CBS play-by-play man Greg Gumbel and analyst Trent Green appear to be the Buffalo Bills' good luck charms.
Since they called two Buffalo Bills victories viewed as improbable wins before the season, I suspect Bills fans wish they worked all the team’s games.
The announcers were as solid and efficient as Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor in the Bills' 16-10 win over the Chiefs Sunday so I'd be fine if we'd hear them call another game or two this season.
They previously called the Bills upset of Atlanta, last year's Super Bowl losers.
Gumbel has one of my favorite play-by-play voices. He does a terrific job setting Green up with frequent questions and raising his excitement level on key plays.
Green, a former Pro Bowl quarterback who played for 15 seasons, is pleasant to listen to and does a very good job dissecting pass plays after they happen. However, he rarely gets excited.
Gumbel and Green have very good chemistry and can laugh at and with each other.
In the second half, Gumbel turned analyst and praised Bills rookie tackle Dion Dawkins right before he committed a penalty that negated what could have been a game-clinching play.
"That's because you just called out Dawkins for doing a good job," said Green of the penalty.
On the Bills' only touchdown – an 11-yard pass from Taylor to rookie receiver Zay Zones – Gumbel said Jones was open all the way.
But Green followed with a long explanation of how patient Taylor had to be before throwing the pass, which led Gumbel to tell Green he could have just summarized by saying: "Greg, you're wrong."
Gumbel wasn't wrong too often. The one noticeable time came early when he apparently misread a CBS graphic and said the Bills had the worst third down conversion rate shortly before CBS ran another graphic saying the rate was in the middle of the league.
He certainly was correct in how he concluded the telecast.
"This feels like the Bills team we saw going into Atlanta and knocking off a very good Falcons team," assessed Gumbel.
Green agreed, saying the Bills had a very good game plan, did enough offensively with an "efficient" quarterback and a defense that played as well as it had earlier in the year.
Of course, Taylor's return after being benched last week was the big story going into the game. But the game didn't end up being all about Taylor.
Just like he was in the Atlanta game, Green was generally soft on his criticism of Taylor. However, he did note that his inaccuracy on a pass to tight end Nick O'Leary may have cost the Bills an extra 15 or 20 yards. That would have put them in position to kick a field goal for a two-score lead in the fourth quarter.
Green was also soft on Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, saying it was "unacceptable" for him to miss an open receiver.
Here are more highs and lows of the broadcast:
He's Popeye: Green addressed whether Taylor would be more aggressive after being benched or if he would be the same player. At one point, the analyst said Taylor told him "I got to be me." And he was himself. And that's all he was.
The Missed Kick: Just as Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka prepared to try a 52-yard field goal, the CBS cameras inexplicably cut to the sidelines. CBS came back just in time to see the kick go wide right. I'm sure some Bills fans think the kick would have been good if they had seen it from the start.
The Missed Analysis: I wish Gumbel or Green would have mentioned Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White should have stayed down as soon as he intercepted Alex Smith's final pass rather than risk a fumble on the runback. The only way K.C. could have had another chance is if White fumbled on the return.
The Cheerleader: As the Chiefs were in a potential game-winning drive, the CBS cameras caught Bills back LeSean McCoy nervously clapping his hands repeatedly to support the Bills' defense.
The Word of the Day: Complacent. Green said Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters was "really complacent" when he failed to intercept a pass that eventually became a big catch by Bills tight end Charles Clay. Green said Taylor "got lucky" the pass wasn't intercepted. And luck was a big part of some of the Bills' early wins.
The Play-caller: Green would make a good offensive coordinator. He praised Chiefs coach Andy Reid for being aggressive on the Chiefs' failed semifinal drive. Green noted Reid's aggressiveness at the same time the Bills were very conservative on the next-to-last possession. It was a stark contrast. They played not to lose, went three running plays and out, and allowed the Chiefs to get a final drive in the final two minutes that ended with White's interception.
The Phantom Call: Green was stunned by a roughing call on the Bills' E.J. Gaines late in the fourth quarter that put the Chiefs in great field position. "He didn't even touch him," said Green. That was an "unacceptable call," even if the White interception almost immediately followed to make it moot.
The Layered Look: Green repeatedly illustrated so-called "layered" pass patterns in which receivers go shallow, middle and deep. Jones scored his touchdown on one.
The Question: Green was terrific in diagramming how open O'Leary was in the play in which Taylor's low pass prevented a bigger gain. But he might have added that O'Leary could have gotten up and tried to get more yards since he wasn't touched. Of course, he fumbled the last time he did that.
The Tiresome Stories: CBS seemed determined to get sideline reporter Jamie Erdahl involved by telling stories, including one about Bills coach Sean McDermott being asked to change a tire on a highway when he worked for Chiefs coach Andy Reid. Great story. But third down is not the time to tell it.
The Exaggeration: At halftime with the Bills holding a 13-3 lead, CBS' studio analyst Boomer Esiason said: “Tyrod is winning everybody back.” Everybody? He doesn’t know Bills fans. Taylor threw 24 passes in the first half, which is a very high number for him. But he only threw five passes in the second half when the Bills only scored three points. It made you wonder if Tyrod had won Bills coaches back. You also wondered if they didn't trust him to throw or if nobody was open.
The Mismanaged Clock: Green was right to question why the Bills called a timeout with nine seconds left in the first half before kicking a field goal rather that call it with three seconds, make the kick the final play of the half and not having to kick off.
The Bet: After CBS' Nate Burleson said New England quarterback Tom Brady wasn't paying attention on a fumbled snap that led to a Miami touchdown, Green surmised: “I am going with the odds that it was center’s fault.” Safe bet.
The Challenge: Green predicted a Chiefs challenge of a spot would fail and he was right. He said Jones' touchdown catch would stand and it did.
The Excuse: Green was a little baffling when he said having a great kicker like Hauschka makes Tyrod more conservative so the Bills at least get three points. After all, Hauschka wasn't the Bills kicker for the first two years that Taylor was the Bills conservative quarterback.
The Pregame Statement: On "The NFL Today," CBS’ Burleson had this to say after Taylor was benched and then returned as the starter: “It is Tyrod Taylor against the (Bills) front office.”
The Pregame Report: Before the game, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Bills receiver Kelvin Benjamin has a torn meniscus and could be out awhile.
The Math Major: After CBS showed a chart that said a 6-5 team had a 45.2 percent to make the playoffs and a 5-6 team only a 13.0 percent chance, Green said: "That's a pretty significant difference." Uh, yeah.
The Postgame Report: CBS studio analyst Bill Cowher declared "the big winner today is the Buffalo Bills. Tyrod Taylor had a solid performance and it really was all about the defense." Taylor was labeled "efficient" and "solid" by numerous analysts, which isn't a ringing endorsement. Sure, the Bills won. Now we'll see if the 6-5 Bills become "complacent" as they prepare to face Brady and the Patriots next Sunday in another game that looked like an improbable victory before the season. Unfortunately, good luck charms Gumbel and Green won't be calling the game. CBS' top team, Jim Nantz and Tony Romo, are on the call, as Nantz speculated they would be when they called the Bills' embarrassing Thursday Night Football loss to the New York Jets.