Every season brings NFL teams a signature loss and win.
While there is no debating the Chiefs’ Week 1 inexplicable defeat to the Tennessee Titans qualifies as the former, Sunday’s comeback 17-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills applies to the latter.
An argument, of course, can be made for Week 7’s 23-20 win against the San Diego Chargers.
But the mental toughness displayed in a physical game against the Bills pushes Week 10’s effort as the signature victory at this point of the season.
The Chiefs (6-3) overcame a sluggish three quarters to score 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to push a winning streak to four games.
San Diego started the streak, while Week 10 continues the momentum heading into Week 11’s contest against the Seattle Seahawks.
Here are five highs and lows from Sunday:
• The Bills battered quarterback Alex Smith with six sacks and placed him under siege whenever he dropped back to pass. But he hung tough throughout the game. His passing numbers won’t reflect a masterpiece, as he completed 17-of-29 passes for 177 yards with no touchdowns. Where Smith came through surrounded his ability to remain cool under duress and by rushing for an 8-yard touchdown run, which proved the game-winning score. Smith finished the game with 25 yards rushing on four carries.
• Defensive back Ron Parker produced arguably his best game of the season with eight tackles (six solo), three passes defensed and a forced fumble. Parker stepped to the plate and delivered late in the fourth quarter when he broke up two passes with the Bills driving inside the Chiefs’ 20-yard line. Parker, who possesses 4.36 speed, shadowed Bills standout rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins for most of the contest.
• The Chiefs defense turned it up a notch in the turnover department against a Bills team that entered Sunday +7 in turnovers, which ranked fourth in the league. The Chiefs forced three turnovers on the Bills.
• On a day when yards were tough to come by, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe helped sustain drives with eight catches for 93 yards, both marking season highs, on 12 targets. Running back Jamaal Charles also came through in crunch time, scoring on a 39-yard touchdown run and finishing the game with 98 yards rushing on 15 carries.
• Rookie kicker Cairo Santos made a 10th straight field goal after booting a 36-yard field goal. He’s quietly gone 12-of-14 on the season after starting the year 2-4. He has made 85.7 percent of his field goal attempts and has 61 points on the year.
• Kanas City’s offensive line likely deserves some slack when considering the Bills possesses one of the NFL’s top defensive fronts. But allowing six sacks proved painful to observe.
• The Chiefs entered Week 10 ranked second in the league in third-down efficiency (51.9 percent), but managed to convert just 2-of-12 against the Bills. The inability to gain momentum led the Chiefs to also lose the time of possession battle 30:42 to 29:18. Still, the Chiefs won, so those areas can be overlooked for now given the competition.
• The biggest knock on running back Knile Davis coming out of college surrounded his propensity to fumble, and that area reared its ugly head Sunday when Davis lost a fumble. The second-year pro has two lost fumbles on the season after losing one all of last year.
• Rookie running back De’Anthony Thomas is electric and a threat to take it the distance on any given touch. Still, Thomas needs to know when to let the ball go into the end zone when fielding punts. Thomas fielded a punt inside the 5-yard line and couldn’t get beyond the 10. While that possession didn’t come back to haunt the Chiefs – they recovered a fumble following Dustin Colquitt’s punt – the NFL is a forever a battle of field position, and Thomas can’t start the offense in a bad spot.
• While the Chiefs take pride in getting playmakers involved, one player was noticeably absent until late in the game. Tight end Travis Kelce hauled in a key 13-yard reception for a first down to allow the Chiefs to chew time off the clock, but he was targeted only twice for the game. He made the most of the looks, recording two catches for 19 yards.