KANSAS CITY -- The Bills website sent out a tweet this morning declaring that Sunday's game was the start of the playoffs. "Win or go home," it said.
Well, they're not going to pack it in for the season. There's still a lot of football left to be played with five games remaining in the season. But if the Bills approached this game as a virtual playoff game, this defeat must have left them feeling as if their playoffs hopes were vanishing into the mist.
The Bills wasted a great opportunity to get a leg up in the AFC wild-card race, failing to sustain a strong first half as the Chiefs rallied for a 30-22 victory at Arrowhead Stadium. The loss, the Bills' second in six days, drops them to 5-6, half a game behind in the playoff race.
One loss doesn't bury a team, but this is one the Bills might be looking back on in regret come January. Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins put on an offensive show in the first half, combining for six receptions and 158 yards in the opening 30 minutes as the Bills surged to a 16-7 lead.
But the Bills couldn't sustain the momentum. The defense, weakened by the absence of Kyle and Mario Williams, got abused for the middle stages of the game, allowing 224 yards and three touchdowns over a stretch of less than 15 minutes as the Chiefs took control and moved into the lead.
Taylor (291 yards) did virtually nothing after a sensational first half. Hard as it is to fathom, Watkins did have a catch in the second half. Meanwhile, veteran Alex Smith carved up the battered Bills defense, mixing throws to Jeremy Maclin (9 catches, 160 yards) with timely scrambles runs by third-strong tailback Spencer Ware, who had a career-high 114 yards rushing to join the long list of obscure backs to have a career day against the Bills.
The Chiefs' coaches got the better of Rex Ryan and his counterparts, making the necessary adjustments to recover from a bad start in their first home game in a month. KC is now 6-5, essentially two games ahead of the Bills in the playoff chase.
The Bills are still alive at 5-6, but this was yet another game where they had chances and couldn't pull off the deal. They probably need to go 4-1 the rest of the way to have a chance. Considering their injuries, it's hard to see them pulling that off. It's not "win or go home," but it'll be nice for them to get home for Houston next week after three straight away from the Ralph.