At halftime, the Buffalo Bills lead the Philadelphia Eagles 17-7, battling it out in some truly miserable weather. The biggest theme through 30 football minutes is how closely the officiating has monitored each and every move by the Bills... but not the Eagles.
After losing the coin toss, quarterback Josh Allen and the offense set out to draw first blood. Interim offensive coordinator Joe Brady’s plans stalled in a quick three-and-out, and a defensive tone set in.
On the Bills’ second drive, the Bills marched down the field, until a certain touchdown pass went incomplete to running back James Cook. The two plays following the incomplete were penalties by the offensive line, knocking the team out of field goal position.
As the first quarter ended, Buffalo had six accepted penalties called against them, finishing the half with a total of 10. Those six in the first stanza — leading to three first downs for Philadelphia — are the most by any NFL team this season. While the Bills have done plenty to beat themselves, they somehow managed to overcome their own mistakes and those of the officials. (Yes, it’s a legitimate statement to make if you watched the first half.)
That “somehow” is without a doubt due to some incredible play by Josh Allen and the defense.
The Eagles turned the ball over twice, which led to 14 Bills points. The first turnover came off a tipped pass by edge rusher Leonard Floyd, which linebacker Terrel Bernard then reeled in for the guys in white. Just before halftime, defensive tackle Poona Ford shot through the offensive line, causing Jalen Hurts to lose focus — and hand the ball back to Buffalo’s defense.
That turnover led to the Bills’ second touchdown of the half, when Josh Allen found wide receiver Stefon Diggs in the end zone. That second touchdown came off some real adversity, specifically when Allen was sacked inside the red zone, throwing the ball away in a futile effort. What was a blatant horsecollar tackle that ripped Allen’s jersey, somehow became a no-call by the officials. Instead, they chose to flag Allen for intentional grounding. Thankfully, Allen overcame what may have been the worst of a very poor half of work by the folks with whistles.
At the half, Josh Allen is 19-of-32 for 209 yards with one touchdown pass; adding four rushes for 40 yards and another touchdown on the ground.
Jalen Hurts is 3-of-11 for 33 yards with one interception; adding seven carries for 22 yards and one rushing touchdown.
Hopefully we’re talking about a Bills victory at the end of this one. Buffalo needs to find its killer instinct and gain some real separation early in the third quarter. Here’s you second-half open thread. Be kind to each other, and of course... Go Bills!