The Buffalo Bills got the better of the Baltimore Ravens in a 23-20 AFC showdown on Sunday afternoon. Interestingly, the Bills won while playing awful for nearly the entire first half. At one point, the Bills had spotted the Ravens a 20-3 lead. Win probability tells us that’s a dangerous murder of crows to pester. Let’s look at the tape to see just how lucky Buffalo was to leave Maryland with a win on Sunday.
As I talked about in my preview of the Ravens’ rushing attack, you have to be aware of a pitchman sneaking behind you when quarterback Lamar Jackson has the ball. Baltmore absolutely lives off this in the run game. Here we have Jackson in the shotgun with Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins to his left. At the snap, three Bills defenders close in on Jackson, while Dobbins leaks out behind them for the pitch. Dobbins has no one in front of him and walks into the end zone for the touchdown.
On Baltimore’s next touchdown, they just create a massive hole on the left side of the line. The left guard and center both block down, and the left tackle blocks EDGE Von Miller. Then the Ravens have two tight ends lead bocking for Dobbins. This play ends with Dobbins running through a massive hole behind two lead blockers (which of course means a touchdown).
With slot receivers, their availability is supposed to mean an easy short completion exists (which is why slots are so valuable in 3rd & SHORT situations). Jamison Crowder beats the corner and catches the ball (he bobbles it a little bit). Linebacker Josh Bynes hits Crowder in the middle of the field and he loses control of the football and drops it. Crowder needs to both control the football better when caught and better brace for contact over the middle.
Singletary runs to the left side on this play. Immediately when he runs through the hole (with both hands securing the football), EDGE Odafe Oweh swipes at the ball and causes the fumble. Now Oweh got a clean swipe at the ball, but that being said when both arms are around the ball like Singletary’s, losing the ball should almost never happen.
Quarterback Josh Allen made an errant throw on this play to tight end Dawson Knox. When Knox breaks on his route, Allen throws it behind him, to the point where it goes past Knox. Allen threw the ball so off target that all cornerback Marlon Humphrey needed to do was adjust his body by kneeling down for the pick.
The Bills have a dangerous catch-22 situation brewing. The truth is they can beat anyone, anywhere in the league. The problem is they have shown a propensity for also beating themselves. We saw this in the first half on Sunday, when the Bills found themselves down 20-3 due to far too many blown opportunities. Though, it could be worse—if your biggest threat (for now) is yourself.