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Buffalo Bills 24, Washington 9: Rapid recap and notes

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Great day for Devin Singletary.

In a passing of the torch from the all-time stars to the young upstart, the Buffalo Bills—led by rookie Devin Singletary—won their sixth game of the season, 24-9. The Bills were much more effective converting their drives from field-goal territory to end-zone paydirt, and Washington couldn’t keep up. On a windy day that saw both teams favoring their ground game, Buffalo’s young runner was the star of the day.

Both teams, trying to protect their young quarterbacks from the elements and optimize their game plans against the defense, ran extensively on the ground. The Bills ran nearly twice as many times as they passed, while Washington, playing from behind most of the game, ran 23 times and passed 22.

The initial highlight was an old veteran, the 34-year old Adrian Peterson. In the first half, Peterson ran up 123 yards on only eleven touches, looking like the MVP of old. He certainly outshone Buffalo’s Frank Gore, who had a day to forget. Then the Bills’ defense recovered. They snuffed Peterson in the second half, holding him to seven yards on seven carries.

Gore really struggled, with the Bills running Singletary’s hot hand and using Gore mainly as a short-yardage specialist. He only totaled 15 yards on 11 carries, including an ugly stretch where the Bills nearly failed to convert a 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Instead, as Gore struggled and Peterson faded down the stretch, the rookie Singletary carried the load. He ran 20 times for 95 yards and a touchdown, along with three catches for 45 yards, powering the Bills downfield all day.

Strangely, the Bills all but abandoned Josh Allen’s arm after the first quarter. He took a sack and had a pop pass go backwards on Buffalo’s second drive, but had 92 passing yards after the first quarter. From then until the Bills took over with six minutes remaining in the game, Allen barely handled the ball. Despite going 5-of-7 for 35 yards over that stretch, the Bills leaned on the run for each of their five drives (not counting a kneel-down) over that span.

Special teams featured several highlights, both good and bad. Both punters had shanked punts, but Corey Bojorquez also had a beautiful rolling 59-yard kick. Andre Roberts took a rare kickoff return 66 yards, and even Patrick DiMarco got in on the action with a nice 24-yard return.

Injury Notes

  • Trent Murphy was banged up and walked off the field at one point, but returned to the game.
  • Micah Hyde also stepped out briefly, but returned to play the rest of the game.

Miscellaneous

  • A team-leading sixth sack of the season by Jordan Phillips. Great season he’s been having.
  • Also notching a historic sack was Tre’Davious White, with his first career QB take down.
  • Jerry Hughes broke a long sack-less streak of his own, with his first since the season opener.
  • The Bills didn’t ask him to do much, but Josh Allen completed 14-of-20 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown. He had deep passes just barely miss John Brown and Robert Foster, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
  • John Brown couldn’t come down with Allen’s deep pass on one heave, but was otherwise his usual clutch self. four catches for 76 yards, including a 25-yard reception on the team’s final touchdown drive.
  • There’ll be plenty of questions surrounding Brian Daboll’s playcalling in this one. He had early success on some tricky misdirection, then overused it to the point it stopped working. He also leaned too heavily on heavy run looks in short-yardage situations.
  • This wasn’t exactly the dominating win the Bills wanted, but 24-9 over a bad team is still decisive. At 6-2, the Bills are where they want to be in the season.
  • By reaching 6-2, the team also reached six wins the earliest in a season since their Super Bowl years.