping a game to the Jets. The Bills should take care of business without too much trouble, but they certainly won’t overlook this game.

Check back in later this week for the preview. Go Bills!

One Last Note

Some fans are starting to question how quiet Cole Beasley has been on the field the past two weeks. He also deactivated his Twitter after Sunday night which only increased the speculation. There is no reason to read into these things. Buffalo is all about catering the game plan to the opponent. The opportunities haven’t been there for Beasley lately, but he is still a valuable asset and his number will be called many more times this season.

As for Twitter, Beasley said last year that getting rid of social media allowed him to focus on the game and elevate his play. He has been hyper-focused on the vaccine issue and was frequently voicing his opinion on Twitter and fighting with people in the comments. He likely deactivated so that he can avoid the distraction and refocus on football. No need to panic just yet.

Once again, Go Bills!

Prize Picks

PrizePicks operates in EVERY US state and Canada EXCEPT for the following: AZ CO DE HI ID IN IA LA MD ME MS MO MT NV NH NJ OH PA TN VA WA.

  • Use promo code “ATB” to receive a 100% instant deposit match up to $100
  • PrizePicks is the simplest fantasy game on the market.
  • You pick 2-5 players and can win up 10x on any entry.
  • PrizePicks has no sharks, optimizers, or mass-multi entry (It’s just you vs. the projection).
  • Allows mixed-sport entries (You can take the OVER on Lebron parlayed with the UNDER on Mahomes).
  • PrizePicks has a slick easy to use mobile app, both on the App Store and Google Play

How to use PrizePicks:

Taron Johnson Buffalo Bills Sign 3-Year Extension

Taron Johnson Buffalo Bills
Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News

The Buffalo Bills announced that slot CB Taron Johnson signed a 3-year $24-million contract extension. His deal includes $14-million in guarantees and keeps him with the team through the 2024 season. Johnson was set to be a free agent this offseason when his rookie contract finished. The Buffalo Bills prevented that by making Taron Johnson one of the top paid players at his position.

Buffalo drafted Johnson out of Weber State in the 4th round of the 2018 draft. He claimed the starting slot job early in his rookie season and has held the job ever since. Johnson has consistently been one of the best slot corners in the league throughout his young career.

He became a fan favorite in the back half of the 2020 season when he returned an interception for touchdown to jumpstart the Bills victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Johnson then had a 101-yard pick-six to seal the Bills’ victory over the Baltimore Ravens in the 2020 divisional round.

He ranks 3rd on the team in tackles and 2nd in passes defensed since the start of last season. Johnson has played 74% of defensive snaps for the Bills so far this season. His PFF slot coverage grade this season is 77.7 which ranks 5th in the league among qualified defenders.

This extension continues a Bills trend of locking up their home grown talent with Matt Milano and Josh Allen also signing extensions this year. Fellow 2018 draft picks Tremaine Edmunds and Siran Neal could be the next Bills to receive extensions over the coming months and offseason.

Buffalo Bills Shutout Miami Dolphins – Week 2 Review

Bills shutout! The Buffalo Bills continued their dominance over the Miami Dolphins in Sunday’s Week 2 matchup at Hard Rock Stadium. I predicted a narrow win in the preview article with our Dolphins team but Buffalo had other ideas. The Bills earned their first shutout since 2016 in the 35-0 win. Coming into the game, there was a lot of noise about the Dolphins stepping up and challenging for the top spot in the AFC East. The Bills silenced that talk and proved they are still tiers ahead of their divisional opponent. This game got out of hand quickly with Buffalo bringing the pressure on defense and scoring with quick strikes on offense. Tua Tagovailoa took a hard hit from AJ Epenesa early in the game and never returned due to a rib injury. The Bills left a lot on the table on offense but still cruised to an easy victory. Buffalo now sits alone atop the AFC East where they hope to remain for the rest of the season.

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

The Good

Young Pass Rushers

This should be known as the “AJ Epenesa game”. Epenesa only played 34 snaps but recorded 9 pressures and 2 QB hits, one of which was the clean strike that forced Tua out of the game. He didn’t get the stats but his pressure directly led to 2 sacks and Levi Wallace’s interception. Epenesa was by far the Bills’ best pass rusher. As for this year’s top pick, Gregory Rousseau had 2 sacks in the stadium he called home in college. He led the Bills defensive ends in snaps against Miami and rewarded the team for showing that confidence in him. Rousseau’s length and motor were on full display as he cleaned up in the pass and run game. Epenesa and Rousseau led the Bills shutout effort with 9 and 8 pressures, respectively. The young duo complement each other well and give the Bills an exciting tandem for the future.

Taron Johnson

Johnson has arguably been the Bills best defender through the first 2 games. He played 61 defensive snaps, good for 4th most on the team. Johnson recorded 4 total tackles, 2 passes defensed, a forced fumble, and a sack. He has been playing on another level, earning praise from teammate Jordan Poyer who called him the “best nickel in the league”. Johnson is earning himself a big payday with this hot start to his contract year.

Leslie Frazier

Frazier coached a perfect game for his defense and deserves credit for the Bills shutout. The team was excellent at taking away the first read on every play and was creative with their blitz packages. Defensive linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs all got in on the fun with multiple sacks credited to each group. In total, the Bills forced 38 pressures and 6 sacks along with 3 turnovers and 2 stops on 4th down. This was a statement performance by the group and Coach Frazier.

Run Game

Devin Singletary went untouched on a 46 yard house call on the Bills second offensive play. He averaged over 6 yards per carry for a second straight week and looked good doing so. Zack Moss was active after being a healthy scratch last week. He fumbled early in the game but got a second chance and made the most of it. Moss punched in 2 touchdowns on hard fought runs that showcased his toughness and ability to run through contact. Josh Allen also had success on his 5 runs gaining 35 yards. The offensive line looked much better this week opening up lanes for the backs. Jon Feliciano had a notable bounce back performance after some people (me) called him a liability last week. I hope he continues to show out like he did in Miami.

The Bad

Passing Game

For an offense that scored 5 touchdowns they sure did struggle. After jumping to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, Buffalo had 6 straight drives end in zero points. The passing game was inconsistent and disappointing for a second straight week. Miami’s secondary is elite but that hasn’t stopped Josh Allen before. He finished with a stat line of 17/33 for 179 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception. Just as concerning as Allen’s play, Brian Daboll failed to adjust and give the offense a more favorable look. It’s not so bad that we should be panicking but it is a definite concern at this point that things look so out of sync. On a positive note, we won this game 35-0 so we know that the rest of the team can step up while they get things figured out.

The Ugly

NFL Taunting Policy

The NFL decided to put an emphasis on shutting down “taunting” this year. Not only is this penalty subjective and impossible to call consistently but it’s downright embarrassing that anyone in the NFL would want this. I’m a firm believer that if you don’t want the other team to celebrate, don’t get beat. NFL refs were throwing taunting flags at everything this week and taking a lot of great plays off the board. Levi Wallace played a hell of a game on Sunday but fell victim to this dumb rule. At the end of the first quarter, he made a perfect pass breakup on Devante Parker and celebrated while he was still overtop of Parker. This harmless act gave the Dolphins 15 yards and a first down. Luckily, Wallace got the last laugh with an interception just 2 plays later.

What’s Next?

Buffalo will head back home for a Week 3 matchup with the Taylor Heinicke led Washington Football Team. It’s a shame that Ryan Fitzpatrick is out but I hope he can still travel and receive a warm welcome in Buffalo. Vegas isn’t giving Washington much respect as 9.5 point underdogs but Sean McDermott knows better than to overlook Ron Rivera.

Check back in later this week for a Week 3 preview. Go Bills!

Bills Offense Can’t Stop Steelers Pass Rush – Week 1 Review

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Welp… Week 1 is in the books and the Buffalo Bills are 0-1. Pittsburgh’s defense was the star of the game, dominating the line of scrimmage en route to a 23-16 victory. Buffalo’s defense looked strong after a down 2020 season but the Bills offense was completely out of sync. The offensive line appears to be a much bigger issue than anyone predicted and could be an achilles heel all season. The Bills still looked in control for the first half despite their offensive struggles, carrying a 10-0 lead into halftime. The second half was a different story with the Steelers making big plays at the right times to take control. Pittsburgh’s offense was subpar but they did enough to win the game. They were helped by an elite defensive performance and a game-changing punt block touchdown.

The Good

Defense

Buffalo’s defense returned to the quality play we grew accustomed to in the pre-2020 McDermott era. The pass rush generated frequent pressure and forced Big Ben to get rid of the ball quickly. The run defense also had a strong game, holding 1st round RB Najee Harris to just 2.8 YPC on his 16 attempts. Harris routinely was met within two yards of the line of scrimmage and over half of his yards had to come after contact. The linebacker duo of Edmunds and Milano were much better at finishing tackles. The secondary was lights-out in coverage against an athletic group of receivers, holding the passing offense to 188 yards on over 30 attempts.

Taron Johnson

Johnson was so good he deserves his own section. He led the team with 7 tackles and added 2 passes defensed as well. He is in a contract year and was an absolute dog against Pittsburgh. Arrow is pointing up on the slot corner.

Tyler Bass

Bass picked up where he left off last year and was perfect on the day with an extra point and makes of 25, 37, and 42 yards.

Devin Singletary and Dawson Knox

Two players that fans love to hate, Singletary and Knox were the best players on the Bills offense. Singletary had 72 yards on 11 carries and created chunk plays with ease. He clearly has the confidence of the coaching staff who chose to make Zack Moss a healthy scratch for the contest. Singletary’s shiftiness and yard creation is exactly what this team needs to have an efficient run game. Dawson Knox was dependable and did well with everything he was asked to do. He was a solid security blanket and used his physicality to buy extra yards on dump offs. On one play, he caught a 2 yard check down and powered through 2 defenders to convert a 3rd and 10. Tight end isn’t a focal point of the offense but it was great to see positive contributions from the position.

Return Game

Isaiah McKenzie opened the game with an electric kick return that put the Bills in field goal range. He was shaken up on a fair catch but returned to the game and helped the Bills offense with field position. He was sure handed which is the biggest plus given his history of fumbling. With McKenzie and rookie Marquez Stevenson (short-term IR), Buffalo has 2 speed threats that can flip field position on special teams.

The Bad

Offense

Brian Daboll put together a bad game plan, simple as that. There was no design to minimize the mismatch on the interior line, allowing Cam Heyward to pressure Allen 11 times. Singletary was our best offensive player but was only given 11 carries. Josh Allen was clearly out of sync with his receivers but instead of calling some “get right” plays we forced unsuccessful QB draws and gadget plays. Allen was off on way too many throws. He missed a wide open Emmanuel Sanders, overthrowing the deep ball by a few yards. The Bills’ usually reliable receiving corps also hurt the team with drops. After a poor showing last year, TJ Watt lived in the Bills’ backfield and routinely disrupted plays. The Bills offense deserves all the scrutiny after this performance.

4th Down Decisions

McDermott was surprisingly aggressive on 4th downs last year but his decision making was erratic this game. His decisions are shown in the table below. He made overly safe decisions in clear go situations in the first half and then chose not to kick the field goal on a 4th and 8. That decision started the decline and opened the door for Pittsburgh to mount their comeback. In the 4th quarter he correctly chose to try a 4th and inches but ran a poorly executed backwards pass to Breida that lost 7 yards. Josh Allen is 6’5″ and could easily have gained the yard on a sneak. These inconsistent decisions really hurt the Bills offense and contributed to the loss.

Benching Moss

Zack Moss hasn’t shown anything special since he was selected in the 3rd round last year. That said, he is still an exceptional pass blocker. Knowing the opponent and our own team, Moss was an obvious choice to keep active to help support pass blocking. Buffalo opted to go with Breida at RB2 who did nothing to help the Bills offense. This move was a real head scratcher and Moss was openly upset about it on Twitter.

The Ugly

Penalties

Buffalo finished with 8 penalties costing them 81 yards. The offensive line was called for holding on 4 plays with Dion Dawkins earning 2 of those. Levi Wallace was called for both holding and pass interference, although the PI was questionable. Tre White had an interception called back on a phantom holding. I wish the calls would’ve been less one-sided but the team earned the scrutiny they received. There were other infractions by the offensive line that were declined by Pittsburgh. McDermott was clearly upset with the penalty issues from his team.

Fumbles

Josh Allen fumbled twice, continuing a problem that has always followed him. He only lost one but he palms the ball like Shady McCoy which increases the chances of losing the ball. Singletary also fumbled twice which is a chronic issue for him but at least none of those were lost. When the offense is stumbling, shooting ourselves in the foot is the last thing we need.

Offensive Line

The line was so bad that it deserves to be called out again. The Steelers pressured Allen 24 times with 11 of those coming less than 2.5 seconds after the snap. They hit Allen 8 times, 5 of which came from TJ Watt. Neither tackle could handle their assignment. Dion Dawkins looked out of shape which was a concern given his Covid case. The interior was even worse. Jon Feliciano was our worst player in the playoff loss to Kansas City and we rewarded him with $6M per year. He was terrible again today, allowing Cam Heyward to destroy our offense. I expect our tackles to figure it out and be a strength this season but the interior will continue to be a major weakness.

What’s Next?

Up next, our Buffalo Bills travel to Miami to take on the current division leaders. Josh Allen has played his best football against the Dolphins so hopefully the Bills offense bounces back with a strong performance. The Dolphins offense has speed and QB Tua Tagovailoa is trending up. The defense will need to have another strong showing. This loss is just one game so there’s no need to panic yet. The Steelers silenced the doubters and the Bills had a reality check. McDermott preaches responding to adversity and I expect this team do exactly that.

Look out for our Week 2 preview coming later this week. On to Miami!

Buffalo Bills vs Pittsburgh Steelers Week 1 Preview

Overview

The Buffalo Bills open their season at home on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is the third consecutive season playing the Steelers who lead the all-time series 16-11. Buffalo has gotten the best of Pittsburgh in each of the last two meetings, both with serious playoff implications. Expectations this season are much higher for Buffalo than Pittsburgh. The Bills have the 3rd best odds to lift the Lombardi next February after appearing in the AFC Championship game last year. Pittsburgh is projected to finish outside the playoff field as the Big Ben era nears its end. While the Steelers aren’t considered a top team anymore, they still present a great Week 1 challenge.

Photo by: Adrian Kraus/AP

Buffalo Breakdown

Brandon Beane was able to keep the majority of last year’s roster intact. He was able to extend or re-sign key players in RT Daryl Williams, LB Matt Milano, G Jon Feliciano, CB Levi Wallace, and WR Isaiah McKenzie. He replaced John Brown with Emmanuel Sanders to upgrade the receiver group. NVP Mitchell Trubisky signed a 1 year deal to backup Josh Allen who signed a $250M contract. On defense, Buffalo spent their first two picks on pass rushers and signed Efe Obada to the group too. Star Lotulelei returns from his opt out season although will be kept out for injury on Sunday. The most important part of the Buffalo Bills offseason was retaining Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll. A popular head coach candidate, Daboll gets another season with Allen to build on last year’s elite passing output.

State of the Steelers

Pittsburgh started last year 11-0 then dropped 5 of their last 6 games. Division rival Cleveland beat them in Week 17 and then ended their season in a Wild Card blowout. This offseason, they tore down the offensive line and brought in rookies who will start at C and LT. They signed veteran guard Trai Turner who they hope can return to solid play. They selected Alabama RB Najee Harris in the first round to be the new focal point of the offense. Second round pick Pat Freiermuth should split starter reps at TE. Their WR group is deep with complementary talents. Big Ben claims to be fully recovered from his elbow injury that affected him last year. The defense still looks strong. T.J. Watt just signed a contract deservedly making him the highest paid defensive player in the NFL. Melvin Ingram and Alex Highsmith complete a strong top 3 pass rush rotation. Their defensive interior remains a top unit lead by Cam Heyward. A potential weakness is their CB depth after they released starter Steven Nelson. This season will come down to the offensive line and quality of Big Ben’s arm.

Key Matchups

Bills DL rotation vs Steelers inexperienced OL

Rookies Greg Rousseau and Boogie Basham join a deep rotation that finished 6th in pressure rate last year. The Steelers are weak at tackle, especially at LT where rookie Dan Moore will start. The Bills will rotate their linemen heavily and exploit that inexperience. Last year, Ben Roethlisberger had the fastest average time to throw and 10th lowest average depth of target. They likely want to focus more on pounding the rock and taking deep shots but Buffalo’s defensive line can ruin those plans by getting quick pressure and filling their gaps on run defense.

Steelers IDL vs Bills weak IOL

Chris Jones dominated the Bills interior offensive line in the AFC Championship and the offense couldn’t adjust. They did not make any big moves to address this weakness, even opting to re-sign G Jon Feliciano. The Steelers boast arguably the best interior defensive line in the NFL and could wreak havoc on Buffalo’s biggest offensive weakness. Josh Allen needs better protection from his guys or this could prove to be a fatal flaw in Week 1.

Bills LBs vs Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth

The Bills defense regressed last year and was especially weak in two areas: run defense and covering tight ends. The Steelers invested their first round pick in RB Najee Harris and their second round pick in TE Pat Freiermuth. Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano both missed tackles at a concerning rate last year. They will have a big challenge containing these threats and limiting big runs.

Chase Claypool vs Levi Wallace

The Buffalo safeties will probably help prevent this one on one matchup but it is something to look out for. Wallace is a dependable, intelligent CB but he has very poor athleticism. Claypool had a stellar rookie season and is a size speed mismatch for anyone covering him. If he draws single coverage against Wallace, he could easily score.

Prediction

I expect this game to be fought hard in the trenches. Buffalo will pass early and often hoping to build a lead fast. Pittsburgh will aim to control the game by running with Harris. The first half should be a close fought battle but the Bills offense will take over in the second half. Once a lead is built, the Bills pass rushers will pin their ears back and force Ben into sacks or mistakes. The Buffalo Bills will prove the hype is real.

Final

Buffalo Bills 31
Pittsburgh Steelers 17

Best Value Bet

Most sportsbooks handicap this game at Buffalo -6.5 with a total of 48. I think the clear answer is taking Buffalo with the points in their home opener. This team is at least a touchdown better than Pittsburgh before you factor in the impact the Bills Mafia will provide.