The big-ticket game between the 6-2 Buffalo Bills and 7-1 Minnesota Vikings went back and forth through two quarters, with both heavyweights trading explosive plays in all three phases of the game. But the Bills hold a 24-10 lead heading into halftime, thanks to some stout play from their defense and an explosive final scoring drive after the two-minute drill. While the Bills saw the triumphant return of Josh Allen after a week of missed practice, and promising results from a five-headed rushing attack, the Vikings continued to benefit from star receiver Justin Jefferson’s presence.
Jefferson showed up early with two catches for 68 yards and a touchdown on Minnesota’s opening drive, beating rookie Christian Benford for a big gain, but Benford’s played with a fantastic response ever since. He has an interception and three passes defended in only the first half of the game. The Bills’ rushing defense, much maligned in the last two weeks, has held the Vikings to 23 yards on eight carries despite the cold, rainy conditions that’d favor a ground attack. All in all, they’ve given up ten points, but forced a punt, an interception, and a turnover on downs on three of Minnesota’s five drives.
Allen, it turns out, wasn’t limited in his capabilities today. He’s been making throws at every level of the field except the truly deep throws. He looks confident and mobile in the pocket, with much better decision-making than his last two weeks. His supporting cast is showing up on their part, too—Gabe Davis, Isaiah McKenzie, and Dawson Knox have all made clutch catches so far. Meanwhile, the Bills brought five running backs (even Duke Johnson) to play today, and they’ve combined with Allen for 17 carries and 116 yards. Johnson added a 43-yard kick return to kickstart an early TD drive.
The key sequence in this game began with a Devin Singletary fumble. On a bang-bang play, after running for a first down, Singletary was stripped as he fell to the ground. It was one of those plays where, whatever the refs called in the moment, it’d stick. Combined with a long return, the Bills went from setting up a two-score lead to defending their home turf from a surging Vikings team. Instead, Buffalo’s defense held strong, broke up passes, and prevented a 4th & 1 attempt from gaining anything. Taking over from there, Josh Allen turned on his MVP switch and drove the Bills the rest of the way to lock in that two-score lead.
The Vikings will receive the opening kickoff of the second half. Even with a 14-point lead, this game is by no means over, but the Bills look like they’re focused today.
Here’s your discussion thread for the second half. Go Bills!