In a result that absolutely nobody saw coming, the Buffalo Bills traveled to Minnesota (not Wisconsin) and crushed the Vikings on their home turf, 27-6. The Bills (1-2) jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter on the back of some impressive play from Josh Allen and short fields from a pair of Kirk Cousins fumbles, and never looked back. By halftime, the team was ahead by four scores, and they hit cruise control midway through the fourth quarter.
Allen did a phenomenal job managing the game early on, going 4-for-5 on the opening drive and running in a touchdown to give the Bills their first lead of the 2018 season. His only incompletion was a Kelvin Benjamin drop. He stayed efficient throughout the game, going 15-of-22 for 196 yards, a passing touchdown, and 39 rushing yards with two rushing touchdowns. He only took three sacks against a well-regarded Vikings defense, and looked comfortable progressing through his reads. Marcus Murphy and Chris Ivory did a fine job filling in for the injured LeSean McCoy, with 27 rushes for 91 yards and four receptions for 71 yards.
The defense was equally impressive. They got to Cousins early for two turnovers, kept him uncomfortable in forcing the next several drives to amount to nothing, and didn’t surrender a score until the last three minutes of the game. The Bills benefited from some lucky bounces, but landed four sacks and three turnovers. Their tackling was exceptional.
The Bills head to Green Bay next week to face a beleaguered 1-1-1 team looking to find its direction. While today’s result shouldn’t be counted on for the future, it’s a nice sign that the team responded well to some early season adversity.
- In six quarters to begin their 2018 season, the Buffalo Bills were outscored 75-9. In the next six quarters, which included today’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, the Bills outscored their opponents 41-9.
- Robert Foster narrowly dropped a deep ball from Josh Allen that would’ve landed another 50+ yards. He also dropped a shovel pass which was ruled as a fumble and a loss of several yards. The rookie’s speed is enticing, but his lapses of concentration are holding him back.
- Jerry Hughes had a strong day against Riley Reiff, with a sack and a forced fumble.
- Matt Milano might have been the most impressive defender, with a sack, a fumble recovery, and an interception. That was the first Bills defender to have such a game since Troy Vincent in 2004.
- Center Russell Bodine left the game with cramps but returned. Kelvin Benjamin left with cramps of his own, but made an appearance on the hands team with Buffalo’s onside kick recovery team. Ryan Lewis, starting in his first NFL game, left in the fourth quarter after suffering an injury. Trent Murphy (who had a strip sack) left with an ankle injury and was replaced by Nate Orchard.