Sunday, November 3, 2013

Bills deviate from run game late in loss to Chiefs


The Buffalo Bills' run game had a lot pressure on its shoulders in taking on an undefeated Kansas City Chiefs team with a legit run defense.

And by all accounts, the group exceeded expectations — at least when it was given the chance.

Through three quarters, Buffalo's running back duo of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson had amassed nearly 200 yards on the ground and had carried rookie Jeff Tuel to a tie game. As the fourth quarter unfolded, the Bills' rushing attack disappeared, and with it, its grasp on the game.

"We had about 240 something yards rushing on a good defense," Marrone said via following the 23-13 loss. "A defense that has been playing extremely well. It’s just the same thing. There were a lot of good things out there, I'm not going to stand up here and lie.

"There were a lot of good things. When you need to do it and you need to get it done, we just can’t seem to do that consistently and that hurts."

By our math, Buffalo had a straight 50/50 run-pass schematic in the first half. In the third quarter, the running plays increased, with an equal amount of success. By the fourth, however, the Bills all but abandoned the run, with Spiller and Jackson each seeing only one touch in the final quarter despite collaboratively averaging more than seven yards a carry.

Buffalo handed the ball off to the stellar tailback duo just twice on 19 final-stanza calls. Eight of the other calls were incomplete passes, and the rest were either short gains for scrambles or penalties. Another resulted in a fumble by receiver T.J. Graham that was converted into a Chiefs touchdown.

The biggest red flag came on the team's opening drive of the second half, where Buffalo worked its way into the red zone but failed to punch in a touchdown after two runs by Jackson. On third down, while leading 10-3, Tuel was picked off at the goal line by Sean Smith, who took the ball 100 yards for a touchdown. 

Jackson, who said he "without a doubt" wanted one more shot at the goal line scoring opportunity, pointed at the play as the turning point for the offense. 

"It was something we had to get over fairly quickly," Jackson said. "That’s something you don’t want to deal with, being down there and not only getting no points, but also giving them seven points. It’s something we just cannot do in that situation."

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