Chiefs hold off Bills for fifth straight win
KANSAS CITY, MO. — The Kansas City Chiefs kept ignoring questions about the playoffs all week, even though Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills really was a matchup of wildcard contenders.
It's going to be harder to ignore the postseason chatter now.
Alex Smith threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns, Spencer Ware ran for 114 yards and another score, and the Chiefs beat the Bills 30-22 for their fifth straight victory — one that solidifies their spot in the playoff chase with five games left in the regular season.
"We're not really worried about all that," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "We just got over .500, think about that. All that stuff, if you keep knocking out the fundamentals and techniques, you don't worry about that other stuff."
One thing they don't have to worry about? The head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bills.
"We made it tough on ourselves," Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor said, "but we've just got to take it week by week, day by day. Maintain a hungry attitude."
Jeremy Maclin had nine receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown for Kansas City (6-5). Travis Kelce also caught a touchdown pass, while Cairo Santos hit three field goals.
The Bills (5-6) had a chance for a tying touchdown Sunday when they took over at their own 10 with 3:25 left. But after picking up a quick first down, Taylor was knocked out of bounds short of the marker on fourth-and-9 with 2:16 left, allowing the Chiefs to put the game away.
Taylor had 291 yards passing and three touchdowns, but he was mostly held in check in the second half. So was Sammie Watkins, who had all six catches for 158 yards and his two touchdowns over the first 30 minutes.
"We didn't get the job done," Watkins said. "We've got to put the nail in the coffin when we play great teams like this. You give them a chance and let them live, they start making plays — their defense starts making plays. We've got to put them away."
Both teams sustained a rash of injuries as rain lashed Arrowhead Stadium all afternoon.
All-Pro linebacker Justin Houston was tripped by his Chiefs teammate in the first half and did not return with a knee injury. Left tackle Eric Fisher hurt his neck while center Mitch Morse sustained a concussion, and neither made it back onto the field.
Reid said the extent of all of them would not be known until Monday.
Bills running back Karlos Williams hurt his shoulder, while defensive lineman Alex Carrington — starting with Mario Williams and Kyle Williams out — was carted off with a right knee injury.
The first half amounted to a showcase for Taylor and Watkins.
They connected for a 48-yard reception on the game's opening drive to set up Dan Carpenter's 27-yard field goal. Then, two series later, Watkins ran away from coverage for a 28-yard touchdown reception that gave Buffalo a 10-0 lead.
Watkins added a 33-yard reception later in the first half, shucking Chiefs safety Ron Parker in the process, to set up his own 21-yard touchdown reception over Sean Smith's flailing arms.
"Hey," Smith said, "those guys get paid, too."
The Chiefs answered by airing it out themselves.
Alex Smith hit Maclin for 37 yards early in the second quarter to set up Ware's short TD run, and then found Maclin for a 41-yard touchdown reception to get within 16-14 at the half.
He beat Bills cornerback Ronald Darby, who just returned after undergoing concussion tests.
Kansas City took its first lead on a 15-yard touchdown pass to Kelce early in the second half, and Santos knocked through a 49-yard field goal to make it 24-16, before Taylor answered for Buffalo with a short touchdown pass to LeSean McCoy later in the third quarter.
Santos kicked his second field goal early in the fourth, then capped a 13-play drive that took 6 minutes, 31 seconds with a 37-yarder with 3:30 left that helped put the game away.
"It was a huge game," Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said. "We knew this was going to be an old-school fight, an in-the-back-alley-type deal. We came ready to play."
NOTES: McCoy had 70 yards rushing and 31 yards receiving for the Bills to surpass 10,000 yards from scrimmage for his career. ... Kansas City honored Hall of Fame offensive lineman Will Shields during halftime. ... Taylor had 151 yards passing in the first quarter. ... Alex Smith has now thrown 283 passes without an interception.
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