The best coaches in sports put players in position to succeed. It was on full display in the Bills pumped-up 41-7 pummeling of the Chiefs before an embarrassed opening day home crowd in Kansas City. The chance for success was the theme of the game.
The much maligned Bills offensive line wasn’t great, but gave Ryan Fitzpatrick enough time to pick apart the KC secondary for four TDs and no picks. The OL didn’t blow huge holes in the KC front seven but enough creases for formerly disgruntled Fred Jackson to slip through and then bulldoze LBs and DBs for more tough yards. 112 of them on a powerhouse day.
The Amish Rifle gave Stevie Johnson a chance to succeed in a perfectly placed back shoulder toss at the goal line, and SJ made a leaping 27 yard TD. Fitz gave his new twin towers a chance to succeed all day, throwing over the shoulders of 6’5” David Nelson and 6’ 7” revelation Scott Chandler out of reach of defenders for several first downs and two scores by Chandler. Bills fans haven’t seen a TE like that since… okay, never.
The defensive line gave the Bills team defense not only a chance to succeed but shine. Marcell Dareus was a freak and force of nature in his first pro start. The DL essentially took the two KC stars Jamal Charles and Dwayne Bowe out of the Show Me State. They made Matt Cassel look like, well, Matt Cassel. The DL didn’t storm the KC backfield but stuffed the run and clogged lanes, allowing our LBs clear paths to make stops, and the safeties to charge the line.
Nick Barnett instantly made us forget whatzizname. George Wilson made us instantly forget whozizface. Wilson, the Byrdman, and unheralded Bryan Scott (often playing LB on pass downs) all had solid games against the run and pass. Florence and Leodis charged hard, made tackles in front of them, and didn’t let WRs behind them. The tackling overall was fundamentally sound and the Chief ball-carriers and receivers went straight to the ground when hit. This was The Bills?
Coach Gailey and pleasant surprise DC George Edwards put their players in a position to succeed all day with not only solid game plans but equally solid play calls. The Bills didn’t blitz much and rarely got burned. And not only did the Bills players succeed, they knocked the snot out of the Chiefs all day.
The new WMD Defense, led by Williams Merriman Dareus, shut the Chiefs down and shut the crowd up.
Not at Busby’s though. The joint was as loud as we have heard it.
The game was a blowout, and set the stage for the regular season. The Bills now have what most fans and analysts thought was impossible — The chance to succeed right now.
UNSUNG PLAYER OF THE GAME
Cory McIntyre. The hit on the opening KO caused Dexter McClusterfck to fumble. Kelvin Sheppard, in his first play of his career, recovered it, and it took the Arrowhead crowd right out of the game. The momentum immediately switched to the Bills and they responded with a TD drive and quick 7-0 lead. The Chiefs never recovered.
UNSUNG PLAY OF THE GAME
Fred Jackson’s phenomenal two yard run for a first down late in the 2nd Q. KC had just scored their only TD. It was 3rd-and-2. The Chiefs stormed the line. Freddy made two men miss in the backfield but was stopped well short of the first down. Then he simply carried two Chiefs two more yards with sheer force of will and power. We kept the ball and the half ended. A two yard run but it was great.
With two minutes to go in the game, were there more fans at Arrowhead Stadium in St. Louis or in the back three rooms at Busby’s in Santa Monica?
Tough call. It was close. Bring on the Raiders!