Well, how do you like that? The Buffalo Bills came into their week six game hoping to extend their winning streak to four games, facing an unknown X-Factor in the athletic San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick. A sizeable portion of the Bills Nation was worried that this was a classic “trap game” that has held Buffalo back so often.
The Bills rushed for 312 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-16 blowout of the 49ers. It was the first time any team had managed over 300 rushing yards in a Bills game since... San Francisco, in 2012! It’s the first time since 1992, and the second since 1978, that the Bills reached the mark.. This was a throwback, ground-based beatdown on Buffalo’s part.
After forcing a punt on San Francisco’s first possession, the Bills came out on offense and couldn’t get out of their own way. Tyrod Taylor was pressured early, and Arik Armstead was unblocked on a play action pass, forcing a fumble before Taylor could even fake the handoff. The 49ers recovered the ball in Buffalo territory, but the Bills were able to hold them to a field goal.
On the next drive, Buffalo looked more composed. Taylor went 5/5 for 50 yards, and the team mixed in some trickery with their direct snap package and the EJ Manuel package, finishing with an option pitch to LeSean McCoy for the touchdown.
The 49ers answered right back. They used some misdirection of their own, taking advantage of Colin Kaepernick’s running threat to gash Buffalo on running plays. A blown coverage allowed Torrey Smith to run free through the secondary, and Kaepernick connected with him for a 53 yard touchdown.
The Bills just kept pounding on their next drive. McCoy busted open a 38 yard run, and a few plays later, followed some beautiful blocking on a touchdown run out of the direct snap package. 20 minutes into the game, he had rushed nine times for 84 yards and his second touchdown.
The 49ers drove down the field but stalled in Bills territory, settling for a 48 yard field goal. With two minutes to go, Buffalo drove down the field. A Tyrod Taylor pass almost brought the team to the five yard line, but Marquise Goodwin’s foot was out of bounds. The Bills took a 17-13 lead over the 49ers at halftime with a field goal.
LeSean McCoy and Robert Woods both appeared to suffer injuries during that final drive, but McCoy’s turned out not to be an issue, and he came back into the game to start the second half.
Both teams traded punts in the third quarter, and the turning point came on a 49ers fourth-and-one play. Preston Brown stopped the halfback dive to turn the ball over. On the next drive, Taylor suddenly found his passing rhythm. He connected on an intermediate pass to Nick O’Leary, then placed a perfect ball to Justin Hunter, who collected his second touchdown in as many weeks. 24-13, Bills.
In the fourth quarter, the 49ers responded with a field goal drive of their own, but Buffalo continued to beat down their defense. Tyrod Taylor used some nifty pocket movement to extend the drive, and McCoy scored his third touchdown of the day. The team forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and a Robert Woods touchdown catch made it 38-16. Lorenzo Alexander got his customary sack, and the 49ers punted. At that point, the backups came in, and they scored a touchdown too for good measure.
The Bills came into this game as a two-score favorite against the 49ers, but jaded Buffalo fans refused to believe that the team would come away with an easy victory. Luckily, they needn't have worried. From top to bottom of the roster, this Bills team was prepared to win a game they should have won.
Now sitting at 4-2, the Bills look to extend that winning streak to five games against the Miami Dolphins.