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Buffalo Bills 34, Oakland Raiders 14: Trust that process

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The Bills took a lead before the half and never looked back.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills cruised to a 34-14 win over the Oakland Raiders at New Era Field on Sunday, raising their record to 5-2 on the season. The Bills allowed Oakland to beat themselves with mistakes, avoided making major mistakes, and built a 20 point lead in the fourth quarter. A 48 yard LeSean McCoy touchdown scamper with three and a half minutes remaining in the game locked this one up for the home team.

On a rainy day in Orchard Park, the Bills took advantage of a slippery field, while the Raiders looked like a team more used to drought conditions. Four different Raiders fumbled the ball, and the Bills recovered two of those. One of them, with less than a minute remaining in the first half, was returned for a touchdown by rookie linebacker Matt Milano, who also forced another fumble later in the game.

The Bills were missing three defensive starters, including safety Jordan Poyer and cornerback E.J. Gaines, but you wouldn’t have known it by looking at the score. Micah Hyde came up with his fifth interception of the season, courtesy of a tipped pass by Preston Brown. In garbage time, Poyer’s replacement, Trae Elston, intercepted a pass of his own. Derek Carr only threw one touchdown, and was held to 6.4 yards per attempt.

McCoy came up with chunk yards all day, and finished the day with 33 touches for 173 yards and a touchdown. Tyrod Taylor was his usual mistake-free self, finishing 20-of-27 for 165 yards and a touchdown.

A special shout-out goes to the kicking and punting game. Stephen Hauschka made great work of the slick field, using pooch kicks to keep Oakland’s returners off-balance. He also forced a fumble of his own on Oakland returner Cordarelle Patterson. Colton Schmidt punted five times for 226 yards (45.2 net yards per punt), and four of those punts landed inside the 20 yard line, one landing at the one yard line. The Raiders didn’t have the same level of performance - hobbled punter Marquette King only averaged 38.3 yards on his four punts, and a holding penalty brought back a long kickoff return by Jamize Olawale.

MVP: RB LeSean McCoy

Buffalo’s defense and special teams gave the offense opportunities all day. McCoy made the most of them. The team rushed for more yards than it passed, with McCoy contributing 151 on the ground. He was a constant chain-mover for an offense that didn’t have many big plays today.

LVP: CB Shareece Wright

There are very few bad players to call out in this one. We’ll go with Wright. He had a solid game for most of four quarters, but gave up a few catches and was overrun during Oakland’s first quarter touchdown drive. Consider this more of a B- grade that didn’t beat the curve.

Notes

  • This was the first game in 2017 where neither team had a sack.
  • Andre Holmes, demoted to WR4 after Deonte Thompson’s big game, showed he’s still a valuable contributor to the passing game. He used two toe-tapping catches to add 51 yards and a touchdown, leading the team in receiving categories.
  • Is Zay Jones starting to turn the corner? Jones caught three of five targets for 32 yards, and one target was several yards away from Jones and not catchable. Jones didn’t get any catching opportunities in the second half.
  • Matt Milano had another good game, with a fumble recovery for a touchdown and a forced fumble.
  • The Bills didn’t miss Marcell Dareus up front, not that they were challenged much. The Raiders only ran 14 times for 54 yards, 3.9 per carry.