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Bills Take On Chiefs, Legacy Of Late-Season Failure

Filed under: Buffalo Bills, Sports

A little history to think about leading up to today’s meeting between the Buffalo Bills and the equally 5-3 Kansas City Chiefs:

Since they last made the playoffs following the 1999 season, the Bills have played 47 games after Nov. 1 against teams that ultimately reached the postseason.

Buffalo has won nine of them.

That’s a .191 winning percentage.

Much of that is ancient history, by modern NFL standards. Since 2008, though, it gets even uglier. The Bills are 2-13 against playoff-bound teams since Trent Edwards’ first season as Buffalo’s full-time starter.

Even those two victories come with caveats. In 2011, the Bills exposed Tim Tebow — again — as a charismatic, earnest young man not good enough at playing quarterback to last in the league at that position. And the 30-7 win over Indianapolis in the season finale came against a 14-1 Colts team with nothing to play for, as evidenced by Curtis Painter replacing Peyton Manning for the second half for the second straight week.

So the Bills have not won a game against a playoff-caliber foe operating with a legitimate starting quarterback for the entire contest since 2007, when they edged Washington 17-16. And that one barely qualifies, since the quarterback in question was Jason Campbell and coaching legend Joe Gibbs tried to ice Rian Lindell twice at the end, the second time with a timeout he did not possess.

Today’s visit by the Chiefs is the first of six occasions on which the Bills will face an opponent in contention for this year’s postseason tournament.

Kansas City enjoys a couple of key match-up advantages:

— The league’s sixth-ranked running attack goes up against against a Buffalo rush defense that has yielded 158 and 175 yards in its last two outings.

— A pass rush that ranks third in the NFL with 27 sacks (one fewer than the No. 2 Bills) will be chasing after Kyle Orton, who has been dumped 17 times in four starts, thanks in no small part to an offensive line that could generously be called shaky.

Orton and Doug Marrone have had an extra week to prepare for a chance at succeeding where Chan Gailey, Perry Fewell, Dick Jauron, E.J. Manuel, Jeff Tuel (whose goal-line pick -six one year and six days ago helped keep Kansas City unbeaten), Ryan Fitzpatrick, Edwards, and J.P. Losman have repeatedly failed.

After all, in sports, history doesn’t mean anything.

Except when it does.