With 2017 in the books following a fairly surprising playoff berth, we look back at the season and our beloved Buffalo Bills. Every week is a story, and we bring this to you through the lens of key plays that defined the game. Your Week 7 match-up:
Oakland Raiders vs. Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills had won a thrilling affair against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6 to improve to 4-2. What better way to follow up a victory over a pirate-themed team than to square off against another pirate-themed team. Yep, the Oakland Raiders were coming to town in the midst of an up and down season.
The visiting Raiders had just defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, the darlings of the AFC West. Marshawn Lynch’s return to Buffalo would have been a major headline. Except it was canceled thanks to his decision to shove an official the week before. With their running game at less than peak efficiency, and a long trip East, the Raiders never found a rhythm on offense. The Bills put together their most complete game of the season and easily secured a victory for the home crowd.
Matt Milano fumble recovery and TD (Q2 0:41)
The Raiders had scored a touchdown on their first possession of the game, but they struggled to move the ball afterward. The Bills had tied it up midway through the second quarter, and neither team could pull away. With the half dwindling and the Raiders approaching midfield, Matt Milano personified the concept of “right place at the right time.” Credit Milano for his excellent reaction time and hustle after catching the ball, which was dislodged during the Leonard Johnson tackle. Tre’Davious White quickly jumped in as the lead blocker and Milano took it the distance to give the Bills the lead.
Stephen Hauschka 44-yard field goal (Q3 8:23)
The Bills continued to rally after the Milano TD, with Stephen Hauschka putting another three points on the board to start the second half, extending Buffalo’s lead to 10. Micah Hyde intercepted a Derek Carr pass on the next possession. Hauschka was called upon again (shown above) to further extend the lead. Is Derek Carr starting to look worried?
Tyrod Taylor TD (Q4 15:00)
All hail The Process! The Raiders would out-gain the Bills by more than 30 yards and tallied six more first downs. Despite that, the Bills handily won the time of possession battle, holding the ball for over 35 minutes. Drives like the one leading to Tyrod Taylor’s one-yard TD were a major reason for the lopsided victory. Eating up over seven minutes of clock on 14 plays, this 80-yard drive was the archetype of Buffalo Bills football in 2017.
Derek Carr incomplete pass to Amari Cooper (Q4 3:25)
The Raiders needed to work quickly to have a chance to come back, and that’s exactly what they did, scoring a TD of their own in response to Taylor’s. The Bills played conservatively in response, but still managed to burn over five minutes of clock. It was nearing desperation time for the Raiders. On this fourth down play, the only option was to go for it. The Bills’ secondary had made progress difficult all game, as seen clearly here with narrow passing lanes. Carr couldn’t quite fit it in, and this was essentially game over.
LeSean McCoy TD (Q4 3:21)
With the game essentially sealed, the dispirited Raiders’ defense let LeSean McCoy through the cracks. Immediately after turning over the ball on downs, Shady ran for daylight to the tune of 48 yards. The Raider tried one last time, but a Trae Elston interception officially put the game into the realm of “take a knee” for Buffalo. How frustrated were the Raiders?