The Chiefs were the last NFL team to lose this season, running off five straight victories to begin the year.
They have since dropped four of five, including two straight, but hope to right the ship Sunday against the visiting Bills.
“This team is ready to get back to work and get back on track,” Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said Wednesday. “That’s where I am at. I think this team realizes we can’t talk our way out of this. You just have to go do it and that is the only remedy. I think we are anxious to do that. We know we are capable of playing a lot better than we have and looking forward to going out there and doing that.”
Smith, who is usually one of the NFL’s better caretakers when it comes to ball security, went eight games without an interception. He’s been picked off three times in the last two weeks and threw two interceptions in last Sunday’s 12-9 overtime loss to the lowly Giants.
“You just have to turn back to your fundamentals a little bit,” Smith said. “Doing the little things. Trusting what you are seeing, having good feet.
“To me, I think that is how you play your way out of this. Turn your focus on to the little things of your job. Going out there and executing them, focus on those details. Certainly, there is a lot of noise and chatter out there. None of us are totally immune to that. I think you have to shrug that off because it is only weighing down on you and inhibits you as you go forward. You have to move forward and focus on the next challenge, the next opponent. What are the things you need to do to go out there and play? And then usually those are all your details.”
The Chiefs (6-4) still hold a two-game lead in the AFC West and are facing a Bills team that is also in a losing skid. Buffalo (5-5) has lost three in a row, including last Sunday’s 54-24 loss to the Chargers. Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor did not start that game as Bills coach Sean McDermott chose to go with rookie Nathan Peterman, who then threw five interceptions in the first half as the Chargers built a 37-7 halftime lead.
Taylor is once again the Bills starter and Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said Taylor presents a challenge.
“Anytime you have a quarterback who can extend plays and make plays and do the things he does it makes it really difficult because it stresses the defense,” Sutton said. “There’s the play and then there’s the play within the play. Sometimes he makes that play within the play pretty effective. A lot of times when he takes off scrambling, he scrambles more than any quarterback in our league, he’s a dangerous guy.”
The Chiefs offense can help the defense and Smith by establishing the run against the Bills, who have allowed 638 rushing yards during their three-game losing streak. Kansas City has the NFL’s 10th-ranked rushing offense led by rookie running back Kareem Hunt, who is second in the NFL with 873 yards. But Hunt hasn’t had a 100-yard rushing game since Week 5 and has been held under 50 yards three times over the last five games.
“The margin between winning and losing in the NFL is small because of the parity in the league you have to bring your A-game every week and be prepared,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “I have to make sure that we’re doing that. We’re lucky enough where we have another game and that’s what we’re going to focus on and fix the problems.
“It’s small things. It’s one thing here or there that’s off and you have to have everybody dancing the same dance. The best way to do that is to go back to your fundamentals and what you believe in and put a little more focus on it. Whether you’re a coach or a player it’s the same deal.”