What we learned from Monday doubleheader

Contenders converging at a Week 6 crossroads, the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills gathered on a rainy Monday afternoon, each of them coming off their first defeats and aiming to avoid their first losing streaks. An expected shootout never came to be due to soggy conditions and inspired defenses, but Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense got more than enough from Travis Kelce and Clyde Edwards-Helaire to emerge victorious, 26-17, over the suddenly struggling Bills.

Kansas City Chiefs 26, Buffalo Bills 17

1) A pair of teams with sky-high hopes coming off their first losses, an offensive showdown featuring Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen squaring off for the first time was atop the marquee. But upon an unfamiliar early Monday setting, rainy conditions and improved defenses turned this into a game few likely anticipated. However, as champions do, the Mahomes-led Chiefs responded. The defense stiffened, Mahomes regained his accuracy after some uncharacteristic early throws went awry and Andy Reid’s offense leaned on the running game and the fresh legs of rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Mahomes puts up such magnificent statistics that a night such as he had — 21-for-26 for 225 yards and two touchdowns — seems ridiculously like a disappointment. But his performance was his standard excellence of efficiency and the Chiefs followed suit. This was a win K.C. needed to stay atop the AFC West at 5-1, but more so to avoid a consecutive defeat, to keep things running on high. Playing a rescheduled game, earlier than most Monday nighters and amid unfavorable conditions doesn’t lend itself to getting anything done easily. But Kansas City won impressively because it did what a reigning Super Bowl champion should do. The Chiefs adapted and overcame with championship moxie and experience. And now the K.C. is back on track and it’s Buffalo that’s suddenly left to ponder a two-game skid.

2) When the Bills offense sputtered and Buffalo (4-2) lost for the first time the prior week against the Titans, there was no reason to panic. Following a second straight loss and a suspect outing for the offense, there is now reason for worry. Allen and Mahomes each struggled early with inaccuracy amid the rainy conditions, but Mahomes adjusted and so too id the Chiefs offense with its rushing approach. Allen remained off target much of the night (14-of-27 for 122 yards, two touchdowns, interception). Allen struggled, but the offense did as a whole. He was also the leading rusher for the Bills (eight carries for 42 yards). The running game, even with a healthy Devin Singletary and Zack Moss was rarely bothersome for the Chiefs defense, managing only 84 yards on 23 carries as a team with the Chiefs outgaining the Bills by a staggering 466-206 disparity. If Allen is to find the form that dazzled us through the initial four weeks of the season, it can’t just all be on him. It was against the Chiefs and the Bills lost for the second game in a row. Another response is needed for the Bills, who are still in first place in a struggling AFC East, and it must be a far better one that was shown Monday.

3) Deemed an ideal fit for the Chiefs offense, Edwards-Helaire had a dazzling debut to the season (138 yards and a score rushing vs. the Texans in Week 1), but has been largely quiet in terms of production since. That changed Monday. Edwards-Helaire burst through for big chunk gains and ran up 94 yards on just 10 carries in the first half. It was a total that surpassed any effort on the ground in any of his previous four games. On the night, Edward-Helaire produced a season-high 161 yards and the Chiefs has more than 200 yards rushing for the first time with Mahomes starting a ballgame, per NFL Research. Le'Veon Bell is on his way to joining K.C. Maybe that lit a fire under the first-rounder, but regardless, this is the CEH that had so much promise. With the weather as it was and the game as it important as it was, it was an ideal time for Edwards-Helaire to reintroduce himself. 

4) Travis Kelce has proven to be one of the toughest tight ends to stop throughout an already illustrious career and the Bills defense has had the toughest of times stopping tight ends so far in 2020. Unsurprisingly, Kelce had a big day, even with a fumble late in the second half. The Bills defense has allowed more yards and scores to tight ends than any other squad and against one of the game’s great ones that trend continued. Kelce racked up five catches for 65 yards and two huge touchdowns to put the Chiefs out in front at 7-3 and then 13-10. Kelce produces game in and game out and unfortunately for the Bills, they continue to allow tight ends to have big outings game in and game out.

Source: Read Full Article