The Buffalo Bills entered Week 3 as a consensus No. 1 team among NFL power rankings. After a tough 21-19 loss to the Miami Dolphins, they are no longer a unanimous top squad. In most polls, they fell at least one spot, and in some, they fell even further than one spot.
At ESPN, Buffalo comes in at No. 2, trailing only the No. 1 Dolphins in this week’s poll. The league’s other undefeated team, the Philadelphia Eagles, is No. 3 this week. Alaina Getzenberg writes that even in spite of the loss, quarterback Josh Allen is putting together an MVP-caliber season early on this year. She writes that “He has the league’s lowest rate of off-target throws (8.0%) and leads in passing first downs (49) as well.” She goes on to write that things are far from perfect, as Buffalo is currently relying on Allen to carry too much of the offense (he leads the team in rushing thus far with 113 yards).
Our friends at The Ringer kept Buffalo in the No. 1 spot even with the loss, as Austin Gayle kept the Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, this week. Gayle writes that Buffalo was “a missed fourth-down throw to Isaiah McKenzie from beating the Dolphins on a sweltering day in South Florida and improving to 3-0.” I appreciate his optimism, but a banged-up Buffalo secondary still had to stop a dangerous Miami offense had that pass been completed; however, the uncharacteristic misfire from Allen meant that Buffalo remained in a trail position from which they could not recover. He closes by writing that “what happened on Sunday wasn’t enough to make [him] drop the Bills from the top spot in these rankings.”
Nate Davis at USA Today has Buffalo ranked No. 3 overall this week, trailing the league’s two remaining undefeated teams. He writes that Micah Hyde’s neck injury “looms as a long-term issue,” and that issue reared its ugly head during the loss to Miami this week. He also notes that the Bills need to “polish its hurry-up offense” or else risk incurring the wrath of offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey.
Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News has Buffalo ranked No. 2 overall, down one spot from last week. He writes that Buffalo “dominated play volume and time of possession against the Dolphins but just made a few too many critical mistakes and couldn’t finish.” This is true, as Buffalo led Miami in essentially every category that mattered aside from the one that matters most: points. Iyer writes that Buffalo still has a dominant offense and defense, giving particular praise to the secondary and how the group played undermanned in the brutal Miami weather.
Dalton Miller at Pro Football Network didn’t necessarily power rank the teams, but he placed them in tiers instead. Buffalo is listed in his second tier, titled “The two-win contenders.” He wrote that Buffalo is “still as talented as they were last week when they were burying contenders,” calling the Miami game “incredible to watch.” He chalked the loss up to the Bills running out of time at the end.
Josh Schrock ranked Buffalo No. 3 overall, once again trailing just the undefeated Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles. He summed up the loss at Miami rather nicely, as he wrote, “The Bills ran 90 offensive plays and lost. How is that even possible?” Well, when you run all those plays but miss a field goal, lose a fumble inside your own ten-yard line, and skip a quick-out to an open receiver on 4th & GOAL, that’s how you lose that game. Everything that could go wrong for the Bills did, and in the worst possible places at the worst possible times.
Dan Hanzus at NFL Network has Buffalo ranked No. 2 overall behind only the Eagles this week. He wrote that Buffalo’s undermanned secondary was exploited by Miami for a few downfield strikes, and those few downfield strikes ultimately swung the game in Miami’s favor late. He writes that, while the game itself was frustrating, the greater concern is the “injury-ravaged secondary.”
Pete Prisco at CBS Sports has Buffalo ranked No. 3 overall, trailing the Eagles and the Dolphins. Prisco also notes that the injuries are an issue for Buffalo. He writes that the “talk of cruising to a Super Bowl has subsided for at least a week,” which could be a blessing in disguise.
Conor Orr at Sports Illustrated not only ranked Buffalo No. 2 this week, but he even threw us a little shout-out here at Buffalo Rumblings. He wrote that the Bills should “take solace” in the fact that they won’t be suffering from heat illness when Buffalo and Miami meet a second time in Orchard Park in December. He wrote that Buffalo, “as Buffalo Rumblings noted this week, had a 51-play differential between themselves and the Dolphins, one of the largest margins in a loss in NFL history. They’ll be fine.”
Finally, Mike Florio at PFT has Buffalo ranked No. 3, as well. He writes that offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey “should switch to decaf after kickoff.” I don’t agree, Mike. Let the OC keep that fire and that passion. Buffalo holds themselves to a high standard, and that kind of fire is a reminder of exactly what the expectations are for this team.