Two teams that seemed to be steamrolling toward a clash of unbeatens now find themselves looking to recover.
Although the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills are each 4-1 and leading their respective divisions in the AFC, each will be coming off their first defeats Monday at Orchard Park, N.Y. The game got pushed back four days because of dominoes related to COVID-19 developments and kick off at 5 p.m. ET.
Each team allowed 40 points in their recent losses, creating deficits neither Patrick Mahomes nor Josh Allen could overcome quarterbacking the Chiefs and Bills, respectively.
Mahomes was constantly hounded and sacked three times by the Oakland Raiders in a 40-32 loss, leaving him to scurry quickly from the pocket and often look over the top in third-and-long situations.
"We can't just rely on the big play," said Mahomes, who completed a season-low 51.2 percent of his passes against Las Vegas. "We have to execute at a high level and when the big play comes, you have to hit it."
Although Mahomes often clicks on those looks, the end of a 13-game winning streak -- including playoffs, highlighted by last season's Super Bowl victory -- proved he is mortal.
Now, Mahomes must move on from a setback without experienced receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring) and guard Kelechi Osemele (knee).
"I can help with different calls and putting people in better positions," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "Everyone has a little piece of the pie here."
That includes the Kansas City defense, which permitted 20 points or less in each of the Chiefs' first four games before allowing 490 yards to the Raiders, including five chunk plays of 40-plus yards.
Botched execution hurt the Bills in their first defeat and now they have a short week to recover after falling to Tennessee, 42-16, on Tuesday. Two interceptions and long returns Buffalo gave up on special teams proved fatal against a virus-plagued opponent that had practiced only once in 12 days.
One of Allen's interceptions bounded off the hands of a receiver, but the Bills quarterback will still be looking to rebound against the Chiefs. That will be a collective effort, though, after his defense could only get him the ball twice in the final 17 minutes against Tennessee.
Allen relies on one of the NFL's hottest receivers, Stephon Diggs, who ranks second in the league with 509 receiving yards. Allen, meanwhile, ranks second in passing yards (1,589) and touchdown strikes (14).
Those impressive numbers also present a concern, however. The Bills have become one-dimensional, gaining just 469 yards on the ground to rank 28th in rushing after ranking eighth in the NFL last season.
"The number of opportunities, run versus pass, has been a little bit different," Buffalo coach Sean McDermott said. "So, that would be one piece. Then the other piece is making sure that we're staying true to our philosophy in terms of what we're doing up front. It's a mentality."
Ground opportunities could exist against the Chiefs, who rank 29th against the rush, allowing 157.6 yards per game. Allen, however, is focused on overall execution.
"We're not going to let this one loss define us," he said. "We've got to be better, we've got to be prepared and we've got to come out swinging early."
The Chiefs' ground game (13th overall, 119.3 rush yards per game) looks like it will soon get a boost as former New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell tweeted Thursday afternoon that he has joined Kansas City -- news that the Chiefs seemed to confirm with a subsequent tweet. The Jets cut Bell, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, Tuesday as the former three-time 1,000-yard rusher currently has just 19 carries and 74 yards in two games this season.
Bell will not be available to play Monday due to coronavirus-testing protocols, according to ESPN.
Buffalo wide receiver John Brown (knee) and cornerback Tre'Davious White (back) resumed light workouts after missing Tuesday's loss to Tennessee. Tight end Dawson Knox is dealing with a calf injury.
--Field Level Media
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News Breaking News
Key Players to Watch
no tickets found.
- FootQues Sun | questionable
Spain has been absent from the lineup for the previous two games due to foot soreness, and it is unknown if he will line up Sunday versus the Jets.
- CalfQues Sun | questionable
Knox sat out the last game due to a calf injury, and it is uncertain if he will suit up Sunday versus the Jets.
- WristQues Sun | questionable
Lewis exited the last game with a wrist injury, and it is uncertain if he will face the Jets on Sunday.
- KneeQues Sun | questionable
Ford left the previous game with a knee injury, and it has yet to be established if he will be active Sunday against the Jets.
- PectoralQues Sun | questionable
Milano has been held out of the previous two games with a pectoral injury, and it is undetermined if he will be available versus the Jets on Sunday.
- PectoralQues Sun | I-R
Feliciano has been added to the Injured Reserve/Designated for Return list as he is recovering from surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle. The team will now have one week to activate him.
- HamstringQues Sun | questionable
Dodson departed the last game with a hamstring injury, and it is unclear if he will play Sunday against the Jets.
- ToeProb Mon | probable
Moss has been held out of the past three games with a toe injury, but he is likely to draw back into the lineup against the Chiefs on Monday.
Kansas City Chiefs
- BackQues Sun | questionable
Schwartz departed the last game with a back injury, and it remains to be seen if he will be active against the Broncos on Sunday.
- KneeI-R | I-R
Oselmele suffered torn tendons in both of his knees and has been placed on the injured reserve list.
- HamstringQues Sun | questionable
Okafor was forced from the previous game with a hamstring injury, and it is unclear if he suit up against the Broncos on Sunday.
- HandQues Mon | questionable
Hitchens was forced from the previous game with a hand injury and is now ailing from an illness. It is unknown if he will suit up Monday against the Bills.
- IllnessOut indefinitely | I-R
Sherman will be on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list for an extended period after displaying symptoms of the virus.
- HamstringOut indefinitely | out
Watkins will miss an extended period due to a right hamstring injury.
- HamstringOut indefinitely | I-R
Danna is on the injured reserve list due to a hamstring injury, and team officials have yet to provide an exact return date.
- GroinProb Sun | probable
Jones was held out of the previous game with a groin injury, but it is projected that he will take part in Sunday's contest versus the Raiders.