ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Hope gave way to despair for the Chiefs after they were again blown out of a game, this time by a struggling opponent, the Buffalo Bills.
Sundays 35-17 loss, one that wasnt even as close as that lopsided score would indicate, sent them down into an 0-2 hole with no escape hatch in sight. That made it difficult for the Chiefs to maintain the brave front they put up after last weeks season-opening loss to Atlanta.
We have to figure out whats going on and we have to figure it out quick, linebacker Derrick Johnson said. Were 0-2. Theres a sense of urgency going on right now. Its just like last year. Were not playing as well as we need to. Our expectations were high and were not meeting them.
Weve got to do something different. Im not saying its our scheme. Maybe its just our mindset. I dont know what it is.
The defensive problems spread this week as the Bills rushed for more than 200 yards. The Chiefs had no solution for Buffalos quick C.J. Spiller, who had 123 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries.
Its disappointing because I thought we prepared well during the week, coach Romeo Crennel said. We had energy and had the right mindset coming into the game, and then we got here and we couldnt do anything right on either side of the ball.
We have to try to figure out this team, what this team is about, how we can be better in the second half, how we can be better in all halves, really. Weve got to try to get it done quickly.
The loss to Buffalo, which gave up 48 points in a lopsided loss of its own against the Jets in the season-opener, is a sign of a deeper problem for the Chiefs. The Falcons, who scored 40 points against the Chiefs, are capable of running it up against many opponents.
But the Bills were equally as miserable in their opener.
Im going to say I thought we would be better, Crennel said. I really thought we would be better and were not. Weve got to figure out why that is.
From what Ive seen, if we do what were supposed to do, then we would be better.
The Chiefs believed they would get a lift from the return of two of their better defensive players, linebacker Tamba Hali and cornerback Brandon Flowers. Neither player made any difference. The Chiefs had no sacks and for the second straight week failed to force their opponent to commit a turnover.
Weve just got get everybody on the same page and then we can make it work, Flowers said. We have the talent. Im pretty sure well have long meetings (Monday) and Tuesday to get these problems fixed because this cant keep going on. Our defense prides itself on making plays, and we cant stand on that right now.
The Chiefs fell behind 7-0 in the first quarter and eventually by as much as 35-3 before they scored a couple of cosmetic touchdowns late in the game. They also never led against the Falcons last week, and continuously playing from a deficit is taking a toll on their offense.
You dont want to be behind in this league, tackle Eric Winston said. You dont want to have to be playing from behind, and I think both weeks thats been our problem.
Im not going to minimize our problems. Im not going to say, Everything will be OK if we just fix this. Its not and the longer we do that, the longer its going to take to get the problem fixed. Everybody needs to play better. I need to play better, and thats all I can control.
The Chiefs searched for a reason for hope from this loss but couldnt find one. They did manage the two late touchdowns, but only after the Bills had backed off.
They held the Bills to one second-half offensive touchdown, but Buffalo was content in the final quarter to merely play keep-away.
We did play better in the second half and maybe thats a good sign, Johnson said before reconsidering. But thats not enough.