Both teams started off the game by trading long, ultimately futile drives. The Bills took the first kickoff and established an 11-play, 74-yard drive that died at the San Francisco 1-yard line. The 49ers took over with a 13-play, 97-yard drive of their own, but the Bills’ defense stood strong and held that drive to zero points.
The Bills took over from there, but the drive went awry from the very start. Zack Moss and Josh Allen botched their handoff, and the ball bounced to the ground where the 49ers picked it up. Three plays later, they hit paydirt, with a slant touchdown to Brandon Aiyuk.
The Bills weren’t deterred by that unlucky turn of events. They responded with a touchdown of their own—on a five-play, 77-yard drive that finished with a dart to Cole Beasley at the goal line. Beasley, in the first half, had seven catches for 113 yards and that touchdown.
The Bills would force a punt after four plays from the 49ers, then started another methodical touchdown drive. Mixing runs and short passes, the Bills marched 69 yards in 14 plays. A quick flip to Dawson Knox, who made his best Superman impression diving into the end zone, and they were up 14-7.
The Bills’ defense stepped up again on the next drive. Five plays that ultimately ended in a punt, after Matt Milano’s pressure forced an errant throw. The Bills followed up with a perfect two-minute drill that gave them a field goal before halftime.
In terms of injuries, both Devin Singletary and Zack Moss appeared to suffer minor injuries early in the game, but returned and played through the half. Cole Beasley also appeared to be shaken up on the team’s first drive, but had no issue returning to the game.
One other point of note for the team—the Bills apparently benched Brian Winters partway through the game. Ike Boettger slotted in at left guard, with Jon Feliciano moving over to replace Winters at right guard.
The Bills will be kicking off to the 49ers to start the second half. If Buffalo can hold onto their lead in the second half, they’ll advance their record to 9-3 and come one step closer to clinching the division title. Here’s your open thread for the second half. Go Bills!