Key takeaways from first half of Chiefs vs. Bills divisional-round game

Key takeaways from first half of Chiefs vs. Bills divisional-round game
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This one is as close as many expected it to be. The Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills are tied 14-all heading into halftime. The Chiefs had a chance to take the lead, but a Butker miss on a 50-yard attempt has this game tied up. The Chiefs get the ball to start the half after winning the toss and deferring at the start of the game. Injuries are mounting on the defensive side of the ball with Tyrann Mathieu ruled out due to a concussion and Jarran Reed also dealing with some sort of lower-body injury.

Here are our biggest takeaways from the first half of the Chiefs’ divisional-round game against the Bills:

Offense needs to keep taking what the Bills give them

AP Photo/Ed Zurga

The offense has done an exceptional job of taking whatever the Bills are willing to give them. On the opening drive by Kansas City, nearly 50 of the 74 yards were gained by Patrick Mahomes on the ground. If the Bills are going to drop back and play coverage, he’s going to find those opportunities.

On the other drive for the Chiefs when they weren’t backed up at their own 1-yard line, Mahomes was dialed in. He dropped back, had good protection and took what was there. He never once seemed to force a throw and things opened up a bit in the secondary because of the opening drive.

At halftime, it really feels like the Bills don’t have the horses to keep up with the K.C. offense, especially if Mahomes continues to be decisive and not press the issue.

Keep hitting Josh Allen with unique pressures

AP Photo/Colin E. Braley

On the opening drive of the game, the Chiefs were having a hard time getting pressure on Josh Allen. On the second defensive drive, they started to find some rhythm and success getting after Allen. He felt pressure from Willie Gay Jr. on a blitz that caused an errant throw. He was also sacked on a beautiful stunt, which involved Frank Clark and Jarran Reed. Melvin Ingram was the player to record the sack.

Allen struggles against the blitz, at least compared to some other playoff quarterbacks. Steve Spagnuolo has done a good job of picking his moments for his best pressure calls. The problem is that they’ve had sub-package defenses on the field and it’s opened up the running game for Allen. Spags has pulled off the pressure calls as a result.

Keep up the physicality

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

In the first half, it appeared that the Chiefs were the more physical of the two teams. They had some big defensive stops which took some physical play from rookie LB Nick Bolton. They also had some physicality on the offensive side of the ball when RB Jerick McKinnon ran over a Bills defender to get a first down. It also feels like they’re winning in the trenches so far with a sack of Josh Allen, while Patrick Mahomes hasn’t yet been sacked.

They’ll need to keep up this energy and physicality on both sides of the ball through the second half if they’re to get out of this one with a win. Buffalo has kept things close and this one could come down to the wire in Arrowhead Stadium. Buckle up, Chiefs fans.

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