Here are our takeaways from the game:
Reports of Josh Allen’s demise have been greatly exaggerated
I wore my Josh Allen jersey to work on Friday and told all my students he was ready for his breakout game. (Last week I wore my division champs shirt before they took the AFC East lead.) Allen came through for me and I guess he also did great for the Bills. It took him 35 minutes to get to 100 yards last week but he had 300 yards at that point in Week 3. They pulled him with 5:21 left in the game when he was 32-of-43 for 358 yards, four passing touchdowns, and another touchdown on the ground. Simply put, he made all the throws he’s been missing. He had great placement. He made good decisions. It was 2020 Josh back in the game and he finally looked settled. If he can play like this, the Bills can compete with anyone.
Sanders and Allen finally on the same page
It’s been a storyline for the first few weeks. Outside of the play-action 35-yarder on the second drive in Week 2, Josh Allen and Emmanuel Sanders haven’t been able to really connect. They were 4-for-4/89 receiving yards and a TD before the half, including a beautiful shoestring grab for the first touchdown of the game. After that score, Allen lofted a gorgeous pass to Sanders, finally putting the air under the ball to let Sanders pluck it from the defender for a big gain. Then in the third quarter, Allen found Sanders in the back of the end zone for another touchdown (though Sanders wasn’t able to pick up the two-point conversion). He finished with 5 catches for 94 yards and the tuddies.
Special teams problems again
Remember when the Bills signed Andre Roberts because they didn’t trust Isaiah McKenzie to return kicks and punts? Well McKenzie let a kickoff drop in front of him in the second quarter and it was recovered by the Washington Football Team. They would score to cut the score to 21-14. McKenzie didn’t have a great game fielding punts in Week 1, either, and you have to wonder if Buffalo will make a change to Marquez Stevenson after he is eligible to return from injured reserve. McKenzie is hit and miss, with big plays going both ways in the first three weeks, as you saw with his big punt return (that was called back by penalty). To start the second half, Tyler Bass kicked it out of bounds to start the WFT drive at the 40. Add to that the blocked punt in Week 1, and Buffalo’s special teams have really been questionable over the first three weeks.
Shades of Brady
The Bills got the ball back with 26 seconds left on their own 20 after a punt touchback. OK. Take a knee and go into the half up ten. WRONG! A pass for 13 yards to Stefon Diggs, then 22 yards over the middle to Cole Beasley got into WFT territory, then 11 more to Diggs got Buffalo into field-goal range. Even with six seconds left, they trusted the offense and Dawson Knox gained five yards in four seconds. Tyler Bass made it worth it by hitting a 48-yard field goal as time expired. It was s surgical drive to end the half and add a few more points.
Despite one bad play, Bills’ defense is outstanding again
The WFT scored 21 points, but 7 came with a short field after the kickoff debacle. Another 7 points was on one play; a 75-yard catch and run by Antonio Gibson on a screen. Buffalo shut out the Miami Dolphins and held the Football Team mostly in check on Sunday. Even with the long play and lopsided score leading to prevent defense and aggressive offense, they held the Football Team under 300 total yards. Three turnovers on great plays from the secondary. Buffalo has the chance to be a complete team for the first time in a long time. Washington was two of 11 on third-down conversions.