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Bills-Raiders win probabilities: A game that was literally never in doubt

We are SO back, Bills Mafia

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Buffalo Bills Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 was a rough start to the season for the Buffalo Bills but they responded in a big way in their home opener on Sunday by dominating the Las Vegas Raiders from start to finish. The Bills held the Raiders to zero second-half points and kept the offense churning, which led to the 38-10 onslaught.

Quarterback Josh Allen wasn’t impatient or forcing the ball into tight windows like he was in Week 1 — he was surgical and simply took what the Raiders’ defense was giving him. Offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey called one of the best games of his career thus far and the defense made immediate adjustments after allowing a touchdown on the first drive. These are the Bills we’re used to seeing — dominance from the first whistle to the last.

As always, let’s take a look at ESPN Analytics and its win probability metrics to highlight specific moments of the game where everything seemed to be in Buffalo’s favor (Hint: it was the entire game).

First quarter, 12:16 remaining — BUF with a 56.3% win probability

There isn’t much to say about the Raiders’ opening drive. They were more physical and prepared to start the game than the Bills were and if adjustments weren’t made instantly, it might’ve been a long game for Bills fans. Even after the early 7-0 lead for Las Vegas, the win probability metrics still favored Buffalo by over six percent.

First quarter, 4:19 remaining — BUF with a 67.7% win probability

After going three-and-out on the opening drive following a quick and easy first drive for the Raiders, the defense stepped up and made a play. Terrel Bernard picked off Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense took advantage and put points on the board thanks to a rushing touchdown from Latavius Murray — his first with Buffalo.

Second quarter, 6:48 remaining — BUF with a 79.5% win probability

At this point, Buffalo’s offense was churning but the Raiders kicked a field goal and were down just four points. On the following kickoff, Damien Harris busted out a 41-yard kick return but the Bills turned the ball over on downs after not being able to punch it in on the one-yard line. Nonetheless, Buffalo’s defense was playing very well and the offense was moving the ball consistently.

Third quarter, 15:00 remaining — BUF with a 90.9% win probability

Buffalo started at its own 43-yard line for the two-minute drill to end the half, and it was all textbook Josh Allen. Allen was lighting up Vegas’ defense through the air and on the ground — and eventually found Khalil Shakir for a tough touchdown catch to take a 21-10 lead into halftime. As President of the Shakir fan club, can we give this man some more snaps, please? Highmark Stadium and social media was buzzin’! Barring a meltdown, the odds were in the Bills’ favor all game long.

Third quarter, 5:59 remaining — BUF with a 97.2% win probability

There was no second-half meltdown, of course, as the Bills orchestrated a 15-play, 75-yard opening drive lasting a whopping 9:01 that ended in typical Allen fashion — a tough and magical throw with contact to Gabe Davis for a touchdown. This touchdown drive was the Bills’ longest since 2016.

Fourth quarter, 5:08 remaining — BUF with a 99.9% win probability

The fourth quarter was much of the same — dominance on both sides of the ball. Buffalo’s win probability didn’t go below 98.9% for the entire final quarter. The willingness to run the ball was evident and the Bills’ running back unit showcased their talent with another time-consuming drive (7:32) that took 11 plays to go 95 yards down the field — with the majority of those yards coming on the ground.