Well, the Buffalo Bills finally showed up tonight. With a bit over six minutes left in the first half, the Bills’ offense put together a touchdown drive — their first of the night against what’s been billed as a very susceptible defense.
Per @EliasSports: The only other 15-8 halftime score in NFL history was in 1961 and it was also Broncos at Bills!!!! (September 10, 1961)— Alaina Getzenberg (@agetzenberg) November 14, 2023
Slow starts. It’s one of the team’s main themes in 2023, and it’s a terrible trend. Things couldn’t have started any worse for Buffalo tonight. Winning the coin toss and taking the football on offense was the right decision, but running back James Cook fumbling the ball away on the first play from scrimmage was devastating. Cook was then sent to the bench until the aforementioned scoring drive. Head coach Sean McDermott chose to sit his best running back once again due to a fumble. It’s uncertain how much new football content Cook learned in those 20-plus game minutes, but McDermott felt it was the right move.
Of course, not too long after Cook’s fumble, the offense once again gave the ball away on its second possession. This time, a rocket of a pass by quarterback Josh Allen intended for wide receiver Gabe Davis proved too challenging to reel in, bouncing off Davis’ hands and into those of a Broncos defender. Even rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid failed to reel in a catchable football.
There was a whole lot more of terrible offense by the Bills in the first half, of which we don’t need to re-visit now. But let’s not forget the terrible decision wide receiver Khalil Shakir made to return a deep kickoff late in the second quarter. Does Buffalo’s special teams understand the league’s new fair-catch rule? Zero reason to try a run back deep in your own territory and it’s going to cost the team big should things continue in this manner.
Thankfully, the Bills did find that touchdown. It was an up-tempo beauty that featured plenty of running plays. It also served as a redemption drive of sorts for three players who needed it: Cook, Kincaid, and Davis. Cook ran angry and well, while Kincaid caught his second touchdown of season, and Davis added the two-point conversion.
If only the half ended there. Instead, with scant seconds left, Allen threw a deep ball that was a terrible-decision-turned-interception. That turnover gifted the Broncos yet another drive, and they expertly managed the closing seconds to add yet another field goal.
Three turnovers is unacceptable. A team led by Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs should not be losing to an opponent heavily relying on field goals for points. Something wrong has established deep roots within this team. Here’s your second-half thread to hopefully enjoy what becomes a Bills win.