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Chiefs' season slipping away with home loss to Bills

Rookie cornerback Tre'Davious White intercepted Alex Smith in the two-minute drill, preserving a 16-10 victory for the Buffalo Bills over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 12. Here's what we learned in Sunday's action:

  1. Averaging nearly 33 points per game while bedeviling defenses with college spread concepts sprinkled into his West Coast attack, Andy Reid was the toast of the league until the Steelers broke his offense in Week 6. Over the past six games, defenses have turned to Cover-2 looks, adjusting to Reid's diverse formations and exotic array of run-pass options, fake jet sweeps, shovel passes and misdirection plays. A downtrodden Bills defense hemorrhaging 45 points per game over the past three weeks held the Chiefs to just one first down in the first half Sunday, the fewest surrendered by Buffalo before halftime since 2001. Albert Wilson's 19-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the second half ended a Kansas City drought of seven quarters and an overtime period without reaching the end zone. For all of those woes, Alex Smith had two chances at season-defining drives in a 16-10 game only to misfire on fourth-and-4 at the three-minute mark and toss the comeback attempt away with the White interception.
  1. How big was this win for Buffalo? Since 1990, teams with a 6-5 record through 11 games reach the playoffs 45.2 percent of the time. That figure drops precipitously to 13.0 percent for teams that start out 5-6. That's why last week's premature decision to bench Tyrod Taylor for raw rookie Nathan Peterman left so many observers scratching their heads. As frustrating as Taylor might be for his penchant of going off script and leaving throws on the field, he's effective enough to keep the Bills competitive in a wide open AFC wild-card field. Taylor's performance at Arrowhead Stadium won't wow anyone, but he shepherded the offense by hitting Charles Clay and Zay Jones for big plays en route to four scoring drives. At the very least, Taylor will keep the offense from imploding as the Bills chase their first postseason appearance of the 21st century.
  1. Although Smith deserves credit for sacrificing his body at the first-down sticks four times in the past two weeks, that won't prevent the hometown faithful from calling for talented first-round rookie Patrick Mahomes as the season threatens to slip away. The out-of-character downfield strikes that vaulted Smith into the October MVP discussion have evaporated, resulting in an aerial "attack" that has gone increasingly horizontal. The root of the problem might just be a stillborn running game that has lost Reid's confidence, as early-season sensation Kareem Hunt's averages have plummeted from 122 rushing yards per game and 6.3 yards per carry over the first five weeks to 47 and 3.2, respectively, over the past six contests. Even with the recent slump, Kansas City's scorching start and soft late-season schedule seemed to guarantee a postseason berth. That's no longer the case for a backsliding offense that has managed just one touchdown in its last 28 possessions. Judging by the past month's action, the Chargers have overtaken the Chiefs as the class of the AFC West.
  1. Bills kicker Steven Hauschka pushed a 52-yard field goal wide right, ending his record-setting streak of 13 consecutive conversions over 50 yards. Lest anyone think that miss might mess with Hauschka's head, he drilled a 56-yarder entering halftime and nailed a 49-yard field goal in the third quarter. He's been one of the league's premier special teams weapons this season.
  1. As dysfunctional as Smith's offense has been of late, Reid never considered pulling his starter and won't make a switch for next week's bout versus the frisky Jets. "That's not where I am at right now," Reid said after the loss, when asked about a potential quarterback change.
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