KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Buffalo Bills are still alive in the AFC playoff race following Sunday's 16-10 victory over the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Here are my 10 takeaways from the game.
1. Tyrod Taylor looked ... like Tyrod Taylor. The Buffalo Bills' quarterback returned from his one-game benching to go 19 of 29 for 183 yards and a touchdown. Taylor left you wanting more at times, like when he failed to hit a wide-open tight end Nick O'Leary in stride in the fourth quarter, missing a chance to put the game away. But he took care of the football, extended some plays with his legs and generally looked like the quarterback we have come to expect. On Sunday, that was good enough.
2. Zay Jones is developing into a good receiver. Seriously. The rookie was targeted nine times in the first half, making three catches for 32 yards, including a great 11-yard touchdown grab. After the brutal start to Jones' professional career, he continues to take steps in the right direction.
3. Third and 1 looked absolutely awful for the Bills in the second half. Taylor got sacked on one, while offensive coordinator Rick Dennison called for a pitch to LeSean McCoy on another one that was blown up. Is it really that hard to just run forward for 1 yard? Get behind Richie Incognito and Eric Wood and tell them to get you 3 feet. Just unreal.
4. Stephen Hauschka has been worth every penny as a free agent. The Bills' kicker saw his streak of made field goals from 50 or more yards end at 13 when he missed a 52-yard attempt in the first half, but he responded by making a 56-yarder at the end of the second quarter. That was his seventh field goal from 50 or more yards this season, setting a team record for a single season.
5. Travaris Cadet is an upgrade over Mike Tolbert at running back. That is easy to see after Cadet's first two games with the Bills. He finished with 28 yards on six carries and added 21 yards on three receptions. On back-to-back plays in the second quarter, Cadet gained 6 and 5 yards, moving the chains inside Kansas City territory on a drive that ultimately ended in a missed field goal by Stephen Hauschka.
6. Eddie Yarbrough starting in place of Shaq Lawson was mighty interesting. Last week, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier talked about Lawson's pass rush, saying, "We need to get a little bit more when it comes to rushing the passer. He’s coming in that area; that’s an area that he wants to get better at and we want him to get better at." Lawson entered the game on the Bills' second defensive possession.
7. Yarbrough's offside penalty in the third quarter had the potential to be one of those turning-point moments. The Chiefs, who had done next to nothing the entire game up to that point, faced a third and 16. Yarbrough jumped, making it a third and 11. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith hit tight end Travis Kelce for a 25-yard gain on the play, setting up Kansas City's only touchdown.
8. Reggie Ragland had to be fired up to face his former team. Ragland dropped McCoy for a 1-yard lost on Buffalo's second offensive possession, then followed that up with a stop of Jones on the next play after a 5-yard gain. Ragland, who had a career-high nine tackles in Week 11, added another tackle for a loss later in the first quarter. He looks to be coming into his own for the Chiefs, who acquired him from the Bills in exchange for a 2019 fourth-round draft pick over the summer.
9. The Logan Thomas experiment has stalled. He has been a healthy inactive the last two weeks. Perhaps that's because the Bills want Khari Lee to help as a blocker, but it's not a good sign that Thomas can't get on the field more for an offense starved for playmakers.
10. Lafayette Pitts looks to have moved ahead of Shareece Wright on the depth chart. For the second straight week Wright was a healthy inactive, which made Pitts the No. 4 cornerback behind starters Tre'Davious White and E.J. Gaines, as well as slot cornerback Leonard Johnson. Wright is the Bills' lowest-graded cornerback, according to analytics website Pro Football Focus.
Story topics: E.J. Gaines/ Eddie Yarbrough/ Khari Lee/ Lafayette Pitts/ Leonard Johnson/ LeSean McCoy/ Logan Thomas/ Mike Tolbert/ Reggie Ragland/ Shaq Lawson/ shareece wright/ Stephen Hauschka/ Travaris Cadet/ Tre'davious White/ Tyrod Taylor/ Zay Jones