The Buffalo Bills closed out the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, defeating their conference foes 24-20. It was billed as a heavyweight fight and while the scoring for both offenses wasn’t up to their normal standards, the game was still a slug match. While it’s only Week 6, the team and fans alike sensed that this game could have playoff ramifications down the road. It was also the true test for a Bills defensive unit that upgraded along the defensive line with this game in mind.
Bills General Manager Brandon Beane signed Von Miller for these moments. After signing the Future Hall of Famer, Beane referred to Miller as a “finisher,” and his play against the Chiefs likely had Beane smiling from ear to ear. Miller’s play limited touchdowns, closed out drives and eventually the game. Let’s take a look.
1st Quarter – 4:10 – 2nd and 9 – Run Stop
This play is probably the least sexy, but was an incredibly important Red-Zone rep. The Chiefs drove down the field to the Bills’ 9-yard line, and on the 14th play Miller stopped RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire for no gain. With the ball on the left hash, the Chiefs come out in a 2×2 set and attempt to run Power right at Miller.
So the Chiefs attempt to get a Deuce block by the LT and LG on Jones and Kick-out Miller with the Right Guard.
On the snap, Miller does a great job of processing the run concept. Usually, when you’re left unblocked, that means someone is coming for you. So Miller he has a bullseye on his chest as he hits the heels of the offensive linemen. Miller reads the eyes and track of the running back.
Given the play call, and where this Power run should hit, the guard Smith has leverage on Miller. So Miller uses his quickness, hands and agility to avoid the block.
He threw Smith by and executed a sound tackle to wrap up Edwards-Helaire.
On the very next play, Kaiir Elam intercepted Patrick Mahomes, causing Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense to leave the redzone empty handed.
2nd Quarter – 1:53 – 2nd and 10 – 1st Sack
This is one of the many examples of Coverage and Rush complementing each other. On this play, the Chiefs have a very good Cover 2 beater called to the short side of the field. But that is part of the problem, that High/Low is easier to defend in that compressed area of the field. Miller is in a two-point stance to the field.
On the snap, the right tackle uses an aggressive kickslide wide to get out to Miller, but he also has a running back offering help with a Chip block.
Miller sees that the tackle has help, so there isn’t a way that he can win outside. So with Mahomes staring down the two-man route combination to his left, so much so that he drifted to his left a tad, Miller decided to us an inside move.
Miller brought both of his hands up like he was going to transition to a Power move.
This causes the right tackle to attempt to anchor, but Miller is going to his Spin move inside.
Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and A.J. Epenesa compressed the pocket with Power moves of their own. Phillips also gets in the passing lane forcing Mahomes to move on in his progressions.
Before Mahomes can even get to his third receiver in his progression, Miller clears the tackle and finishes the play.
While this was a 2nd down sack, it forced the Chiefs into a 3rd and 19 play, a play that went incomplete forcing the Chiefs to have to punt.
4th Quarter – 10:41 – 3rd and 13 – Hustle
The Bills busted out 3-Man rushes on nine different occasions against the Chiefs. For the majority of the night, the strategy really didn’t work. That was until they dialed them up in the 4th quarter.
On the snap, Miller is speed-rushing upfield, with Phillips using a Power move to compress the pocket. It essentially boils down to a High/Low rush between those two rushers with Milano dropping out into a Spy Role.
Miller is matched up with Left Tackle Orlando Brown Jr, and Brown is using a Vertical set, but it really looks like he is just backpedaling.
So he doesn’t stand a chance to keep up with Miller because he is running forward at full speed. Miller wins the outside half of Brown and when Brown looks to engage, Miller executes his patented Ghost-Stab.
He dips under the hands of Brown, but Brown wanted to take a walk in the park with Miller.
Miller clears Brown but Mahomes is able to step up in the pocket.
But he stepped up into trouble because Phillips was making a bee-line for the QB’s spot in the pocket. But the Magician was able to escape.
Mahomes escapes but Miller stays in the play
Somehow, Miller chased Mahomes down after only a three-yard gain. Just incredible tenacity and heart shown by Miller. The tackle held the Chiefs to only a field goal on this drive.
4th Quarter – 6:19 – 3rd and 6 – 2nd Sack
Miller’s second sack of the game came on another 3-man rush. The Bills align Shaq Lawson a right defensive end, with Phillips lined up just inside him. Milano is head up over the right guard with Miller in a two-point stance in wide-9 alignment.
Prior to the snap, you can hear Mahomes tell his offensive line to treat Milano as a pass rusher. So that means, they are accounting for him in the protection. With the running back aligned opposite Miller, this puts him 1 on 1 with the right tackle.
Miller speed rushes upfield, and when the tackle punches out Miller once again busts out the Ghost-Stab.
Miller then transitions to a Rip to get under the blocker.
Then the 33-year old flashes bend and strength to turn the corner.
Mahomes has no one open down the field and nowhere to go because Miller has him dead to rights. Just an insane move by Miller and a sack the defensive needed. The Chiefs were forced to punt, and the Bills drove down the field for the go-ahead touchdown.
4th Quarter – :56 – 1st and 10 – Interception
The Chiefs took possession of the ball with 1:04 on the clock. The Bills used a 3-man rush, and the pressure worked but the late pressure from the Spying LB Matt Milano forced an incompletion. But, defensive back Siran Neal got called for holding. On the very next play, the Bills send out another 3-man rush.
On the prior play, another 3-man rush, Miller used a spin move inside to get Mahomes off of the spot. This time he just rushes upfield but then purposely cuts inside. The inside rush is meant to attack where Mahomes is setting up in the pocket. It’s meant to get him off of the spot. But as he cuts inside the guard helps.
But Miller is able to slither by to still affect Mahomes.
Miller turns the corner and forces Mahomes to his right just as the play intended.
Milano turns in his spy card and converts into a rusher. But en route to Mahomes, he does a great job of staying in the passing lane so that Mahomes can’t quite hit Sky Moore coming across the field. Cornerback Dane Jackson is in Man coverage on Moore, but he’s out of phase.
But defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier dialed up a Combo coverage. They played Zone to the trips side but Man coverage to the weakside. So while Jackson is out of phase, he has help underneath in Taron Johnson. Johnson picks Mahomes off and the Bills go on to win. A team win, but a win that likely doesn’t happen if the Bills don’t have Miller.