The Buffalo Bills lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17-10 at halftime, in a game that’s played out with far greater urgency by Buffalo’s offense through 30 minutes. After kicking off to the Buccaneers, and holding on defense, the Bills took the field on offense — and what took place passed the eye test.
It’s as though One Bills Drive paid attention to all the talk leading up to tonight, and the offense rolled out its up-tempo, no-huddle offense to start the night. Wide receiver Khalil Shakir was Allen’s first and often-targeted receiver through the first quarter. At the half, Shakir has four catches on four targets for 69 yards. Also making a return is quarterback Josh Allen’s athleticism by way of the scramble. Unfortunately, Allen found his way to a shoulder injury of some sort following a scramble to the right sideline where he took a tough tumble to the turf. Allen got up wincing and had to work out whatever discomfort he could before heading back to the huddle.
The very next play, Allen took the snap and ran the distance to pay dirt for six. Following that drive, news broke that Allen was headed to the blue medical tent, with no explanation given. We then found out about his shoulder, and saw Kyle Allen warming up. Thankfully, QB17 worked out whatever he needed to return to the field. Then, on the first play of the offense’s next drive, Allen proceeded to throw an interception to cornerback Antoine Winfield Jr. — an unwise pass despite Allen exclaiming “we’re good, we’re good.”
At halftime, Josh Allen is 15-of-19 for 179 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid finally found the end zone, catching a pretty red zone pass from Allen late in the second quarter. It was Kincaid’s second red zone look, after failing to get in off a quick shovel pass at the goal line early in the game. Kincaid is the real deal as a receiver, and it’s likely we’re going to see him used far more creatively as the season unfolds.
Diggs has been fairly quiet in catching three of three passes for 29 yards. Running back James Cook continues to impress with nearly every snap he’s given the ball.
Incredibly, Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans only has one catch on three targets for seven yards through two quarters. That’s the product of solid play by Buffalo’s cornerbacks.
By and large, the Bills have played well, but continue to find a fair bit of resistance from Tampa Bay’s stout red zone defense. That matchup could likely decide the night’s victor when all’s said and done. If Buffalo continues to march out it’s shotgun look at the goal line, things could end up in favor of the Buccaneers when the clock reaches double zeroes. It’s time to abandon the alignment at the game’s most critical line to gain — there’s no need to put your runner at a disadvantage behind the line of scrimmage before the ball’s even snapped.
For now, we’ll enjoy the Bills having the ability to kneel out the half before taking the field on offense to begin the third quarter. Buffalo Bills all-timer Ryan Fitzpatrick is absolutely correct in saying it’d be wise to remove the naked bootlegs from the rest of tonight’s offense. Keeping Allen in the game and available the rest of the season is goal number one.
Here’s your second-half open thread for the rest of tonight’s Thursday Night Football game. Be kind to each other, have fun, and above all — Go Bills!