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Shaw66

I've Got Nuthin'

By Shaw66, in The Rockpile Review,

© Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
 
I’ve written this column for about 15 years.  It varies from week to week, sometimes about the stadium experience, sometimes about an important play, sometimes about what players or coaches did or didn’t do.  I write about trends, prospects, shortcomings and needs.  Sometimes it might be funny, sometimes quirky, and certainly sometimes boring or pedestrian.  When I start writing, I don’t always have a plan – the essay just seems to go where it needs to go.
 
Last night in Kansas City, in the second round of the playoffs, the Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bills in overtime, 42-36.  This morning, I sit before my keyboard, numb.
 
I’ve got nuthin’.
 
If you watched the game, you understand.  If you didn’t, I cannot go all Grantland Rice on you to explain.  I’m not Shirley Povich.  Where is Frank Deford when we really need him?  
 
I’ve been a fan of the Buffalo Bills since 1960.  There were several years when work and family and geography left me less involved with the team, not going to games or being able to see them on television.  Still, fan-wise, I’ve had a pretty good run.   I can say figuratively, if not literally, I’ve seen it all.
 
The only way to describe what happened last night is that it was Wide Right, 31 years later.  (If you don’t know what Wide Right was, look it up.  It has its own Wikipedia article.)  I was in Tampa that night, I sat in the stadium stunned as the winning field goal sailed past the right upright.  (I was in Buffalo on the Monday night when the Cowboys beat the Bills with a long field goal on the final play – that game gets honorable mention, but wide right and Chiefs-Bills stand together on top of the “OMG -what-just-happened?” list.)  The day after Super Bowl XXV, I walked aimlessly through Epcot Center, and it seemed every third person was wearing a Giants sweatshirt.  This morning, everything is Chiefs red. 
 

© JAMIE GERMANO / USA TODAY Sports
 
When your team loses a game like that, and my team has done it twice, I’m here to tell you that everything in your life goes numb for a day or two.  It’s not a tragedy, it’s not life changing; after all, it’s just football, but when you’re emotionally invested and a game like that happens, it’s stunning.  It’s as though you’ve seen and heard a large explosion, so large that for a few seconds or minutes or even hours, your eyes are recovering from the flash and your ears are ringing.   “OMG!  What just happened?”
 
A week before the game, I thought that this game might be the real Super Bowl, that these were the two best teams playing for all the marbles.   No, that couldn’t really be true, because the King was back leading the Titans, there was the G.O.A.T., trying for another repeat, and if it wasn’t going to be Brady in the Super Bowl, it was going to be Rodgers. 
 
Then, one by one, Derrick Henry lost, Rodgers lost, Brady lost, and the surviving teams lacked the key ingredient – the star quarterback.  Burrows may be a star on the rise, Stafford may be a star postponed, and Tannehill may be, well, a nice guy, but nobody is crowning any of them as a legendary signal caller, at least not yet.
 
So, by Sunday night, the game between the Bills and the Chiefs actually was looking like the Super Bowl, without the halftime show.  These were the two hottest teams in the playoffs, each coming off blistering blowout wins the previous week, each having overcome early season inconsistencies to look now like powerhouse winners.  Each with an already certifiable superstar quarterback.  Before the opening kickoff, people knew it was a big game.  I got my pizza and sat before the TV.
 
What happened was epic. 
 

© Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
 
There have been a lot of great football games with spectacular plays and dramatic finishes.  I can’t sit here this morning and say that Chiefs-Bills was the greatest, but it has to be in the discussion.  This was two great teams with two great quarterbacks playing their best games.  Two teams and two guys refusing to lose in a game where ultimately someone would win.  
 
A couple of days before the Bills-Chiefs game, I looked up the playoff passer rating records.   If you’re not a fan boy like me, know that the passer rating is a number that is calculated using a formula and some of the more important statistics that demonstrate passing effectiveness.  The passer rating isn’t perfect, but it’s a pretty good measure of who’s the best.  After last week’s games, Patrick Mahomes (did I mention that he is the Chiefs quarterback?) was number 1 on the all-time playoff passer rating list.  Josh Allen, the Bills quarterback, was fourth.  Now, that data is skewed by a variety of factors, so it isn’t necessarily the definitive measure of greatness, but it isn’t bad.  Bart Starr and Kurt Warner, two legendary QBs who are in the Hall of Fame, were number 2 and number 3 on the list.  Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Troy Aikman are in the top 20, along with future Hall of Famers Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. 
 
This morning, Patrick Mahomes is still number 1.  Josh Allen is number 2. 
 
The game was a display of modern quarterbacking excellence that rarely has been seen in the NFL, dual excellence that probably never has been seen in a playoff game.  Mahomes and Allen performed superbly from the very beginning of the game, passing and running, confounding the opposing defenses.  But their excellence through three quarters was simply prelude. 
 

© JAMIE GERMANO / USA TODAY Sports
 
When Harrison Butker kicked a field goal to give the Chiefs a five-point lead with less than nine minutes remaining in the game, there seemed to be only one question:  could Josh Allen and the Bills mount one more drive for one more touchdown and win the game?  That, as it turned out, was merely the first question.  Allen and the Bills went on an excruciating 17-play, seven-minute drive for the touchdown and, with the two-point conversion, a three-point lead.  Mahomes answered with a touchdown in five plays, dashing the Bills’ hopes for a victory.  Incredibly, truly incredibly, Allen returned the favor in six plays to retake the lead.  And yet, in the 13 seconds remaining, Mahomes managed to get the Chiefs in position for the tying field goal.  The Chiefs won the coin toss at the beginning of overtime, and Mahomes continued the scoring onslaught, hitting Travis Kelce with another touchdown pass.  The overtime rules didn’t afford Allen and the Bills the opportunity to respond, and the Chiefs won.
 
Undoubtedly, this morning thousands of Chiefs fans are talking about how great their team is and how this decision or that play won the game.  Thousands of Bills fans are talking about how that decision or this play lost the game.  I can’t do that, not now.
 
My only consolation after Super Bowl XXV was that for fifteen or twenty years, sportswriters and fans everywhere said it was the greatest Super Bowl ever.  I could be proud that my team was part of it, but it hurt to think about it.  Eventually, memories dimmed and other games awed the fans.  Eventually, I didn’t have to respond politely to people who thought they were making me feel good when they said, “You’re a Bills fan?  That was the greatest Super Bowl of all time!”
 
“You’re a Bills fan?  Bills-Chiefs was the best playoff game I’ve ever seen!”
 
Yeah, right.  Thanks.
 
 
 
Billsfans.com - Shaw66
 
Related:
Bills Season Ends in Historic Divisional Playoff Loss
Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs Divisional Round preview
Playoffs Edition - Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots - A Few Thoughts about the game, in no particular order
Bills Make Statement with 47-17 Win Over New England in Wild Card Round
Leaving the Past Behind
The Bills Move On
THE ROCKPILE REVIEW - Bills Take Care of Falcons

BillsFans Staff Writer

Bills Season Ends in Historic Divisional Playoff Loss

By BillsFans Staff Writer, in Bills Today,

© Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
 
It was one for the history books. Buffalo and Kansas City traded punches over the final two minutes of regulation and overtime. When it was all said and done, it was the Chiefs that came out a 42-36 winner in Sunday's divisional playoff game.
 
Over the final two minutes of regulation play, the lead changed hands three times. A total of 25 points was scored as it was one of those games where the last team with the ball was likely to win. Kansas City held a 26-21 lead when Buffalo QB Josh Allen took over and led the Bills on a 17-play drive that would give the Bills the lead. It wasn't easy.
 
To keep the drive alive, Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott would go for it on 4th-and-4 from the Kansas City 30-yard line. Then, the Bills faced a 4th-and-13 at the Chiefs 27-yard line. Allen found a wide-open Gabriel Davis in the end zone to give Buffalo a 29-23 lead with 1:54 left in the game.
 

© Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
 
That, of course, was plenty of time for Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes to lead Kansas City on a scoring drive of its own. It didn't take long. On a 2nd-and-10 play from their own 36-yard line, Mahomes hit WR Tyreek Hill over the middle. The fleet-footed receiver did the rest, and 64 yards later, the Chiefs were back in the lead. The extra point made it 33-29 with 1:02 remaining in the game.
 
Needing a touchdown, the Bills and Allen quickly marched the ball down the field. Allen hit Davis twice, once for 28 yards and a second time for 12. A 16-yard completion to Emmanuel Sanders set the Bills up at the Kansas City 19-yard line with 23 seconds to play. On the very next play, Allen found Davis for his playoff record fourth touchdown reception and a 36-33.
 
The only problem was that there were still 13 seconds on the clock. A 19-yard completion to Hill and another 25-yard pass to TE Travis Kelce allowed Chiefs K Harrison Butker a chance to tie the game. Butker had missed a field goal and an extra point earlier in the game. Harrison's 49-yard field goal was good as time ran out, and the game was tied at 36-36.
 

© Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
 
Quite possibly, the only thing Allen got wrong all night was the overtime coin toss. The Chiefs took the kickoff and marched down the field in eight plays against the NFL's best defense. From the Bills 8-yard line, Mahomes found Kelce in the right corner of the end zone for the game-winner.
 
It was the first time in NFL history that opposing quarterbacks each threw for at least 300 yards, at least three touchdowns, completed at least 70 percent of their passes and didn't throw an interception. Plus, both quarterbacks led their respective teams in rushing with at least 65 yards. That had never been done in an NFL regular season or postseason game.
 
Allen finished with 27 completions in 37 attempts for 329 yards and four touchdowns. Mahomes was 33-of-44 for 378 yards and three touchdowns. Allen carried 11 times for 68 yards to lead the Bills, while Mahomes ran for 69 yards on seven attempts.
 
Davis had a historic day as he hauled in eight passes for 201 yards and the record four touchdowns. The Chiefs become the first NFL team to host four consecutive conference championship games with the win. They broke a record held by the Philadelphia Eagles, who, ironically, were coached by Andy Reid, the Chiefs head coach. It was the Bills' ninth straight road playoff loss.
 
Go Bills!!
 
 
BillsFans.com - Editorial Staff
 
 
Related:
Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs Divisional Round preview
Playoffs Edition - Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots - A Few Thoughts about the game, in no particular order
Leaving the Past Behind
Bills Make Statement with 47-17 Win Over New England in Wild Card Round
Bills Clinch AFC East, Will Host Patriots in Playoffs
Buffalo Runs to 29-14 Win, Secures Playoff Berth
 

Virgil
© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
 
Indifference can be either a really good or bad thing. I've had football Sundays where I didn't realize I was watching a Bills game until well into the 2nd quarter. Obviously, I'm watching the game, but it just feels like I'm watching any other program. Typically, I wake up on a football Sunday, and I'm already mentally planning my morning around pregame shows, food, and whatever else I have to do that day. But some days, like Saturday, I was alarmingly non-nonchalant and didn't have a single worry about the game. I knew we could beat them but also knew a season-ending game to the Pats would stick with me all off-season. Regardless, I was cool as a cucumber going into what would become a perfect game and arguably the best Bills game of the past 25 years. 
 
1 - Seven - There's been a lot of stats being thrown out about this game to represent just how historic it was. For me, the stat that really defines this game is that we only had seven third down plays. Not only that, but I don't believe any of them were longer than 4 yards. I mean, seriously? There are blowout wins, there's imposing your will, then there's just doing whatever you want and basically running a practice against another team. Seven total third downs, including the kneel down? It makes no sense how any team should be able to do that to another professional NFL team. But man, if it was going to happen, aren't you glad it was against the Pats?
 
2 - Star - There were a lot of moments that made me yell out and wake my daughter up, but none more so than the sack by Star. Holy ***** did he destroy Mac Jones. Star absolutely destroyed his blocker, thought he was running the 40 and launched himself at Jones. I almost felt bad for the rookie and wouldn't have been surprised if the play hurt him. That sack was probably my favorite defensive play of the season, and yes, I saw the Micah Hyde interception. Honestly, I have no idea how Hyde caught that ball. I saw his closing speed and tracking on that pass live and still thought it was a Pats touchdown. These guys were just playing out of their mind.
 

© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
 
3 - Knox - I don't know if GMFB did angry runs this week, but Knox deserved the scepter this week. I don't know who the play was against, but Knox stiff-armed this poor man into the New Era basement. Knox was a monster in this game and almost had three touchdowns. He was the definition of a red-zone threat, but even if he had all seven touchdowns, that stiff arm was just disrespectful on so many levels, and he owes that player's neighbors an apology.
 
4 - Once divided, nothing left to subtract
Some words, when spoken can't be taken back
Walks on his own with thoughts he can't help thinking
Future's above, but in the past he's slow and sinking
 
5 - Gilly - One of the biggest unsung heroes of this game was Reggie Gilliam. In previous games, I felt like Daboll was being a little too transparent with his play-calling based on where Gilly was lined up. Gilly was pulling, motioning, and even caught a pass in this game. Gilly made some fantastic next-level blocks and was instrumental in some of Josh and Motor's run. Bates and Morse also had some great pull blocks, but Gilly was a big factor in this game that won't show up on the stat sheet.
 

© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
 
6 - Josh - Was anyone else surprised at how fast Josh looked in this game? We all know he can run, but I almost wonder if he took that Viagra recommendation a little bit too much to heart. Inspired by Barry Sanders, Josh absolutely demoralized Pats defenders with stiff arms, juke moves, and pure speed. He made Judon look like he was stuck in quicksand and absolutely broke the ankles of another defender. Josh wasn't in sugar high mode. He was in raid the villages and hide the women and children mode. I think most of the fans wanted our next QB to be able to do two things, destroy the Pats and the Hoodie, and win a Super Bowl. He's absolutely proven the first one as he plays like someone shoved a game genie up his ass and put him in God Mode.
 
7 - Motor - In previous games, Motor was utilized as a nice offset to the passing game to keep the defense honest. In this game, there were drives where he was the offense. I think it was the second or third touchdown drive, but Motor was the entire last 40 yards of the drive and capped it with a touchdown. He was running tosses, counters, draws, and even helped as a check down. On the big pass to Beasley, Motor picked up a crucial blitzer that allowed that pass to even get delivered. This might have been the most complete rushing game plan and execution we've seen all season. The Chiefs will not be able to dismiss Motor again, which will only help the passing game that much more.
 
8 - Gabe - It's tough to call out any specific receivers, considering how well Josh distributed the ball to everyone. However, Gabe showed off great hands and body control on his limited catches. His touchdown catch shows his potential as he caught a bullet pass at his knees with a defender draped on his back. If I were to watch that play ten times, I would expect and respect a drop on 9 of them. Gabe just continues to impress, and I hope to continue to see him take snap share away from Beasley and Sanders.
 

© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
 
9 - Special Teams - At this point, I think Hyde should be the only player returning kicks or punts. Hell, he almost returned a punt for a touchdown, if not for a last-minute trip. You could see how much this team loves Hyde as Josh was giddy like a school kid thinking Hyde was going to take it to the house. McKenzie almost had another whoopsie on a punt, and we just can't risk it going forward. I don't know what's going on with our returners, but I think we are starting to understand why Roberts had his roster spot.
 
10 - McD - I mean, any time you can make the Hoodie want to take his toys and go home is always a beautiful site for Bills fans. The legends showed up, Kyle from GMFB was there, and the stadium was rocking in the 0-degree weather. McD had his team ready, amped, and delivered a spectacle of a beating. There was never a moment where you felt like this team wasn't prepared or outcoached. Every button he pushed delivered a result. Regardless of how we got here, the path now remains the same. Yes, we would have liked the next two games to go through Buffalo, but a rematch with the Chiefs was inevitable, and the Titans/Bengals after was also likely. We are where we need to be and playing at the highest possible level.

It's hard not to have high expectations of this team going forward. I think we are all seeing the Bills play at a level we expected of them when the season started. I mean, we beat the over/under in this game by ourselves! We have a tough match-up this week with another team that recently found their defense and rushing attack in arguably one of the toughest stadiums in the league. McD is winless on the road in the playoffs, and there's work to do, but it's hard not to feel confident after this past week's game.
 
Go Bills!
 
BillsFans - Virgil
 
Related:
Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs Divisional Round preview
Bills Make Statement with 47-17 Win Over New England in Wild Card Round
Leaving the Past Behind
Buffalo Bills vs NJ Jets - A Few Thoughts about the Jets Game, in no particular order
Buffalo Bills vs Atlanta Falcons - A Few Thoughts About the Game, in no particular order
Buffalo Bills @ New England Cheatriots - A Few Thoughts about the Game, in no particular order

ABR
© Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
 
Yet another rematch of the Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs. Although these two teams aren’t as familiar with one another as the Bills and Patriots are, there is plenty of recent history in this matchup. Bills Fans remember a sour end to the season last year when the Chiefs toppled the Rumbling Herd 38-24 in the AFC Conference Championship game.
 
On the one hand, the Bills have already gotten their revenge by beating the Chiefs down 38-20 in Kansas City during Week 5. But the heartbreak remains. Winning a regular-season game means nothing once the playoffs are here. It’s always about the next one. 
 
Only now Bills Mafia has the advantage and confidence inside, knowing they can dominate the Chiefs and even disrupt Patrick Mahomes, forcing turnovers. In Week 5, the Bills forced the Chiefs to turn the ball over four times, which tied for their most giveaways all season. With just one multi-interception game in his next 13 starts, Mahomes has since bounced back and even worked his way back into the MVP conversation.
 
Conversely, Mahomes was never tasked with facing another defense as strong as Buffalo’s. The Bills may have actually found some ways to consistently fluster Mahomes, which could carry over into this matchup.
Buffalo Bills Divisional Round game details, where to watch
Sunday, January 23, 2022 Start time: 6:30 PM ET TV channel - CBS, Paramount+ Location - GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri  

© Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Matchups to watch
Jordan Poyer, Micah Hyde vs. Patrick Mahomes  
Despite throwing a career-high 13 interceptions in 2021, six of them were tipped by a Chiefs player before getting picked off. According to Next Gen Stats, passes thrown by Patrick Mahomes averaged a 2.3 interception probability this season, which was the best mark in the NFL.
 
One of the ways teams have adjusted their coverage is by not blitzing him. Mahomes was blitzed on just 12% of his dropbacks, again the lowest rate in the NFL. 
 
According to Pro Football Reference, the Bills blitzed 157 times in 2021, ranking 15th in total blitzes. We get a clearer picture when looking at their blitz rate, which measures how often a team blitzes per dropback. In this category, the Bills rank 13th, meaning they prefer to blitz fairly frequently. 
 
The good news is, they’re effective. According to PFR, the Bills ranked No. 1 in the NFL in hurry percentage at 15.4%. It’s a full two percentage points ahead of the next-best team. They also had the best QB pressure rate according to PFR. Meanwhile, ESPN’s advanced stats suggest the Bills rank sixth in “team pass rush win rate.”
 
The Bills, as you very well know, excel at creating turnovers, ranking seventh in percentage of drives ending in an offensive turnover. Another, more impressive area of strength is ranking first in the NFL of the percentage of drives ending in a score, where the Bills’ defense allows points on just 28% of opposing possessions. The Detroit Lions ranked dead-last for comparison, allowing opponents to score on a whopping 48.9% of their possessions.
 
To top it all off, the Bills intercept passes on 3.6% of opposing passing attempts, which is the third-best rate in the NFL. 
 
Of course, Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde are major reasons why. Poyer’s breathtaking interception in the Wild Card game was the most recent example of how quickly he can cover large amounts of grass. He’ll be asked to do much of the same when tasked to cover playmakers such as Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. 
 
Bills in pass coverage vs. Travis Kelce  
While the Bills did a good job containing Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce in Week 5, holding him to six receptions on ten targets for 57 yards and a touchdown, the three-time All-Pro practically wrecked the game during last year’s Championship game.
 
Travis Kelce against Bills during 2021 playoffs - 13 receptions, 118 receiving yards, two touchdowns  
The Bills have greatly improved after allowing the second-most yards to tight ends a year ago, allowing the fifth-fewest yards in 2021. But Kelce is a unique breed, one of the best in the game. One of the biggest keys to victory is preventing Kelce and Tyreek Hill from doing damage after the catch. This is where the Bills need to improve, missing the 10th-most tackles in the NFL as a team. If they don’t wrap up and bring the Chiefs’ playmakers down on the first attempt, things could get ugly once again.
 
Bills run-stoppers vs. Jerick McKinnon  
Forced to reach into the depths of their running back room with Clyde Edwards-Helaire nursing a shoulder injury, Jerick “Jet” McKinnon stepped up in a big way to help the Chiefs advance to face the Bills. 
 
McKinnon racked up 142 yards from scrimmage on just 18 touches. That type of performance is something of a dream for Bills Fans to think of. McKinnon possesses the road-runner speed and agility that the Bills’ rushing attack lacks. 
 
After such a performance, the Chiefs are expected to lean more on McKinnon going forward, still mixing in CEH if he’s healthy once again. This alone presents a different challenge for the Bills to defend. Usually shading most of their coverage toward Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, McKinnon’s game-breaking speed will force Leslie Frazier’s crew to leave more linebackers and safeties tasked with preventing McKinnon from making one cut and sprinting for 6.
 
McKinnon’s sudden emergence is an unfortunate factor to deal with, but if he’s not accounted for, the Bills could find themselves playing catchup instead of chewing out the clock late in the game. We’d much rather have Mahomes pressing than force Allen into uncompromising situations yet again.
 

 
© Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Buffalo Bills Divisional Round game prediction
This season’s record: Buffalo Bills 11-6 AFC East champions Kansas City Chiefs: 12-5, first place in AFC West  
You might as well call this an AFC Conference Championship rematch. If one were to ask who the favorites are coming out of the AFC, most would point to the Bills or Chiefs. 
 
While the Bengals still have to face the Titans, the Bills-Chiefs matchup represents the true contenders in the conference. These high expectations make this the playoff game of the week. Whoever wins may very well end up as the eventual AFC representative in the Super Bowl. 
 
They’re high expectations, but there’s been zero indication that this team’s leaders aren’t prepared for it. Look at offensive coordinator Brian Daboll for example. He’s one of the highest-regarded head coaching candidates in the NFL. On the other side of the ball, same exact story. Leslie Frazier is on the shortlist of several organizations looking to hire their next head coach, and he actually has three full years of experience at the helm.
 
But it’s not just the coaches making the calls. The players are more than prepared to take down the Chiefs in the playoffs. Don’t you think Josh Allen will have a chip on his shoulder this time around? Last year we saw the team lose their composure with the game mostly out of hand. One full year later, they won’t make the same mistakes. 
 
Being that they’re the No. 2 seed, compared to Buffalo being No. 3, and with the Chiefs having home-field advantage and 70,000-plus fans at Arrowhead who will be roaring at full capacity, the Vegas oddsmakers have Kansas city favored by 2.5 
 
Win or go home always creates the most suspense, and with their recent history, this game could go either way. The Bills are the hotter team coming into the matchup, but the Chiefs haven’t struggled by any measure as of late either. 
 
Don’t get discouraged if the Chiefs get out to an early two-possession lead. While it’s not what anyone would want, the Bills have proven, they aren’t afraid to sling it all across the yard. Is there anyone else you would trust more when needing a comeback? Not me. I’m handing the keys to Josh Allen and plopping down on the couch with some snacks and beverages.
 
Last week’s 30 point blowout was incredible, but Mahomes isn’t anything close to a rookie. Fans tuning in should expect a very competitive battle down to the final whistle, with the Bills coming out ahead, going 2-0 against the Chiefs dating back to Week 5. 
 
Josh Allen will put up 400-plus total yards, factoring in his ability to perform magic anywhere he goes. The Bills will force three Chiefs turnovers, setting up the Bills to host the Bengals in Buffalo. See you next week!
 
Game prediction: 34-27 Bills victory
 
 
 
 
BillsFans.com - Andrew Buller-Russ 
 
 
Related:
Leaving the Past Behind
Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots Wild Card preview
Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets Week 18 game preview
Buffalo Bills vs. Atlanta Falcons Week 17 game preview
 

BillsFans Staff Writer
© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
 
It was an absolute clinic on the game of football. The Buffalo Bills set several NFL playoff records, one of which was scoring a touchdown on each of its first seven drives of the game. The Bills dominated every facet of Saturday’s wild-card playoff game from the beginning of the game until the final kneel down to end it.
 
It started with the opening kickoff. Buffalo QB Josh Allen led the Bills down the field on a game-opening scoring drive that took 5:15 and ended 70 yards later, with Allen hitting TE Dawson Knox on an eight-yard touchdown pass.
 
It continued into the Patriots’ opening drive when rookie quarterback Mac Jones led the Patriots to the Buffalo 34-yard line. Jones threw deep into the left corner of the end zone for WR Nelson Agholor but was intercepted by Buffalo S Micah Hyde.
 
Once again, Allen calmly and methodically led Buffalo down the field for its second touchdown. The drive went 80 yards, took ten plays, and five minutes off the clock. The drive ended with another Allen-to-Knox touchdown pass, this one from 11 yards out.
 

© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
 
For the game, Allen would finish 21-of-25 for 308 yards and five touchdowns. He did not throw an interception, and New England did not sack him. Knox led the Bills with five catches for 89 yards and the two scores. Gabriel Davis and Emmanuel Sanders each caught two passes, one of which was a touchdown.
 
The Bills also ran for 174 yards, led by RB Devin Singletary, who carried the ball 16 times for 81 yards. He ran for two touchdowns, both in the second quarter, to give Buffalo a 27-0 lead. The Patriots would not score until the end of the first half. With one second remaining in the opening half, kicker Nick Folk hit a 44-yard field goal.
 
Buffalo scored on its first drive of the second half, marching 58 yards in six plays. Sanders was on the receiving end of a 34-yard scoring pass. That touchdown gave Buffalo a 33-3 lead with 8:48 left in the third quarter. The Bills were so good offensively that even OT Tommy Doyle got involved in the scoring. Reporting as eligible, Doyle caught a one-yard pass from Allen for the Bills’ final touchdown of the day in the fourth quarter.
 

© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
 
Scoring touchdowns on their first seven drives was not the only Bills entry into the NFL playoff record book. Buffalo also became the first team in NFL history ever to go an entire playoff game without a single punt, field goal, or turnover. Though it’s not necessarily a playoff record, the Bills also became the first team to beat a Bill Belichick-coached team by double digits twice in one season. Buffalo beat the Patriots 33-21 in Week 16.
 
Despite the weather, the Bills were on fire, which featured temperatures below ten degrees. Allen’s 84 percent completion percentage was the highest (minimum 25 attempts) since Aaron Rodgers hit 86.1 percent of his passes in a 2010 divisional playoff game. Interestingly, all five of Allen’s touchdown passes came on play-action throws. The Bills quarterback has also gone four straight games now without being sacked.
 
Buffalo now advances to the divisional round. Had the Steelers been able to pull off the upset, Buffalo would have hosted Cincinnati. However, with the Chiefs having won Sunday night against Pittsburgh, the Bills will once again be traveling to Kansas City next week. Playing at home would have been ideal since they are 0-3 in road playoff games under McDermott. Having beaten KC earlier this year, the Bills know they can. Now, they just have to go out and do it.
 
Go Bills!!!
 
 
 
BillsFans.com - Editorial Staff
 
 
Related:
Leaving the Past Behind
Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots Wild Card preview
Buffalo Bills vs NJ Jets - A Few Thoughts about the Jets Game, in no particular order
The Bills Move On
Bills Clinch AFC East, Will Host Patriots in Playoffs
Buffalo Runs to 29-14 Win, Secures Playoff Berth
Bills Vault Back Into First Place in AFC East With Win Over Patriots

Shaw66

Leaving the Past Behind

By Shaw66, in The Rockpile Review,

© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
 
The Buffalo Bills stampeded the New England Patriots Saturday night, 47-17, but it was so much more than a lopsided playoff game.   
 
It’s well known:  Bills fans love their team.  They aren’t the only fans who love their team, and they aren’t the only pro football fans who have suffered through the seemingly endless futility of their team.   Still, the story of the pain of Bills fans is legendary:  Wide right and the four straight Super Bowl losses, the drought, the endless quarterback frustrations, the Buffalo jokes.   Every year, Bills fans hoped for more, hoped for success, hoped for respect, and it didn’t happen.  And for the past twenty years, all along the way, there were the New England Patriots, crushing those hopes mercilessly.
 
Then came Kim and Terry Pegula, and then Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane, and things began to change.   The fans felt it, not the aimless, empty hopes of the past, but something different: real hope.  Then Josh Allen arrived, and there was more than hope; there was genuine excitement.  It was all so new, so different, the fans didn’t know how to react to the beginnings of real success.  They were confused, full of conflicting emotions. 
 

© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
 
Ending the drought with a win and Andy Dalton’s heroics, and Kyle Williams and his boys, didn’t release the dammed up emotions.  Beating the Patriots twice and winning the division didn’t do it, either.  Getting to the AFC championship game didn’t do it.  As the wildcard game approached, fans still wondered if their team was for real, still dreaded Belichick’s legendary game planning. 
 
Saturday night, the dam broke.  On the field, the Bills delivered one of the NFL’s most spectacular, dominant playoff performances since, well, since the Bills beat the Raiders 51-3 in the AFC Championship game in 1991.  Seven possessions, seven touchdowns, no field goal attempts, no punts, no turnovers.  Five touchdown passes, 308 yards passing, 66 yards rushing from Josh Allen. 
 
It was an all-time great offensive explosion.  The first TD to Knox was great (even for thousands of fans watching on television, waiting to get through security and into the stadium), Hyde’s interception was great, the next drive and the second Knox TD was great, play after play after play was great.   No one had seen anything like it – football perfection, and it was wearing the uniform of the Buffalo Bills.  By the second half, the fans were delirious.  As the plays continued, the Singletary runs, the exquisite deep throw by Allen and catch by Diggs, the Sanders TD reception, the Hyde punt return, the Davis TD reception, we were laughing, we were hugging, we were high-fiving.  Fans were dancing.   We sang every word of the Shout song, every time.  
 

© Jamie Germano / USA TODAY Sports
 
But it was so much more than astoundingly great football.  It was the moment that Bills fans finally knew in their hearts that the decades of frustration were over.  No more doubts about Josh Allen, no more doubts about the defense, no more deep-seated fear of the Belichick magic.     
 
And so, for the fans in Highmark Stadium, the game became a celebration to bury the past.  We sang good-bye to the Patriots, and it was more than a derisive chant to mock a defeated opponent.  It was the end of the horrible curse that had been Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, and it was the end of the losing.  We sang as loud as we could, letting out all of the frustration of two decades of defeat and domination.
 
It had stopped being about football.  It was something more.  It was pure joy.  It was something we never expected, something we couldn’t have imagined.  When the game ended, when the singing and dancing and cheering and laughing were done, many fans stood in the stadium, not wanting the moment to end.  It was difficult to understand what had happened; maybe if we stayed another minute or two, we would understand.  But whatever amazing thing it was, it was over.   
 

© Jamie Germano / USA TODAY Sports
 
After the game, Sean McDermott said as the clock ran down, he turned and looked into the stands.   He saw the joy.  He said he was happy for the fans. 
 
And, interestingly, he essentially said that it was moment for the fans, not for the team.   Yes, the fans had decades of disappointment, but these coaches and players didn’t.  The fans suffered through twice-a-year spankings by the Patriots, but these coaches and players didn’t.  For them, it was just a game they had to win against a team they knew they could beat, it was just a step in a process that continues.
 
There are games still to be played, championships to be won, Lombardi trophies to be raised high into the air.  Maybe this year, maybe some other year.  But for now, finally, it no longer seems impossible.
 
In one glorious night, all of the ugly past was left behind.  Not forgotten, but it no longer matters.   We’re done with the past; now is the time. 
 
Go Bills!!
 
 
Billsfans.com - Shaw66
 
Related:
Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots Wild Card preview
Buffalo Bills vs NJ Jets - A Few Thoughts about the Jets Game, in no particular order
The Bills Move On
THE ROCKPILE REVIEW - Bills Take Care of Falcons
THE ROCKPILE REVIEW - The Complete Package
 

Virgil
© Jamie Germano / USA TODAY Sports
 
For the first time in years, I watched a Bills game without taking notes, and I'll be honest, my retention of the game went straight out the window. I had to wait and re-watch the game on Youtube, which was actually pretty cool to see without all the clock stoppages between plays. It's interesting the things you pick up a second time, but more so, you lose all real feel for the flow for the game. Fortunately, that part I remembered.
 
1 - Adjustments - I believe there were three plays in a row where Josh's target ran a different route. The announcers mentioned that both Josh and the receiver are both expected to recognize the coverage and adjust their route accordingly. It's just another detail of the game that most of us probably don't think about and just how much of a science all of this is. In either case, I've never seen that happen on back-to-back plays so badly. Regardless, I hope they are able to get this corrected in film study.
 
2 - The Cheerleaders - One thing I've felt that's been missing all season is the on-filed hype train led by certain players. When we had Lawson and Phillips, they absolutely fed off each other on the field. Mongo, good or not, was also a catalyst for the offensive line. While a few weeks back, we saw their energy lead to penalties and loss of control, Oliver and Brown seem to really be getting their respected lines playing a lot better. The relationship between Oliver and Harrison is very apparent, and they are clicking at just the right time. With the slightly off passing game, having a rushing attack and front four pass rush attack gel going into the playoffs is a huge boon for us. Think about the year the Colts finally won the big game because the defense and rushing attack finally needed to be respected.
 

© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
 
3 - Diggs - I really need to understand if Diggs is always this open and we choose not to utilize him like we did in this game, or did the Jets just play a defense that let him do whatever he wanted? I'm sure the target bonus was part of the reason Josh was trying to take care of Diggs, but it was almost alarming how easy it was to feed him the ball. This was the Diggs of last season who made the defense adjust their strategy altogether. 
 
4 - I admit it, what's to say?
I'll relive it, without pain
Hm, back-street lover on the side of the road
I gotta bomb in my temple that is gonna explode
I got a sixteen gauge buried under my clothes, I play
 
5 - Motor - When I looked up the stats post-game, it's crazy to see how close Motor is to eclipsing 100 yards. While not spectacular or breaking off huge runs, Motor is getting the tough yards in clear rushing situations and really opening up the passing game for Josh. Had he been the undisputed starter all season, I think we are looking at a 1200 yard season for him, which is unheard of in this Daboll offense. Moss did a good job in his limited spot duty, but I hope to see this trend continue and make opposing defenses have to account for Motor.
 

© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
 
6 - Pass Rush - While Wilson's inability to scramble forward was a big help, the Bills' front four just terrorized the Jets on 3rd and long, leading to numerous negative plays. If I'm not mistaken, the Jets finished with negative yards in the second half. C'mon, that's crazy! This defense keeps spiking at the right moments and does an amazing job in the bend but don't break concept, and this is with limited blitzing and the DE's dropping back in contain on some plays. Again, a great job of this unit gelling at the right time.
 
7 - The Big Play - When I think of some of our losses this season, I think about the big play by the opposing teams that wind up being the difference-maker in the overall score. We had big runs against us in the Pats, Titans, Colts, and Bucs games. The only moment in this game where the Jets made the score look interesting was on a mis-tackle pass that broke big for a touchdown. It feels like these plays happen against us more than anyone else, but I also don't watch a lot of other games. I'm not sure what the fix is, but I'm really hoping our season doesn't end on one of these.
 
8 - Haack - We all know that quarterback is one of the toughest positions in all of sports. Did you know that a punter who can hold a snap and make punts is the second hardest player to find? What the crap was that in this game?!? I will grant Haack that the punt snaps were slightly off to his left, but c'mon, man. When you get a standing ovation from the crowd for punting the ball through the end zone, you know there's a problem. I'm honestly surprised McD hasn't brought anyone else in this week.
 

© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
 
9 - Passing game - I don't know if the Bills are trying new plays on offense and tuning up for the postseason or what's going on, but the overall flow of the passing game continues to be off. The rushing attack and defense really won this game for us, and it's hard not to be a little concerned going forward. Josh was rocketing balls downfield again and did deliver a beautiful deep ball to Knox. The deep crossing passes were back, but the receivers couldn't get both feet in bounds. Gabe made some unusual drops, but overall, there were a lot of balls hitting the ground. I will credit the Jets blitzing a lot, and the weather wasn't great, but these are both things we should expect to see moving forward.
 
10 - Frazier/Daboll - Am I the only one who's not a fan of this new interview process where assistants can interview during the playoffs? I don't know what a typical day looks like in regards to prep for a game, but I assume it's a lot of hours. I don't like the idea of there being the slightest distraction for either guy, as they both have interviews the day after the Pats game. Maybe I'm paranoid, and this isn't a thing, but I just know it would be on my mind if I were either of them.
 
Well, that's a season wrap, everyone. I can't promise these for the playoffs as I am trying to be more present when I'm watching the game. I look forward to watching the game from the warmth of my own home with my daughter. I would never dream of trying to take her into that stadium with temperatures near zero. But keep telling me how the weather hasn't affected ticket sales this season....
 
Go Bills!!!
 
BillsFans - Virgil
 
Related:
Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots Wild Card preview
The Bills Move On
Bills Clinch AFC East, Will Host Patriots in Playoffs
Buffalo Bills vs Atlanta Falcons - A Few Thoughts About the Game, in no particular order
Buffalo Bills @ New England Cheatriots - A Few Thoughts about the Game, in no particular order
Buffalo Bills vs. Carolina Panthers - A Few Thoughts about the Panthers Game, in no particular order

ABR
© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
 
That’s not exactly what we wanted, playing the New England Patriots for a third time this season. Both teams likely feel confident in their abilities. After all, they’ve both qualified for the postseason. At least Josh Allen and Co. have been here before. Can’t say the same for Mac Jones in the NFL.
 
Then the other part is the Pats are backing into the playoffs with a loss, whereas the Bills actually earned the AFC East division crown by fighting until the very end. In the same frame of thought, this could further motivate the Patriots since they recently got their butts whooped. Bill Belichick won’t be pleased losing to a division foe who actually fired their head coach after the win, even if it’s a former disciple of his.
 
The two earlier matchups were a draw, with both teams walking away with a win in their away game. Obviously, the Buffalo Bills hope to break that trend this week, winning in their home stadium. 
Buffalo Bills Wild Card game details, where to watch
Saturday, January 15, 2022 Start time: 8:15 PM ET TV channel - CBS Location - Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York  

© Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Matchups to watch
Sean McDermott vs. Bill Belichick While a coach vs. coach matchup isn’t one that will be highlighted during the game, that’s largely what this rivalry has come down to. Both coaches are very familiar with one another’s approach by now after facing one another ten times in the past five seasons. 
 
Coach McDermott is 3-7 in those matchups, which isn’t good on the surface. Dig a little more, and you discover he’s won three of his last four matchups. One thing McDermott and his staff have proven is the ability to make adjustments, whether in-game or during the week. 
 
We could go on and on about what makes the Bills great, but we’d be foolish to ignore the accomplishments of Bill Belichick. This guy is the greatest football coach of all time. He’s the only reason the Patriots are even in the playoffs. It doesn’t matter that their QB keeps embarrassing himself. Belichick is the brainchild of their success.
 
Bills D vs. Patriots D It’s the Bills vs. Patriots. Don’t expect a shootout. Expect a bloodbath. This matchup pits the NFL’s top two defenses in points allowed per game against one another. The Bills allow 17 points per game, while the Pats allow 17.8 per. 
 
The opponents share little respect for each other. Any time they lose to their AFC East division rivals, the losing side becomes incensed, even when asking about something as harmless as their New Year’s resolutions. 
 
Naturally, tensions for a playoff game will only heighten emotions on both sides. While both defenses have a strong résumé built up over the course of the season, the Bills have momentum on their side.
 
Buffalo Bills points allowed over past four games - 15 PPG New England Patriots points allowed over past four games - 25.75 PPG  
Finding a way to tap into the same success they experienced in Week 16, crushing the Pats 33-21, the Bills will make Mac Jones wish he could go back to college. After all, the Bills are the only team to hold Jones under a 50% completion rate. This is notable because it appeared Jones had a chance to break the NFL’s completion percentage mark for a rookie until his recent struggles put him far below the record.
 
He’s not going to suddenly come out firing after the miserable effort he displayed a few weeks prior. Instead, he’ll likely start seeing ghosts early, forcing mistakes in the biggest game of his young career.
 
Buffalo Bills vs. The weather The last time the Patriots visited Highmark Stadium, the weather conditions were horrible. 40 MPH winds led them to run the ball exclusively, which The Herd simply wasn’t prepared for. 
 
This time around, the weather projects to be normal, with some possible light flurries, but a lot can change in a week. As long as they don’t experience the same wicked winds as before, Josh Allen can sling it downfield in a heap, if needed.
 

© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Buffalo Bills Wild Card game prediction
This season’s record: Buffalo Bills 11-6 AFC East champions New England Patriots 10-7, second place in AFC East  
This Wild Card matchup will be a defensive brawl, but it’s still going to place a huge burden on the shoulders of the two quarterbacks. From making audibles and adjustments at the line to executing off-schedule plays like we saw Josh Allen make on Sunday, the Bills hold all the advantages at QB, and it’s not even close.
 
I’ll give the advantage to Belichick as far as a head-to-head matchup over McDermott, but he never takes the field. Allen does, and he’s head and shoulders above anyone the Patriots have on their roster. And Allen’s supporting cast is pretty damn good too.
 
The only part about the Pats that should scare anyone is their head coach and defensive efficiency. Nobody on their offense strikes fear. Even they’re scared of their own quarterback throwing the game away. Load up the box, stay true to your gaps and bully them in the trenches. Make the rookie QB try and beat you. If that happens, you live with it. 
 
But I wouldn’t anticipate that happening this year. Vegas seems to agree, favoring the Bills with a four-point spread. 
 
When the Bills take down the Patriots, their next opponent will likely be the Kansas City Chiefs unless the Pittsburgh Steelers do everyone a favor and magically knock them out. Then we’re looking at either the Las Vegas Raiders or the Cincinnati Bengals. If that craziness happens, I’m hoping for a Raiders matchup instead of facing the ever-explosive Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase. We also don’t want to face Patrick Mahomes and that improving defense again, despite beating them 38-20 in Week 5.
 
Basically, root for the Steelers and Raiders, as unlikely as that may be. Most importantly, enjoy this playoff game as a Bills Fan and cheer them on to victory.
 
Game prediction: 24-20 Bills victory
 
 
 
 
BillsFans.com - Andrew Buller-Russ 
 
 
Related:
The Bills Move On
Bills Clinch AFC East, Will Host Patriots in Playoffs
Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets Week 18 game preview
Buffalo Bills vs. Atlanta Falcons Week 17 game preview
Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots Week 16 game preview
 

Shaw66

The Bills Move On

By Shaw66, in The Rockpile Review,

© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
 
It’s Tuesday morning.  Where have the days gone?
 
I got up at 6:30 Saturday morning and was on the road by 7:30.  Then it was seven hours of driving in sub-freezing temperatures, freezing rain most of the day, slush on the highway, snowplows at 50 miles per hour.  Stop at the hotel, then out to Orchard Park.  I passed Schwabl’s on the way; they’re looking for a carver.  Hmm.   Maybe I could move to Buffalo and take the job. 
 
At Highmark Stadium, it was forty degrees, with a steady 20 mph wind out of the southwest. 
 
After the game, it was back to the hotel and watch the the Raiders and Chargers.  To bed after midnight.  Up the next morning, 400 more miles back home in daylight and good weather.  Then there was college National Championship game.
 
Someplace in there, I watched the Bills beat the Jets, 27-10, take their second straight AFC East title and lock up the number 3 seed in the playoffs.   What to make of the game?  To be honest, I don’t know.  It’s all a bit of a blur, but travel is only a part of the problem.  The opponent is another part of the problem; the Jets had pretty much nothing to offer as serious competition.  Rookie QB, leaky offensive line, inconsistent defense.  Fans worried that the Jets somehow could pull off the upset, but really, how?  If the Bills couldn’t beat the Jets, playoff seeding would be the least of their worries.
 

© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
 
And still, remarkably, the Jets were in position to win the game, down 3 points and with the ball in the fourth quarter.  It didn’t seem right.  Was I delirious from the drive?  Weren’t the Jets at risk of setting some kind of 3-and-out record, and now they could take the lead?  Well, not really. 
 
Truth is, the game was only half of a game.   As it happened, neither team could do much of anything on offense against the wind.  Three points were scored against the wind – a 41-yard Tyler Bass field goal.  Haack did some really ugly punting into the wind.  Everything else in the game, offensively, was with the wind.  Maybe it’s better to think of the final score as 54-20, which might have happened if each offense could have gone with the wind for four quarters.  Or 6-0, if both offenses always went against the wind.
 
So, what happened?  The Jets’ woeful offense was no match for the Bills’ statistically league-leading defense.  The Jets gained 53 yards, earned four first downs.  Okay, call it that much in two quarters; in four quarters with the wind, that would be a whopping 106 yards and eight first downs.   The Bills simply smothered the Jets in every aspect of the game.  Actually, it looked like the Jets played all four quarters into the wind. 
 

© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
 
It was a field day for the defensive line.  Sacks galore (more sacks than completions), tackles for loss.  Ed Oliver looked All-Pro, Harrison Phillips was in the middle of the action play after play.  Zack Wilson rarely could find an open receiver.  The Jets were horrible.
 
The only knock on the defense was that once again it was burned for a long gain or touchdown on a quick-hitting run or short pass with no help deep.  The reality is that it’s impossible never to give up a long one; every once in a while everything falls just right for the offense.  Maybe the question should be how the defense is able to give up so few of those plays.  (One site ranks the Bills 21st in explosive run plays allowed, 2nd in explosive pass plays.)
 
For large stretches of the game, the Bills’ offense looked pretty bad.  Well, let’s say for large stretches of the game, Josh Allen looked pretty bad.  Why?  Because he was trying to throw against the wind in the second and third quarter.   Except for the field goal drive to end the half and one deep throw to Knox, Allen did very little against the wind.  He threw hard, to cut the effect of the wind, but by throwing hard, his timing was off.  Receivers consistently cut too late, or looked for the ball too late – or probably more accurately, the ball arrived too early, and off target.   Did Allen have a bad night, or was it simply impossible to deal with the wind?  I’d bet on the wind. 
 
The bigger question about all of Allen’s second- and third-quarter misfires is this:  Why were the Bills passing?  It was obvious if not immediately, then by late in the second quarter, that going against the wind was a losing proposition, and the only objective against the wind was to get ought of the quarter as soon as possible.  So, why go three and out by throwing incomplete passes?   Run the ball.  You may still go three and out, but at least the clock keeps running.  And if on some series you actually get a first down, run some more.  The Bills needlessly extended both quarters, giving the Jets extra possessions, simply by passing instead of running. 
 

© Jamie Germano / USA TODAY Sports
 
And, by the way, the running game was working.  Singletary saw a couple of monster holes, and plenty of others big enough to get to the second level, and Allen was opportunistic.  For a team that was unable to mount any kind of running game most of the season (other than living dangerously with Allen), here was another late-season game where running actually was an option. 
 
With the wind, Allen was Allen.  He ran the offense, under control, not flustered, taking the necessary time outs when things got out of sync.  The touchdown throw to Diggs and the near-touchdown to Diggs were exquisite throws.  He found Diggs often, and Beasley, too, and delivered accurate balls.  Gabriel Davis was unusually ineffective, dropping a couple of balls and seeming to be off-page with Allen. 
 
The path to the Super Bowl is brutal:  New England, Kansas City, Tennessee.  But the truth is that the path for every team is brutal.  None of the Bills’ likely opponents is happy to see the Bills coming down the road.  For every team, your very best may not be enough, and less than your best invites an early exit.  
 
The formula for the Bills heading into the playoffs is clear:   Be solid at every position across the defense and be tough to score on; on offense, be dangerous and find a way to score.  For a statistically great team, the Bills don’t dominate, but they also won’t be dominated, not any more.   They will be a tough out in the playoffs, and they could make a run. 
 
GO BILLS!!!
 
 
 
Billsfans.com - Shaw66
 
Related:
Bills Clinch AFC East, Will Host Patriots in Playoffs
Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets Week 18 game preview
Regular Season Finale Tailgating Menu
Buffalo Bills vs Atlanta Falcons - A Few Thoughts About the Game, in no particular order
Buffalo Runs to 29-14 Win, Secures Playoff Berth
THE ROCKPILE REVIEW - Bills Take Care of Falcons
THE ROCKPILE REVIEW - The Complete Package
THE ROCKPILE REVIEW - Panthers Don't Have Enough to Stop the Bills

BillsFans Staff Writer

Bills Clinch AFC East, Will Host Patriots in Playoffs

By BillsFans Staff Writer, in Bills Today,

© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
 
It’s been a while since the Buffalo Bills clinched an AFC East Division title with a win on their home field, but that is exactly what QB Josh Allen and company did on Sunday. In blustery conditions, the Buffalo defense was outstanding. The Bills recorded a 27-10 win over the New York Jets to end the season 10-7 and take home a second consecutive division title.
 
The conditions on Sunday – gusting winds – were somewhat of a picture of what the Bills have faced all season. There was the surprising upset loss to Pittsburgh at home to begin the season. Buffalo bounced right back to win four straight. Then, there was the stretch of four games where the Bills lost to the Colts, Patriots, and Buccaneers. Resilient once again, Buffalo finished the season with four straight victories.
 
It was similar on Sunday as the Bills offense sputtered but still managed to take a 10-0 first-quarter lead on an Allen-to-Stefon Diggs touchdown pass and a 41-yard Tyler Bass field goal. The Jets would then actually get back into the game thanks, in part, to the wind.
 

© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
 
Buffalo punter Matt Haack, who hasn’t seen much action the past few weeks, punted 21 yards into the wind giving New York the football at the Bills 45-yard line. The Jets would take four plays to score. The touchdown came on a 4th-and-5 play where Jets QB Zack Wilson hit Keelan Cole, who would score from 40 yards out.
 
The teams traded field goals before Buffalo RB Devin Singletary took over in the fourth quarter. Singletary would score on consecutive drives for Buffalo and do so within four and a half minutes. His first score was a one-yard run that capped a seven-play, 51-yard drive. The second score was on the receiving end of a five-yard Allen touchdown pass.
 
That the game was even that close heading into the fourth quarter is hard to believe. The Jets managed just four first downs the entire game. They were held to a franchise-low 53 yards of total offense. For comparison, Buffalo recorded 424 yards of offense and 25 first downs.
 

© Jamie Germano / USA TODAY NETWORK
 
The Buffalo defense was simply phenomenal. The Bills sacked Wilson nine times and held the Jets to just 48 rushing yards. Wilson would end up just 7-of-20 for 87 yards. Take out the sack yardage (82 yards), and you arrive at the 53 yards of total offense for the day.
 
The wind would keep Buffalo from becoming the first team since 1945 to go three games without attempting a single punt. Buffalo punter Matt Haack was called upon in the second quarter on Sunday for the first time since Dec. 19 when the Bills beat Carolina. Haack would actually be busy on Sunday, punting seven times. The wind was certainly a factor as Haack had kicks of 21 and 23 yards into the wind and had a 53 yarder with the wind at his back.
 
The Bills had to wait until the final game of the day – the Chargers-Raiders game on Sunday night – to find out their first-round playoff opponent. With the Raiders overtime victory eliminating the Chargers, Buffalo will play host to a familiar foe – the New England Patriots. Game time is set for Saturday, Jan. 15, at 8:15 p.m.
 
Go Bills!!
 
 
BillsFans.com - Editorial Staff
 
 
Related:
Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets Week 18 game preview
Regular Season Finale Tailgating Menu
Buffalo Bills vs Atlanta Falcons - A Few Thoughts About the Game, in no particular order
Buffalo Runs to 29-14 Win, Secures Playoff Berth
Bills Vault Back Into First Place in AFC East With Win Over Patriots
Bills Snap Two-Game Losing Streak with 31-14 Win over Carolina

ABR
© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
 
Despite a tumultuous season that saw the Buffalo Bills lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Herd has made it to the final week of the regular season, and they still control their destiny. There were times when we weren’t sure if the Bills would qualify for the postseason, but their Week 17 win made it official. It just shows how quickly a team’s fate can change.
 
Heading into their final game of the regular season, the Bills have shown in recent weeks their ability to win in a variety of ways. Even as we saw during Week 17’s game when the weather was once again brutally cold and windy, the Bills were able to rally and come out ahead, relying on their running game to get the job done.
 
In fact, taking on the Jets before reaching the playoffs offers yet another chance to test different aspects of running the football. Equally pathetic at stopping the pass as they are at limiting the run, the Jets defense is atrocious. 
 
Gang Green’s defense has allowed teams to score 53 touchdowns on them, whereas their offense has only brought 33 touchdowns to the table. Josh Allen alone has 34 passing touchdowns and, of course, six more rushing scores. For comparison, the Bills have allowed just 30 touchdowns this season.
 
Let’s be honest. The Jets plain out suck. But, to their credit, they have been playing inspired football lately since Zach Wilson has returned to the lineup after missing four games due to injury. From Weeks 1-12, the Jets lost by an average margin of 18.5 points per game. Since Wilson’s return, the average margin has shrunk to 11.75 points per loss. 
 
Aside from two blowouts against the Eagles and Saints, the Jets have been in a one-score game in four of their past six. And somehow, this team has beaten the No. 1 seeded Tennessee Titans and the Cincinnati Bengals. Football can be very strange.
Buffalo Bills Week 18 game details, where to watch
Sunday, January 9, 2021 Start time: 4:25 PM ET TV channel - CBS Location - Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York
© Kevin R. Wexler-USA TODAY Sports
Matchups to watch
Bills’ pass-catchers vs. Jets D Josh Allen loves to spread the ball around, and we’ve seen more evidence of that this season than any of his previous three campaigns. In 2021-22, Allen had five pass-catchers with over 500 receiving yards. While missing players due to positive COVID tests or injuries have been a factor, Allen’s done an excellent job of not locking into any one target.
 
We’ve seen Gabriel Davis take another leap, looking like the No. 2 WR of the Bills as soon as next season. Yet, the underappreciated skills of Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders cannot go unnoticed. Beasley helps chop up defensive zones underneath, allowing the speedsters to stretch the field in other ways. Ideally, you need all four to coexist, working off one another to open up opportunities for others. 
 
That’s where Allen comes in, by being able to make his second and third reads and finding the open receiver. 
 
Of course, Dawson Knox is unique in his own right. The biggest target on the field, Knox, is a significant red-zone threat, using his size and athleticism to box out much smaller defenders on jump balls, which is partially why he’s tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns with nine.
 
Altogether, the Bills can present a potent punch to any opponent they face. That absolutely includes the Jets, who have intercepted just seven passes this season, two of which were caught by defensive linemen. 
 
Bills’ secondary vs. Zach Wilson Selected second overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, Zach Wilson has rarely looked like a future face of the franchise in his first 12 games. 
 
With such a small sample size, we shouldn’t rush to judgment on Wilson’s future. We’ve seen first-hand the growth of Josh Allen over the years, and there’s no reason why Wilson can’t dramatically improve as soon as next year. 
 
For now, let’s look at a few of his bad marks from his rookie year. Wilson has thrown a touchdown on just 2.2% of his passes this season. It’s tied for the third-lowest rate among qualifying NFL QBs. His completion percentage is even worse at 56.7%, the lowest rate in the NFL. Wilson is also being sacked at the second-highest rate in the NFL, getting brought down on 9% of his dropbacks. 
 
All of this is to say, Wilson has a long way to go before he helps lead his team to victory. Being on the Jets won’t make matters any easier.
 
As far as the Bills’ defense? You already know, they allow the fewest passing yards and touchdowns per game among the 32 NFL teams.
 
Matt Haack vs. The World Seriously, is this guy on the team anymore? Do they not want him playing?
 
All jokes aside, what the Rumbling Herd have been able to do for the past two games is historic. You may not have even realized it, but the Bills haven’t punted for the last two games. The first time came against Belichick, making this Bills team the first to have ever not punted against a Belichick-coached team. That’s incredible.
 
This is likely accentuated by the fact that Buffalo’s average starting field position is the best in the NFL, starting on their own 32-yard line. A shorter distance to go can lead to more field goals and touchdowns instead of punts, putting more stress on the opposing defenses.
 
Whatever the reason, don’t expect a third consecutive game without punting. As bad as the Jets are, we’d still rather punt than throw three interceptions as Allen did last week.
Division clinching scenarios for Week 18
This time of year, playoff-clinching scenarios can get pretty complicated. Thankfully, the Bills have made it simple for us this year. Win, and they’re in. That’s it. Beating the Jets will allow the Bills to clinch the AFC East for the second consecutive year. 
 

© Jamie Germano-USA TODAY Sports
Buffalo Bills Week 18 game prediction
Last season’s record: Buffalo Bills 13-3, reached AFC Conference Championship New York Jets 2-14, last place in AFC East  
Despite showing some resolve as of late, the Jets aren’t a team ready to beat a good opponent. They may have caused Antonio Brown to throw a tantrum, literally quitting on his team, but that was likely more of a microcosm of Brown’s mental state at this point.
 
They have what’s supposed to be a future franchise quarterback. There’s a slim chance to go off and flash the talent that originally got Wilson selected that high in the first place, but if he hasn’t shown that ability against lesser defenses, it won’t happen in Buffalo.
 
Knowing they just need to take care of business with a win to take the AFC East division crown, the Bills won’t take their foot off the gas. Especially against a division rival. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Mitchell Trubisky close out the game once Buffalo establishes a strong early lead as the Jets haven’t shown an ability to come back from a large deficit.
 
Vegas oddsmakers fully expect the Bills to clinch their division in Week 18. Betting lines have the Bills as early 16.5 to 17 point favorites. It’s the largest point spread they’ve been favored by all season. 
 
Taking the over there is risky. Once the W is locked in, the Bills don’t have anything else to play for. Seeing several starters, not just Allen, come out of the game to stay healthy for the Wild Card Round wouldn’t be a bad move once the game is out of hand. This could present an opportunity for Wilson to let ‘er rip. Either way, start making your playoff plans because the Buffalo Bills are back for the fourth time in Sean McDermott’s five seasons as the head coach.
 
Game prediction: 38-13 Bills victory
 
Go Bills!!
 
 
 
BillsFans.com - Andrew Buller-Russ 
 
 
Related:
Buffalo Runs to 29-14 Win, Secures Playoff Berth
THE ROCKPILE REVIEW - Bills Take Care of Falcons
Baby It's Cold Outside Tailgating Menu
Buffalo Bills vs. Atlanta Falcons Week 17 game preview
Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots Week 16 game preview
Buffalo Bills vs. Carolina Panthers Week 15 game preview

Ann
We are back to tailgating at Highmark Stadium as the Buffalo Bills take on the New York Jets this Sunday at 4:25pm!
 
Whether you are meeting friends at the stadium or at an outside lot or doing your own little tailgating celebration in a stadium parking lot, these terrific stew and chili recipes will really hit the spot on a cold winter day. No matter what size gathering, these terrific tailgating stew recipes are sure to be a crowd-pleasing hit!
 
If you are creating your own menu, what are you bringing? Is it a whole menu, nibbles, or a dish to share?
 
Go Bills!   
 
 
 
 

 
 
get the recipe >>> Creamy White Chicken Chili
 
A rich, creamy white chili packed with tender pieces of chicken and white beans
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
get the recipe >>> Easy Chicken Stew
 
Made with vegetables, chicken, broth, and a touch of cream, this chicken stew is hearty enough to fill you up without leaving you ready for a nap. It’s the kind of comfort food that makes you feel good.
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
get the recipe >>> Beef Stew (Crockpot preparation)
 
Made with simple ingredients, this slow cooker beef stew is the perfect comfort food for tailgating. Even if you don’t know how to make beef stew, I promise that this easy stew recipe will produce absolutely scrumptious results!
 
 
 
 

 
 
get the recipe >>> Irish Stout Beef Stew
 
 With a rich flavor from my favorite dark Irish stout beer and loaded with vegetables this Irish beef stew will warm you up on the coldest of days.
 
 
 
 

 
 
get the recipe >>> Instant Pot Irish Lamb Stew
 
Hearty, cozy, and oh so delicious, this instant pot Irish lamb stew is a perfect one pot recipe, perfect for your tailgate.
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
get the recipe >>> Instant Pot Mexican Beef Stew
 
This Mexican Beef stew is Beef, potatoes, pinto beans, tomatoes and spicy peppers all cooked together in a sauce bursting with flavor.
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
get the recipe >>> Shrimp Stew

Shrimp stew is a hearty and delicious meal that is perfect for cooler weather. Made with shrimp, smoked sausage, potatoes and vegetables in a rich broth.
 
 
 
 

 
 
get the recipe >>> 30-Minute Oyster Stew
 
This super easy oyster stew is thick, creamy, and rich! While most oyster stew recipes do not call for potatoes, we find ours even better with it.

What is on your tailgating menu?
 
Written by Ann
 
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Virgil
© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
 
I've played Madden for about 20 years now, and I'd like to think I'm pretty good at it. I was ranked in the top 5% for a bit and really have the most fun when I'm playing someone who knows football. It can be easy at times when you play someone who only runs the same plays over and over again but can't adjust to anything else. Sometimes, I will even mess around and try new plays when I'm up against someone who I can tell isn't on my skill level. In those games, though, I've found ways to lose because I gave them too many opportunities to stay in the game. They weren't the better team, but I made the poorer decisions. Usually, I can turn it around, but others...
 
1 - Allen - Was there an article this week that said Allen had a weak arm that I missed? Allen decided it was a fastball-only game, on a day where the weather was so cold that the football felt like a rock. If Diggs can't pull in a basic slant pass, you know something is wrong. Allen put up one of his worse statistical passing games, and I still never really felt like we were going to lose this game. The Falcons defensive line did a good job of getting their hands up and tipping two passes into interceptions. The other interception was an example of when hero ball goes wrong. Fortunately, Allen is a true dual-threat QB and scored two touchdowns on the ground and learned to lean on his rushing attack in the second half, helping the Bills cruise to an easy win.
 
2 - Defensive Backs - Outside of the big Kyle Pitts play, I thought the Bills defensive backs played one of their best overall games of the season. What was so impressive was their ability to turn their heads back to the pass at just the right time. I know the Falcons aren't world beaters at receiver, but there were plenty of passes where we would've been flagged for PI in prior weeks. Dane and Levi played a hell of a game. It's great to see this unit step up in Tre's absence.
 

© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
 
3 - Stevenson - For those who got comfortable on punt returns, this was the game to bust out the old Zanax. Stevenson fumbled on his first punt return, which led to a safety. Then, he later bobbled another punt. He found a way to get tackled by another Bill on two kick-off returns. With McD's zero-tolerance policy, I wonder if we see McKenzie back there next week, considering he wasn't a factor in the passing game again.
 
4 - Talking to herself
"There's no one else who needs to know"
She tells herself
Memories back when she was bold and strong
And waiting for the world to come along
Swears she knew him, now she swears he's gone
 
5 - Edmunds - I have to go back on my word from a few weeks back and talk about Edmunds again. Is it me, or is he always chasing downplays or standing around a group tackle? He showed his value in the passing game on a few plays where he used his lanky body to jump around and block passing lanes, but that's about all I saw him do in this game. He got trucked twice in this game, where the running back got an additional 3-5 yards on the tackle. I just don't get it with this kid anymore, and I'm at the point where I hope they can trade him for some value heading into his 5th year.
 

© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
 
6 - Phillips - It drives me crazy when players finally figure out how to play in their contract year. Over the past few weeks, Phillips has finally become the cog in the middle of the defensive line that we hoped he could be when we drafted him. Unfortunately, he's also injured constantly. Harrison was all over the place in this game and did a great job against the Falcons run. For a big boy, he showed some speed getting to plays on the edge and getting involved. Him and Oliver were a wrecking crew in this game, where Oliver was consistently getting double-teamed. 
 
7 - Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory - When Matt Ryan got the taunting penalty against Poyer, only to find out he didn't actually get into the end zone, leading to no points; did anyone else picture that happening to the Bills 5 years ago? Being on the other side of it, it's hysterical to watch these sub .500 teams find ways to take themselves out of games. For those who watched the Jets game, who were up 4, they ran a QB sneak on 4th and a long 2. The coach said it was a play call mix-up, but still. We had the Josh Allen slip and the Hail Murray, but it's still overall night to no longer feel like "that team."
 
8 - Return of the Young Ends - MIA for weeks, Groot and AJ finally decided to show up for this game in a big way. Groot had the huge strip-sack while AJ made some great plays in space and a big open field tackle. I'm still not seeing much from them against one-on-one matchups, but hopefully, they are also starting to get some confidence.
 

© Jamie Germano / USA TODAY Sports
 
9 - McD - As this game ended, there were a lot of tweets about records broken and whatnot. A few things stood out for me that really shows all the things McD and Beane have done for this team. This was our first playoff-clinching win since the late '90s. This is our 4th playoff run in 5 years. McD has over ten wins in multiple seasons and is already climbing up the Bills coaching wins records. There's always something to criticize, and that's what we do as fans, but to take a step back and look at things now versus the drought is very impressive. 
 
10 - Thoughts - This may be my last season writing these post-game thoughts. I haven't fully made up my mind, and it has nothing to do with any of my readers. Honestly, the support from so many of you is why I've kept doing this as long as I have. I'm coming up on almost ten years of writing these, and it really is work. I know the writing is casual, and spelling is off, but that's meant to be part of the charm. The truth is, I can't watch a game without taking notes. As my work life changes, getting these written becomes more like an assignment. I can't really just enjoy the game or comment much afterward because I feel like I have an obligation versus something that started out as fun after Bill left it behind. If I do decide to walk away, it doesn't mean I won't write thoughts or comments in other places, but I just won't commit to the timetable and rhythm I've been following until now, and it may not have as many details. Sometimes, I just want to watch a game and enjoy it versus sitting the and adding notes to sort through later. But again, the community has been so supportive, and maybe this season was more taxing for some reason. Regardless, I reserve the right to change my mind.
 
Go Bills!!!
 
BillsFans - Virgil
 
Related:
Buffalo Runs to 29-14 Win, Secures Playoff Berth
THE ROCKPILE REVIEW - Bills Take Care of Falcons
Baby It's Cold Outside Tailgating Menu
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Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots - A Few Thoughts about the Patriots Game, in no particular order
 

BillsFans Staff Writer

Buffalo Runs to 29-14 Win, Secures Playoff Berth

By BillsFans Staff Writer, in Bills Today,

© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
 
With a running game that totaled 233 yards, the Buffalo Bills secured their third consecutive 10-win season and spot in this year’s AFC playoffs with a 29-14 victory over Atlanta. Running back Devin Singletary, who would score two second-half touchdowns to give Buffalo the win, ran for 110 yards and 23 carries. Quarterback Josh Allen added 81 yards on 15 attempts.
 
It was Allen who would give the Bills an early lead. After the Bills blew a punt return that ended up giving the Falcons a 2-0 lead on a safety, Allen went to work. He would lead two scoring drives, both in the first quarter. The first went 69 yards in 15 plays capped by Allen’s one-yard scoring run.
 
The second would come after a Buffalo strip-sack of Atlanta QB Matt Ryan. Buffalo took over at the Falcons’ 18-yard line, and six plays later, Allen rumbled into the end zone untouched on a four-yard run. The Bills led 14-2, but the Falcons would take a 15-14 lead at halftime as the result of two Younghoe Koo field goals and a Mike Davis touchdown run.
 
Allen would finish the game just 11-of-26 for 120 yards passing. He threw three interceptions, two of which came in the second quarter and led directly to Atlanta scoring drives. The Bills got the football to start the second half, and Allen threw his third pick of the day on that opening drive. Luckily, the Buffalo defense would sack Ryan and force an incomplete pass on a 3rd-and-17 play. The remainder of the second half belonged to Buffalo and Singletary.
 

© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
 
Singletary would score on a six-yard run in the third quarter and a four-yard run in the fourth. Both drives were long, time-consuming ordeals that took the life out of the Falcons. The Bills would end up controlling the football for 36 minutes and seven seconds of the game.
 
The Bills’ defense would come up big again, limiting Atlanta to just 265 yards of total offense. They held Atlanta to 96 yards rushing and sacked Ryan a total of five times. Ed Oliver, Harrison Phillips, Greg Rousseau, Taron Johnson, and Mario Addison each recorded a sack for Buffalo.
 
Buffalo entered this week’s game leading the NFL in total defense, allowing 287.9 yards per game. The Bills are also second in scoring defense, giving up just 17.6 points per game. Interestingly, the Bills did not punt against Atlanta. That marked the first time since 2004 that an NFL team did not punt in consecutive games.
 
The Bills will host the New York Jets next Sunday. A victory will give Buffalo its second straight AFC East Division title. Currently, the Bills own the No. 4 seed in the AFC. If nothing changes, the Bills will face division rival New England in the first round of the AFC playoffs at home at Highmark Stadium.
 
Go Bills!!
 
 
 
BillsFans.com - Editorial Staff
 
 
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Bills Rally But Come Up Short In OT Loss to Tampa Bay

Shaw66
© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
 
Fans have a mental-image of what an NFL win looks like. A prototype win. It’s what they want to see from their team, week after week.  Take control of the game from the start, score on almost every possession, have a comfortable half-time lead, and cruise through the second half to a stress-free win.
 
Problem is, every NFL game is unique.  It’s different from every other game, and very, very few wins fit the prototype.  In every game, as Sean McDermott is fond of saying, each team will face adversity.  How the team responds to adversity is the measure of how good a team is.
 
Yes, it’s a cliché.  The reason it’s a cliché is because it’s true.  Things go wrong in games.  They always do. 
 
The cliché was on display Sunday as the Bills beat the Falcons 29-15, clinching a playoff berth and now needing a win over the Jets in Orchard Park to win a second-straight AFC East title.  Things went wrong in the middle of the game for Josh Allen and the Bills, but the Bills responded.  The defense held, the running game clicked into gear, the Bills regained the lead.  The Falcons threatened to make it close, and then something went wrong for them.  They couldn’t recover.
 

© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
 
For a game with plenty of uncomfortable moments for the Bills, it all ended oh, so comfortably:  Run the clock down to the two-minute warning and take three knees. 
 
The story of the game begins as it almost always does for the Bills, with Josh Allen.   Commentators for the past few weeks have been saying that no team relies on one player more than the Buffalo Bills, and it’s hard to deny it.  Allen can wreck a game with his arm and with his legs, and no quarterback in the league is as good as an over-all offensive player.  A few QBs run better, and a few QBs pass better, but no other QB is like Allen, a high-level threat both ways. 
 
Against the Falcons, Allen had some typically amazing throws, some near misses, and some drops, but he certainly did not have a good passing game.  Allen threw fastballs most of the day, probably because of the wind and snow, and the fastballs weren’t connecting. 
 
With the Bills driving for their third TD of the first half, a score that would go a long way to ending the game, Allen saw Diggs in the endzone, fired another bullet that was tipped and intercepted.  The Falcons then scored so quickly that the Bills still had time to attack again.  Allen immediately threw another interception, and the Falcons drove for a field goal to take the lead at halftime, 15-14.  On the third play of the third quarter, Allen threw his third pick.  Did someone say adversity?
 

© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
 
The Bills responded.  The defense forced a three-and-out and also pushed the Falcons out of field-goal range.  The offense drove 80 yards in six-and-a-half minutes, an 11-play drive featuring 10 runs by Singletary and Allen.  The offensive line took charge.  The touchdown and two-point conversion put the Bills up 7.  The Falcons punted after five plays, and here came the Bills offense, again.  Twelve plays, seven and a half minutes, 65 yards for the touchdown to make it 29-15.  Another 10 running plays, shared by Allen, Singletary, and Moss.  29-15, and the game was in hand.
 
But the Falcons marched back, insisting the game was not over.  Matt Ryan scrambled for a touchdown and picked up a taunting penalty that became incredibly damaging when it was ruled Ryan had given himself up short of the goal line. That took six points off the board and left the Falcons with third and goal from the 16.  The Bills held for two plays to take the ball back.
 
And now, as if to show that Ryan’s drama was irrelevant, the offense took over again. They went on an 11-play, 5+ minute drive, that included all runs and three kneel downs.   If the Bills had needed a TD, Allen would have gotten it. 
 

© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
 
The Falcons were not going to beat this team at this point in the season.  These Bills are doing a lot of things right, not always flashy, but right.  These Bills are mentally tough.  It’s evident everywhere:  Singletary’s emergence as a real threat; the offensive line’s sudden development as a pass protection unit, the line’s equally sudden ability to create the running room for Singletary, Allen, and Moss throughout the second half; a strip sack from Rousseau; a shoe-string tackle by Epenesa.  Guys at every position were making plays.
Sure, on pure style-points, this game was far from awesome:  Stevenson’s fumble. Allen’s INTs, of course, the defense’s failure to get a stop on the Ryan non-TD
 
But, style points no longer matter.  Scratching and clawing and competing in every way you possibly can is what matters.  The style isn’t always pretty, but this style is showing that it can be pretty tough to beat. 
 
And Josh Allen is the Chief-Executive-Scratcher-and-Clawer.  The team feeds off his determination.  We see his physical toughness in his runs, of course, and we also see his mental toughness in his presence in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage.  He isn’t confused; he understands what he sees.  We aches to win.  He’s mentally tough.
 
The Bills have played with that toughness, led by Allen’s toughness, for two games now, and I would be surprised if they lose that attitude against the Jets next week. 
 
GO BILLS!!!
 
 
 
Billsfans.com - Shaw66
 
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Ann
We are back to tailgating at Highmark Stadium as the Buffalo Bills take on the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday at 1pm!
 
Whether you are meeting friends at the stadium or at an outside lot or doing your own little tailgating celebration in a stadium parking lot, these terrific chili recipes will really hit the spot on a cold winter day. No matter what size gathering, these terrific tailgating chili recipes are sure to be a crowd-pleasing hit!
 
If you are creating your own menu, what are you bringing? Is it a whole menu, nibbles, or a dish to share?
 
Go Bills!   
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

get the recipe >>>  Amazing Grilled Beer Brat Chili
 
This insanely good Beer Brat Chili combines two of our favorite dishes into a flavorful recipe. Use a disposable pan on the grill, and you have a great side dish for your next tailgate.
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

get the recipe >>> Brisket Chili
 
When making brisket chili, you’ll be using some of the leftover brisket that you have. The brisket can be store bought or smoked at home. The choice is yours. This recipe does not include instructions on making the brisket itself, just the chili.
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

get the recipe >>> Chili Con Carne
 
The perfect blend of spices, beans and extra veggies, means you can make a pound of minced beef feed 8 people!
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

get the recipe >>> Rainbow Chili

This rainbow chili recipe has all the colors of the rainbow. It tastes delicious, and is even kid-friendly!
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
get  the recipe >>> Blueberry Venison Chili
 
Blueberry venison chili combines a hunter’s favorite game meat with fresh berries and chiles for a surprisingly delicious flavor combination.
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

get the recipe >>> Easy Bloody Mary Chili

This easy bloody Mary chili recipe is thick and packed with flavor! If you love this classic drink or just love chili you’ve got to try this hearty meal.
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
get the recipe >>> Chili Mac
 
This easy chili mac recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes with simple ingredients that the whole family will love!
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

get the recipe >>> BBQ Pulled Pork Chili
 
A new twist on classic chili, this BBQ pulled pork version will be a new favorite!
Sweet, yet still smokey, kids and adults love this one.
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

get the recipe >>> Crock Pot White Bean & Turkey Chili
 
This white bean and turkey chili is made in the crock pot and couldn’t be easier to make. This chili is a great way to use up leftovers.
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
get the recipe >>> Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken Chili
 
Slow cooker pineapple chicken chili is an easy recipe that makes it's own tangy sauce as it cooks in your slow cooker! Sweet chili sauce, crushed pineapple and fresh lime juice combine with juicy chicken breasts making this a crock pot pineapple chicken recipe that's bursting with flavor!

What is on your tailgating menu?
 
Written by Ann
 
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ABR
© Jamie Germano / USA TODAY Sports
 
The Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Falcons are at complete opposite ends of the spectrum. In 2016, the Dirty Birds got to where the Bills strive to be, the Super Bowl. We all know what happened after they got out to a 28-3 lead, and ever since, they haven’t been able to get back on top.
 
There’s a fine line between a contender and a pretender in the NFL. For the Falcons this season, that difference is about two wins. Considering they are just two wins behind the Rumbling Herd, the Falcons aren’t that far off. Although, upon closer inspection, they don’t belong anywhere near the playoffs.
 
One area that shows the humongous gap between the two teams is their points for and points allowed this season.
 
Falcons points scored: 18.5 (25th in NFL) Falcons points allowed: 26.7 (28th in NFL)  
Bills points scored: 28.5 (3rd in NFL) Bills points allowed: 17.6 (3rd in NFL)  
For the Bills, their record accurately represents their talent level. The Falcons’ point differential is kind of incredible. How do they allow an average of over eight points more per game than they score yet sit at just a game below .500 at 7-8?
 
A lot of blowout losses, that’s how. When they lose, they really lose. The Falcons have five losses of 20+ points this season. The best teams they’ve beaten are the Miami Dolphins and the New Orleans Saints, and both of those victories were by just two points. 
 
Basically, they’ve clawed their way to seven wins, but when they show up to Highmark Stadium, they’re running into a team that should beat them by 20.
Buffalo Bills Week 17 game details, where to watch
Sunday, January 2, 2021 Start time: 1:00 PM ET TV channel - FOX Location - Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York  

© Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Matchups to watch
Leslie Frazier vs. Cordarrelle Patterson It will take a team effort to constrict Cordarrelle Patterson on Sunday. While he doesn’t have one specific area where he’s dominant, he’s a chess piece that moves all over the board with efficiency. 
 
Taking over as a starting running back for the first time in his nine-year career, Patterson has a relatively even split between rushing and receiving this season. 
 
Cordarrelle Patterson stats as a runner (2021): 140 attempts, 579 yards, 6 TD, 4.1 YPC Patterson as a pass-catcher (2021): 49 receptions, 523 yards, 5 TD, 10.7 Y/R  
Patterson has a natural ability to make defenders miss. Whether it’s running over them or using his burst of speed to sprint past, C-Patt can cause problems in a hurry.
 
He also handles their kick returns and is one of the most proficient returners in NFL history, with a total of eight kick return touchdowns in his day. He’s currently tied for first place among career kick return touchdown leaders.
 
The Bills are allowing the 12th-most kick return yards on average in the NFL this season. Patterson figures to receive plenty of opportunities to run one back.
 
By the way, Frazier was the Minnesota Vikings’ head coach in 2013 during Patterson’s rookie year. They’re quite familiar with one another.
 
Bills’ secondary vs. Matt Ryan Matty Ice, remember those days? Listen, I have a lot of respect for Matt Ryan, his story of being largely ignored as a high school prospect, to experiencing a car crash that ended his brother’s playing days, and ending in what may someday be a Hall of Fame gold jacket. Ryan has had a historic career while overcoming several obstacles along the way.
 
He’s not one to consistently stress the defense using the deep ball as Josh Allen can. Ryan prefers to pick his spots, but he can actually hit them, unlike some others. And when he does choose to take risks, he’s been on point. In fact, before Week 16, Ryan led the NFL in passer rating on throws 20+ yards downfield.
 
He’s an accurate thrower who limits mistakes, which could lead to some frustration on gameday from Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde if they don’t receive many opportunities to make plays on errant throws. This brings us to our next matchup.
 
Bills’ pass rush vs. Falcons O-line One area the Bills can overpower their opponent this week, believe it or not, is in the trenches. Matt Ryan takes a lot of sacks, and as he ages, he’s continued to lose mobility. 
 
While the Bills haven’t been consistent with their pass rush this season, they can change that narrative a bit on Sunday against the Falcons. Though the Bills rank sixth-worst in the NFL, tallying just 1.9 sacks per game, the Falcons offensive line isn’t much better. 
 
Atlanta allows 2.1 sacks per game, ranking in the middle of the pack (16th). Yet, the Bills have the athletes to get home against Ryan. 
 
One area the Bills can attack is rookie guard Jalen Mayfield, who has allowed nine sacks and given up a whopping 46 total pressures prior to Week 16, which was by far the highest among guards, according to Pro Football Focus. Ryan has been constantly let down by his protection, and it’s caused him to be knocked down more than any other QB in 2021.
 
While they may not have any pass-rusher who consistently wins his battles, they have 15 different players who have gotten into the sack column this season. Simply put, if they can’t knock Ryan on his ass at least 4-5 times on Sunday, it will be a failure from a pass-rush standpoint.
 

© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Buffalo Bills Week 17 game prediction
Last season’s record: Buffalo Bills 13-3, reached AFC Conference Championship Atlanta Falcons 4-12, last place in NFC South  
This matchup should be a cakewalk, but that doesn’t always mean it will be. The Falcons have some playmakers. Kyle Pitts, who hasn’t even been mentioned yet, is a super freak at tight end. More of a size/speed wunderkind wide receiver, who’s simply too large to play wideout, he lands at tight end by default. 
 
But the Falcons’ haven’t been able to utilize him much near the red zone, as the rookie has just one touchdown. He may get his yards, but they still won’t score many points.
 
Even when running the ball, they have the second-fewest rushing yards in the NFL.
 
Sacks per game? By far the fewest at 1.1, a full half-sack below the next worst team.
 
There are not many aspects of the Dirty Birds that should strike fear in Bills Fans for this matchup, other than facing a team on the verge of being eliminated from postseason contention.
 
Expect Buffalo to carry their newfound confidence back home this week, where they can dominate a Falcons team bereft of high-end talent. 
 
The Bills have still come out ahead, even while navigating all their players going through the league’s COVID protocols. It shows this team’s resilience and resolve to band together in the face of everything happening while staying together as a unit. 
A few weeks ago, the playoffs seemed unlikely. Now we look and ask, who dares stand in the way of the Rumbling Herd?
 
Vegas oddsmakers like Buffalo’s matchup a lot for those interested, favoring them by 13.5 to 14.5 points to beat the Falcons. My prediction is much of the same.
 
Game prediction: 41-24 Bills victory
 
Go Bills!!
 
 
BillsFans.com - Andrew Buller-Russ 
 
 
Related:
 
Bills Vault Back Into First Place in AFC East With Win Over Patriots
THE ROCKPIE REVIEW - The Complete Package
Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots Week 16 game preview
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Buffalo Bills vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Week 14 game preview



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