- Adam Teicher, ESPN Staff Writer
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What it means: The Chiefs moved to 9-0 and, more importantly, guaranteed they will head to Denver for their Nov. 17 showdown with the Denver Broncos with no worse than a one-game lead in the AFC West. The 7-1 Broncos had a bye Sunday and will play the Chargers in San Diego next Sunday.
Stock watch: The once-productive pass rush continues to be ineffective. The Chiefs, who lead the NFL with 36 sacks, failed to get to Buffalo rookie quarterback Jeff Tuel. The Chiefs tackled as poorly as they have all season in allowing more than 200 rushing yards to C.J. Spiller and the Bills. Dexter McCluster dropped a deep pass when he was uncovered and could have scored a touchdown. Rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper was beaten deep for a touchdown in the first half by Marquise Goodwin, but made up for it in the fourth quarter when he punched the ball lose from T.J. Graham. Tamba Hali recovered the fumble and returned it for the touchdown that put the Chiefs ahead 20-13.
Offensive futility: The Chiefs had fewer than 200 yards until late in the game, and managed just three field goals offensively. Alex Smith completed 19 of 29 passes, but for just 124 yards. Both of Kansas City’s touchdowns were scored by the defense. Hali’s score came early in the fourth quarter. A bigger play came early in the third quarter. With the Bills ahead 10-3 and on the Kansas City 2, Tuel threw an ill-advised pass into coverage that was intercepted by Sean Smith, who returned it 100 yards for the tying touchdown. Tuel had wide receiver Stevie Johnson open in the end zone on the play, but apparently didn’t see him.
What’s next: The Chiefs are on their bye, and they’ll need to benefit from the break. When they return to game action, they’ll head into the meaty part of their schedule. Two of their next three games will be for AFC West supremacy against the Denver Broncos. Sandwiched in between is a game with another division rival, the San Diego Chargers.
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