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Five takeaways: Buffalo Bills defense shuts down Baltimore Ravens, but it’s not enough

The Buffalo Bills narrowly lost to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, and showed they belong in the conversations among the better teams in the NFL. After all that, here are our five takeaways from the 24-17 loss at New Era Field.

Defense shuts down the Baltimore running game

The Ravens had been averaging 5.6 yards per carry this year, but Buffalo held them to 3.58 yards per carry on Sunday. Lamar Jackson (3.6 YPC) and Mark Ingram (3.3 YPC) were both held in check as Buffalo’s defense did a great job slowing the Ravens. Baltimore gained the fewest yards of their season and punted the most times.

Refs a story again

A roughing-the-passer call in the fourth quarter that helped the Ravens score the dagger touchdown. A pass interference no-call on Robert Foster to end the third quarter and possibly extend a scoring drive for the Bills when they were down by one score. Sean McDermott losing his mind because Baltimore wasn’t called for 12 men in the huddle. On the Bills’ last-gasp drive, there were two penalties on the Ravens that were 15 yards each and both a bit suspect before Quinton Spain was called for holding while the Baltimore defender was grabbing his facemask. All of that was before the phantom pass interference call that got Buffalo inside the Ravens’ 20-yard line with two minutes to go.

Holy crap, they went for two

Down 15 points with just over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Bills scored a touchdown and then did something strange; they lined up for a 2-point conversion over the questions of the CBS announcers. The old Sean McDermott would have kicked the extra point to be down 8 points. This time, the Bills went for it. You need to know how many points you need as early as possible. If you know you need at least one two-point conversion over a constrained time frame, going for it early is the better way to do it. It was a great decision, the Bills converted, and were down by a touchdown.

Horrible first half for the offense

In the first quarter, Buffalo had one first down, seven total yards, and one passing yard on four possessions including a turnover on a strip-sack. By the end of the half, it was 74 total yards with just 18 passing yards. Woof. The offensive line wasn’t great, Josh Allen was bad, and they could not get anything going. They were able to come away with two field goals after one sustained drive on the back of Devin Singletary and following a Ravens shanked punt.

Josh Allen beaten and battered

He had his ankle wrapped in the first half after Mitch Morse stepped on his foot while he was scrambling, and Josh Allen took so many huge hits on throws. He was sacked six times and took several more crushing blows when he was able to get off the throw. Dude is gonna need an ice bath tonight and he’s going to be sore all week, just in time for a game against another team that leads the league in QB knockdowns.