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Stock up, Stock down: Buffalo Bills defense shines as offense sputters

Outside of one play, the Bills’ defense was on lockdown

Coming off an emotional win over the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, the Buffalo Bills had no chance to rest on their laurels as the hottest team in the NFL came to Orchard Park on Sunday. Buffalo’s defense did all it could, but the offense dropped the ball (literally) in a 24-17 loss that pushed the Bills’ record to 9-4.

With a loss, of course there are plenty of candidates for Stock Down, but it wasn’t all bad at New Era Field.

Stock up

Buffalo defense

Aside from one blown coverage, the Buffalo defense once again displayed it belongs in the conversation for best units in the league. The super-charged ground game of the Baltimore Ravens was held to a mere 118 yards, and just 257 total yards. The problem was, the defense was continually put into short-field scenarios. Need more proof the defense was on top of their game today? Entering the contest, Baltimore had punted 24 total times. Against Buffalo, the Ravens punted seven times. This loss is definitely not on the defense.

Stephen Hauschka

A week after earning a spot in the Stock Down category, Hauschka bounced back in a big way. On a blustery day in Orchard Park, Hauschka made all three of his field goals. Hopefully this is the start of a turnaround for the veteran kicker, as the Bills will most likely need him to make pressure-packed kicks down the stretch.

Stock Down

Offensive Line

This was arguably the offensive line’s worst performance of the year. Josh Allen was under constant pressure against the 22nd-ranked defense in the league. There was very little running room as well for Devin Singletary, whose stat line was boosted by a 38-yard rush in the fourth quarter. If Buffalo is to pull off the win on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15, the big guys up front need to have a bounce-back game.

Dawson Knox

I’m sure that fans will point to his one-handed grab late in the game and internet-scream that he’s on this list. Rest assured, however, he deserves his spot. The first Baltimore touchdown was a direct result of his getting blown by in pass protection, resulting in a Josh Allen fumble. He also had a drop on catch that would have kept a drive alive near the red zone. In the fourth quarter, he had what would have been a catch in the end zone hit the ground. The ball hitting the ground is too common an occurrence for the rookie tight end. His bulldozer mentality is appealing to Bills fans, but if this were someone the fans didn’t seem to like (i.e. Zay Jones), it would be a different story.

Josh Allen

After the best outing of his career against Dallas, the young QB came crashing back down to earth against Baltimore. Allen finished with just 146 yards on 39 attempts. He also continued his troubling trend of giving his receivers no chance on a number of deep passes, and he reverted back to bailing out of the pocket too soon, even if pressure wasn’t there. This game was unquestionably a step back for the second-year quarterback. On a positive note, even with all that went wrong, Allen had a chance to tie the game in the closing minute.