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Buffalo Bills players hit milestones during Week 16 win over Chargers

The Bills are adding up wins (finally) and some records too as they charge through the last weeks of the 2023 season

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Chargers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t pretty, but the Buffalo Bills won their third straight game on Saturday night — something they hadn’t been able to do since October — and, in the process, several players hit some milestone numbers.

Against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 16, quarterback Josh Allen became the first player in NFL history to have four consecutive seasons with 40 total touchdowns. Allen hit wide receiver Gabe Davis for a 56-yard touchdown in the second quarter and then added two more on the ground — one in the second quarter and another one after halftime. The two rushing touchdowns were the 50th and 51st of his career moving Allen into third all-time in team history — he now trails only O.J. Simpson (57) and Thurman Thomas (65).

As for quarterbacks, Allen is the third quarterback in NFL history to score 13-plus rushing touchdowns in a season. He shares the accolade with Cam Newton (14 in 2011) and Jalen Hurts (13 in 2022 and 14 this season). Allen also has moved into a tie with Cam Newton for the longest road game streak with a rushing touchdown (6) by a quarterback since the NFL merger in 1970. With one road game left, there’s time for Allen to break the tie this season.

And, as if he didn’t have enough stats, Allen extended his record for games in which he scores at least one passing and one rushing touchdown in a season to 11. His combined 252 yards, also put him over 4,000 all-purpose yards for the fourth straight season.

But Allen wasn’t the only one collecting accolades on Saturday night. Running back James Cook had 20 carries for 70 yards, which put him over 1,000 rushing yards for the season. While it was the first 1,000-yard season of Cook’s career — and, to be fair, his career is just getting started — it’s the first time a Bills running back has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark since LeSean McCoy had 1,138 yards in 2017. With two games left to play, Cook’s 1,038 yards on the ground are more than double the 507 yards he had his rookie season, and his 433 receiving yards far surpass the 180 yards from a year ago.

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs only had five catches Saturday night, but it was enough to move him up the charts on the Bills’ all-time list. His 96 catches so far this season moved him past the 94 that Eric Moulds (2000) and Peerless Price (2002) had and into fifth-most in a season. Diggs actually holds the record himself at 127 (2020) and is now chasing his 103 (2021) and 108 (2022) to own all of the top spots on the team leader board.

The defense made plenty of noise on Saturday night too. Defensive tackle Poona Ford, who hadn’t been active since Week 8, made the most of his opportunity to get snaps due to Jordan Phillips being moved to Injured Reserve earlier this week. Ford recorded his first sack of the season and added two tackles as he tried to prove that Buffalo didn’t need to seek a replacement for Phillips from outside the organization. Also recording his first sack of the season was cornerback Rasul Douglas who hit Chargers quarterback Easton Stick on a corner blitz early in the third quarter.

But it was Ed Oliver who finally hit a milestone he’s been after for several weeks — with two sacks on the night, including a game-sealing sack as the Chargers were trying to get the ball into field goal range with less than 30 seconds left on the clock and down by just two points, Oliver set a new career high (8.5) and collected a $500,000 bonus.

For the Bills, winning is still where their focus is. While a month ago, things were seemingly grim and sitting at home after Week 18 looked like it could be a reality for the Bills, now they control their own destiny. If they continue to win, the Buffalo Bills are in the playoffs. And winning is what they do better than any other team at this time of year. With Saturday night’s win, Buffalo improved to a league best 17-2 in December and January regular-season games.