Chiefs, Bills try to pull out of tailspin
Two teams heading in similar directions meet Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, with the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills searching for victories to right the ship after disappointing losses.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott tried to not put too much emphasis on just one game.
"It's important because it's the next game on our schedule and that's where our focus has to be," McDermott said.
But the matchup takes on greater importance for both teams following recent results.
The Chiefs dropped their fourth game in five tries with a mystifying 12-9 overtime loss to the struggling New York Giants. The Bills dropped to .500 with their second straight blowout loss, falling to the Los Angles Chargers 54-24.
Rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman threw five interceptions in his NFL debut in that game, prompting McDermott to turn back to former starter Tyrod Taylor this weekend.
"Long and short of it really is it's the right thing for our team right now," McDermott said.
Taylor said the brief demotion did not shake his confidence.
"You never let things surprise you," Taylor said. "My focus has still been the same. I'm going to continue to be the leader that I am, the player that I am, week in and week out.
"As a team, more importantly, we've got to fix what we haven't done right the last three weeks and that's get back on the winning side of the scoreboard."
The Chiefs have found difficulties defending mobile quarterbacks in the past, including Taylor. In Kansas City's 30-22 win over Buffalo in Week 12 of the 2015 season, Taylor passed for 291 yards with three touchdowns while adding 46 yards rushing.
Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said Taylor's scrambling ability makes him a dangerous opponent.
"Any time you have a quarterback that can extend plays and make plays and do the things he does, it makes it really difficult because it stresses the defense," Sutton said. "There's the play, then there's the play within the play. Sometimes he makes that play within the play pretty effective."
The Chiefs have struggled against the pass much of the season, ranking 25th in the league with 253.8 yards allowed per game. The club made a move Wednesday to bolster their secondary, signing free agent cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Coach Andy Reid did not rule out the possibility that Revis could play in a limited role against Buffalo.
"No, but he knows the system, which is the only reason I wouldn't, but I've got to see where we're at here," Reid said. "We're not going to rush him into anything until he's ready to go."
The Chiefs have juggled the right cornerback slot much of the season, especially with Steven Nelson missing the first seven games of the season with a core muscle injury.
Terrance Mitchell started the season at right cornerback with Phillip Gaines as the slot nickel-back.
Nelson's return allowed him to resume his role as the primary right cornerback. He moves to the slot in nickel and dime packages. Gaines and Kenneth Acker have both been tested right corner, with no one managing to convince Sutton the job belongs to them.
"We took Phillip and said, hey, Phillip's the guy and go there," Sutton said. "Just like we've said before, none of these are permanent. You've got to continue to show that you're the right guy and go from there. And if you don't, then we got to keep kind of going."
Reid hopes the addition of Revis benefits his young secondary.
"We have some young guys trying their hearts out, man, and doing a nice job for us too," Reid said. "I think it's a win-win. You get a veteran guy, you have some young guys that still continue to grow and it's good for the football team. I think that's a positive thing all the way around."
The Chiefs' pass defense also remains limited by injuries among the front seven.
The Chiefs may once again be without linebacker Dee Ford, who remains sidelined with a back injury. Linebacker Tamba Hali and defensive end Allen Bailey, both of whom missed last week's game against the New York Giants, practiced on a limited basis Wednesday.
Without those three in the lineup, the Chiefs picked up zero sacks against Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
Buffalo continues battling its own injuries as well. Left tackle Cordy Glenn, who has missed four game with a lower-leg injury, did not practice Wednesday. Neither did starting wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin with a knee injury.
Updated November 23, 2017