Through the first half of a windy, gritty, defensive battle, the Buffalo Bills are tied 3-3 with the Baltimore Ravens. This game is a mirror image, featuring two one-dimensional offenses and two defenses keyed at stopping them. Even the special teams are familiar—Ravens kicker Justin Tucker has doinked two field goal attempts, and Sam Koch shanked a punt that put the Bills in scoring position to start a drive. Meanwhile, Bills kicker Tyler Bass has a miss of his own in the blustery nighttime winds, but also scored his other field goal attempt.
The Bills’ offense, facing an aggressive Ravens front and several complicated pre-snap looks, has been aggressively pass-heavy in this game. 17 of their first 18 plays were pass attempts, the only run being a scramble by Josh Allen. Allen misfired a few deep attempts (possibly hampered by the blustery winds), and the Bills haven’t been able to string together any long drives in this game. Buffalo only has 115 yards at halftime—and this is easily their worst halftime offensive performance of the season. Advantage: defense.
The Bills’ defense, meanwhile, drew the tough assignment of Lamar Jackson, Gus Edwards, J.K. Dobbins, and the Ravens’ run game. They were gashed for chunk plays on the initial drive of the game, but they applied the clamps afterward. They shut down the Ravens for pretty much the rest of the half, until Lamar Jackson threw back across his body and hit Marquise “Hollywood” Brown for a 30-yard gain in the final minute of the second quarter. That play bought the Ravens enough breathing room to bring the ball close enough for Tucker’s 34-yard field goal that tied the game just before halftime.
The Bills will receive the opening kickoff of the second half. They need to find some rhythm on offense and score some points—both to extend their lead, and to give their defense some much-needed breathing room. Here’s your second-half thread.