When the Chiefs took that away, the Bills offense collapsed.
"It just comes down to us being focused for 60 minutes every game," said Taylor, who threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns in the Bills' 30-22 loss to Kansas City on Sunday. "We have to be on board and execute for 60 minutes."
Watkins had all six of his catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, while Buffalo (5-6) had just 134 yards total in the second.
That allowed Kansas City (6-5) to pull away for its fifth straight win in a matchup of teams in the AFC wild-card race.
"We didn't get the job done," Watkins said. "We've got to put the nail in the coffin when we play great teams like this. You give them a chance and let them live, they start making plays — their defense starts making plays. We've got to put them away."
"It was just up to the players to execute the call, and we did better — a lot better — in the second half," Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said.
The Bills (5-6) had a chance for a tying touchdown when they took over at their 10 with 3:25 left. But after picking up a quick first down, Taylor was knocked out of bounds short of the marker on fourth-and-9 with 2:16 left, allowing the Chiefs to put the game away.
"We're out of mulligans," Bills coach Rex Ryan said.
Both teams sustained a rash of injuries as rain lashed Arrowhead Stadium all afternoon.
All-Pro linebacker Justin Houston was tripped by his Chiefs teammate in the first half and did not return with a knee injury. Left tackle Eric Fisher hurt his neck while center Mitch Morse sustained a concussion, and neither made it back onto the field.
Coach Andy Reid said the extent of all of them would not be known until Monday.
The first half amounted to a showcase for Taylor and Watkins.
They connected for a 48-yard reception on the game's opening drive to set up Dan Carpenter's 27-yard field goal. Then, two series later, Watkins ran away from coverage for a 28-yard touchdown reception that gave Buffalo a 10-0 lead.
"Hey," Smith said, "those guys get paid, too."
The Chiefs answered by airing it out themselves.
Alex Smith hit Maclin for 37 yards early in the second quarter to set up Ware's short TD run, and then found Maclin for a 41-yard touchdown reception to get within 16-14 at the half.
He beat Bills cornerback Ronald Darby, who just returned after undergoing concussion tests.
Kansas City took its first lead on a 15-yard touchdown pass to Kelce early in the second half, and Santos knocked through a 49-yard field goal to make it 24-16, before Taylor answered for Buffalo with a short touchdown pass to LeSean McCoy later in the third quarter.
Santos kicked his second field goal early in the fourth, then capped a 13-play drive that took 6 minutes, 31 seconds with a 37-yarder with 3:30 left that helped put the game away.
"It was a huge game," Johnson said. "We knew this was going to be an old-school fight, an in-the-back-alley-type deal. We came ready to play."
Notes: McCoy had 70 yards rushing and 31 yards receiving for the Bills to surpass 10,000 yards from scrimmage for his career. ... Kansas City honored Hall of Fame offensive lineman Will Shields during halftime. ... Taylor had 151 yards passing in the first quarter. ... Alex Smith has thrown 283 passes without an interception.