KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Buffalo Bills’ confidence in Zay Jones has never wavered.
The rookie receiver is starting to show why. Jones scored the team’s only touchdown Sunday in a 16-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, an 11-yard catch in the first quarter.
“That was definitely big for us right there,” quarterback Tyrod Taylor said.
Jones was the third option on the play, but Taylor bought time by spinning left out of the pocket, worked his way through his reads and fired a strike to the front left of the end zone. Jones got his knee down to stay inbounds for his second career touchdown.
“Tyrod tells me daily that he trusts me and has all the confidence in the world in me,” Jones said. “As a young receiver, when a quarterback tells you that, that should get you going. Just knowing that I have someone in my corner. He says good or bad he's going to keep throwing to me. That just shows the type of player he is.”
Jones finished with three catches for 33 yards. He was targeted 10 times, more than double any other receiver.
“Coming in early, I had the same amount of opportunities, but it was just so fresh and so brand new to me, just trying to get adjusted to the game itself and then the tempo and feel of our offense,” he said. “Now that I'm having this experience and being able to go ‘OK, I understand a little bit more what to expect,’ just really settling into the offense and who I am as a football player.”
One streak ended, but another one started for Stephen Hauschka.
The Bills' kicker saw his NFL-record streak of 13 consecutive made field goals from 50 or more yards come to an end when he missed from 52 yards out in the second quarter against the Chiefs, but Hauschka made up for that. The 10th-year veteran hit a 56-yard field goal at the end of the first half, then added a 49-yarder in the third quarter. Along with an earlier 34-yard field goal and a successful extra point, Hauschka's 10 points matched what the Chiefs put up as a team.
"It feels good to come through for the team," he said. "It was a challenge out there. There was a lot of wind blowing around both sides of the field, so that makes those longer kicks even more difficult. It's awesome, though. That's my job. However I can help this team out. It feels best, too, just to get back rolling with the team a little bit."
Hauschka's 56-yarder was his seventh successful field goal from 50 or more yards this season, breaking Dan Carpenter's team record of six set in 2014.
"We've had a lot of long kicks this year, and in important situations, too," Hauschka said.
Hauschka missed his attempt wide right to end his streak. On the play, Bills coach Sean McDermott appeared to try to call timeout, but it wasn't granted.
"It was a weird play for us," Hauschka said. "We were rushed. The refs took a while spotting the ball. I didn't get in my position, you know, my setup position. It's one of those plays, you've got to learn from it, but there were a lot of things wrong on that play."
The Bills have found something in Travaris Cadet.
Although he's been active for just two games, Cadet continued to state his case for why he should be the No. 2 running back moving forward with a solid showing Sunday, finishing with 28 yards on six carries and catching three passes for another 21 yards.
"Really got to give thanks to my coaches because they've been doing a great job preparing me," Cadet said. Running backs coach Kelly Skipper "has been doing a lot of extra stuff with me off the field, what people don't see, and while I've been away from the facility, I've been taking advantage, getting that extra film work in. Just visualizing the whole play so I'm not the guy that's lagging while the other 10 is going hard out there. I just want to be able to contribute in a positive way."
Cadet has done that, leaving the Bills with a decision to make when Mike Tolbert returns from injury. Tolbert missed his second straight game because of a hamstring injury. He was struggling before getting hurt, managing just 1 yard on six carries in back-to-back losses to the Jets and Saints.
Cadet is a different runner than Tolbert. His skill set more closely resembles that of starter LeSean McCoy, while Tolbert is a north-south bruiser.
"When you've got somebody who can come in, and the playbook doesn't have to change dramatically, I think it helps the offensive coordinator, it makes his call system a little easier," Cadet said. "Me as a player, I'm not so predictable as I've been in my past. A lot of times when I came on the field, teams thought, 'well it's 100 percent a pass.' Now I'm in a balanced situation and that helps my game out a whole lot."
Cadet now has nine carries for 45 yards in two games with the Bills – the most he's had in a single season in his six-year career.
"I remember watching him with the Saints. He was productive in the pass game. Here and there he'd get some runs, so I always knew he could play ball," McCoy said. "It takes a load off of me, a little pressure off of me. I can get some air."
The Bills were without one receiver, but got another one back Sunday. Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was downgraded to out for the game Saturday and did not travel with the team. Jordan Matthews, however, played after missing the Week 11 loss to the L.A. Chargers with a knee injury.
The Bills previously ruled Tolbert (hamstring), guard John Miller (ankle) and left tackle Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle) out because of injury. Rookie Dion Dawkins started in Glenn's place for the sixth time. Cadet will replace Tolbert as the No. 2 running back.
Buffalo stuck with the same healthy inactives as Week 11: cornerback Shareece Wright, tight end Logan Thomas and offensive tackle Conor McDermott. Lafayette Pitts was the backup at cornerback, while Khari Lee served as the third tight end behind starter Charles Clay and Nick O'Leary.