The Buffalo Bills entered Sunday looking to put some room between themselves and the rest of the AFC, needing to play a solid game against the Denver Broncos in order to do so. Rather than merely playing a solid game, Buffalo was dominant, beating Denver 20-3 in a game that never felt even that close.
The Bills out-gained the Broncos by nearly 300 yards, netting 424 yards to Denver’s 134. Buffalo converted 50% of their third-down chances, ran for over 200 yards, and held quarterback Brandon Allen to 82 passing yards on 25 attempts. While the Broncos have managed to play plenty of tough, close games this year, this wasn’t one of them. The Bills took Denver out to the woodshed on Sunday.
How did our Buffalo players to watch fare this week? It was a mixed bag among our choices this week, but there were no negative performances from the group.
QB Josh Allen
Okay...I’m really starting to feel excited about this guy. Allen was once again efficient, accurate, and patient, completing 60 percent of his passes (15-of-25 attempts) for the eighth time this season. He only accomplished that feat twice during his rookie season. While he did throw his first interception in over a month (more on that in a minute), he also threw for two touchdowns on a day where he passed for 185 yards. He added 56 yards rushing on nine attempts. The two touchdowns he threw were absolutely beautiful. On the first one, he stood in the pocket and took a hit while waiting for Cole Beasley to come across the middle off a double-move, throwing a dime with a defender in his face. The second touchdown was also on a double-move, this one to John Brown, who beat Chris Harris for a 34-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. The pass on the interception looked so bad that it had to have been the result of a miscommunication, and Allen appeared to be explaining to Matt Barkley what he expected the receiver to do on the route. Overall, Allen has looked every bit the franchise-changing quarterback the Bills thought they were taking seventh overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. He’s far from a finished product, and he still has plenty of improving left to do—and that’s the part that should scare opposing teams. Allen has combined for 22 touchdowns this season, and he looks more accurate and poised with each passing week. He’ll face a stiff test this Thursday against the Dallas Cowboys, but he faced a great pass defense this week, as well, and he aced the test. In front of a national audience on Thanksgiving Day, he’ll face arguably the biggest test of his young career, which combines beating a top-notch pass defense with controlling his own emotions on a huge stage.
TE Dawson Knox
Rambo had a quiet day this week, as he only hauled in two passes for 11 yards on the afternoon. He was a big part of the Bills’ rushing success, however, as he was out in front on plenty of big runs that both Devin Singletary and Frank Gore sprung. The former had his first career 100-yard rushing game, and the latter moved into third place on the NFL’s all-time-rushing-yardage list, passing the great Barry Sanders in the process. Knox was thought of as a raw pass catcher who would struggle to block when Buffalo drafted him, but he has shown himself to be a solid all-around tight end in his rookie year. Kudos to general manager Brandon Beane and the scouting staff for making sure they brought Knox to Buffalo.
RT Cody Ford
Another of Buffalo’s rookies, Ford had a tremendous game lining up against Von Miller. Allen only took one sack on the day, and the Bills repeatedly had tons of time to throw. The team lost its starting center, Mitch Morse, to a hand injury early on, but the offensive line didn’t miss a beat. Any time a team allows only one sack and runs for over 200 yards, the big fellas up front must have had a huge game. Ford has looked overmatched at times this year, but he looked like a seasoned veteran this week.
DE Jerry Hughes
Interestingly enough, Hughes was the only one of Buffalo’s top-seven defensive linemen not to appear on the stats sheet this week. While it isn’t unusual for rookie Darryl Johnson to put up a zero, it is odd for Hughes to do it. However, his continued presence makes everyone else’s job on the line easier. Shaq Lawson notched two sacks, Ed Oliver and Star Lotulelei each had one, and the Bills were able to pressure Brandon Allen consistently. Hughes’s status will be worth monitoring entering Thursday afternoon’s game, as he has not practiced on either Wednesday or Thursday for the last two weeks.
CB Tre’Davious White
Buffalo’s top corner was matched up on Denver’s top receiver, Courtland Sutton, for the majority of the afternoon. On Sutton’s first target, he came across the field and secured a 27-yard catch off a play-action fake. On his next seven targets, he failed to add to that stat line. White was phenomenal yet again, adding an interception late in the first half for good measure. He now has four picks on the year, and while he is deservedly hearing some Pro Bowl talk, he should start hearing some All Pro chatter, as well. White is in the upper-echelon of the league’s corners, and a day like he had today was just another example of his ridiculous talent.