The Denver Broncos came into Orchard Park to face the Buffalo Bills with three wins and seven losses. Of those seven losses, five of them had been by a score or less. There were many who felt that the Broncos were a team set to beat Buffalo, as Denver has played better than its record would indicate for the majority of the season.
Narrator: Well, they felt wrong.
Buffalo flat-out dominated the Broncos on Sunday, holding them to 134 net yards of offense and just a measly field goal en route to a 20-3 victory. The game didn’t even feel as close as the score indicated, but Denver’s defense was able to hold Buffalo to field goals in the first half when the Bills moved the ball freely into scoring position.
The Bills contained essentially everyone on Denver’s roster, so their list of players to watch doesn’t have many who performed well. Here’s how it went for Denver.
QB Brandon Allen
In the first half, Allen looked more than capable of keeping up with his counterpart and sharer of his surname, Buffalo’s Josh Allen. Brandon Allen completed seven of his first ten passes in the first half for 78 yards. On his final pass of the first half, however, he threw a bad interception in the red zone to Tre’Davious White, and it was all downhill from there. Allen was just 3-of-14 in the second half, throwing for four yards. Four. That’s it. He lost nearly five times as many yards in taking two sacks (19) than he had total passing yards in the half. He had three would-be interceptions dropped by Buffalo defenders. It was a horrific performance overall for Allen against a top-notch Bills defense.
RB Phillip Lindsay
Denver’s top rusher was solid, but a negative game script led to his being less effective than he could have been were the Broncos able to keep the game closer. Lindsay finished with 13 carries for 57 yards on the day, adding one catch for 11 yards on three targets. An elusive, tough runner, Lindsay’s success was limited by his quarterback’s atrocious play.
WR Courtland Sutton
Denver’s top wideout caught his first target of the day, a 27-yard gain off a beautifully executed play-action fake. After that catch, Sutton saw seven more targets come his way, and he was unable to make another catch. Even though he only caught that one pass, he still led the Broncos in receiving yards on the day, which should tell you all you need to know about how good Tre’Davious White and the rest of the Bills’ defense was. Sutton was locked up in man coverage with White for nearly the entire game, and the Bills’ top cover man won the match-up easily.
EDGE Von Miller
Okay, by a show of hands, how many of you thought that rookie tackle Cody Ford would be able to contain Miller? You’re a liar, you’re a liar, you’re a liar. The match-up definitely was not one in Buffalo’s favor, as the All-Pro pass rusher was facing off against a green rookie who has struggled with speedy pass rushers this year. Miller managed to have a solid stat line, making three tackles, two for loss, and adding a sack and a quarterback hit on the afternoon; however, the sack came in the first quarter, and he was largely quiet for the rest of the game. The Bills were able to control the line of scrimmage, keeping Miller and his teammates from doing much for most of the afternoon.
CB Chris Harris
The veteran was definitely respected by the Bills, as they stayed away from top receiver John Brown for much of the day as a result of Harris’s coverage. However, the Bills were able to exploit something I mentioned in our preview article—Harris’s penchant for giving up the big play this year—when Brown ran a sweet double-move in the fourth quarter, leading to a beautiful 34-yard touchdown pass from Allen to his favorite wideout. The best part about that play was that the suggestion came from Brown himself. Harris finished the day with six tackles.