The Kansas City Chiefs' defense, so stout and nearly unstoppable for the most part this season, has been surprisingly vulnerable against nondescript quarterbacks over the last three games. Houston's Case Keenum and Cleveland's Jason Campbell were able to make plays in close games until the Chiefs woke up and shut things down. On Sunday, it was the turn of Buffalo Bills rookie Jeff Tuel, starting because of injuries to EJ Manuel and Thad Lewis, to see what he could do.
Tuel connected with Marquise Goodwin for a 59-yard touchdown late in the first quarter and finished the first half with nine completions in 15 attempts for 139 yards, the scoring pass to Goodwin and one interception. Unfortunately, Tuel's second of two picks on the day went to cornerback Sean Smith, who returned it 100 yards for a touchdown with 10:58 left in the third quarter. That pick-six gave the Chiefs a 10-10 tie, marking the first time they hadn't trailed in the game.
The Chiefs and Bills then traded field goals, and it would once again be up to the Kansas City defense to break the logjam. With 12:47 left in the game, that's exactly what the defense did when outside linebacker Tamba Hali returned a fumble by T.J. Graham (it was forced by cornerback Marcus Cooper) and took it to the house, giving the Chiefs a lead they would never relinquish. With the win, the Chiefs took their 2013 record to 9-0.
For those interested in quarterback wins as a viable statistic, you may be interested to know that Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith completed 19-of-29 passes for 124 yards and no touchdowns on the day. This game marked the fifth this season in which Smith failed to throw a touchdown pass, so don't be fooled by the easy narrative -- the Chiefs are winning games with defense as much or more than with anything else.