Clinching their first division title in 25 years, the Buffalo Bills dominated the Denver Broncos from start to finish. Josh Allen’s dual-threat ability was on full display, with defenders struggling to bring down the sneaky-quick quarterback.
While it didn’t lead to a big play, Josh Allen’s hard count is strong enough to catch defenses off-guard. As we saw a couple of times in the game, most notably in the first quarter, Allen’s fake snap triggered the Broncos to jump offsides. This turned a 3rd-and-9 into a much more manageable 3rd-and-4, where Allen quickly found Cole Beasley just past the sticks for the first down.
Allen would throw a strike to Dawson Knox along the right side of the end zone for the first points of the game. They found a way to get it done, despite facing a red zone defense who up to that point was allowing a touchdown on a league-best 49% of their drives.
From that point, the Bills defense, led by their strong secondary, locked down a struggling Broncos offensive approach. Denver gained just 255 yards, while Buffalo doubled that with 534 yards.
Andre Roberts’ muffed punt in the second quarter could have turned around a 14-0 game. Denver used this advantageous field position to punch the ball in the end zone via Melvin Gordon to pull within one score.
Early in the third quarter, Jerry Hughes showed incredible ball carrier vision in his fumble return, picking up the ball and avoiding a Jim Marshall moment. Recognizing he had to turn around, Hughes made his best Walter Payton impression and returned it to the house.
It seemed as though the Bills were two steps ahead of whatever Denver wanted to do all day.
Eventually, it was as if offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and Josh Allen were having fun crushing their nephew or niece in a video game such as Madden, but this was real life. Already up 35-13 with nine minutes to go in the third quarter, the Bills dialed up a 55-yard missile to Stefon Diggs along the right sideline to pummel their opponent into submission.
That play perfectly described this matchup. It was a complete blowout, with one team showing they were far more prepared in all aspects of the competition.
Later in that drive, the Bills would turn the ball over on downs, falling short of the first down by inches. Although it looked like, at least to me, that coach Sean McDermott made the right call to challenge the ref’s ruling of Zack Moss gaining enough for the first. It didn’t matter.
Thankfully, the Bills front seven remained stout. Denver failed to pick up the first down and gave Buffalo a favorable field position with a punt.
The game was largely in hand at this point. Denver would go on to get a garbage-time touchdown. Devin Singletary’s 51-yard touchdown run with less than two minutes left gave the Bills more points than they have scored all season.
Denver came into the game with a beaten-down secondary, derailed by injuries. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll came up with the perfect game plan, attacking the opponent where they were at their weakest. It led to a huge day through the air for multiple members of the Bills’ offense. In fact, Jake Kumerow became the 13th Bill to catch a touchdown pass this season, tying an NFL record.
Bills Game Balls: Week 15
There are many contributors worthy of earning a game ball from their 48-19 victory with such a dominant performance.
- Josh Allen
By completing 28-of-40 passes for 359 yards and two touchdowns, both throwing and running for a total of four TDs, Allen was the biggest difference-maker. The Denver Bronco defense didn’t have an answer. He kept them on their toes with both his short and intermediate throws, as well as his long passes down the field. On top of his golden arm, Allen’s athleticism was on full display, juking multiple defenders in both of his touchdown runs.
- Stefon Diggs
With one of his best games since becoming a Buffalo Bill, Stefon Diggs crushed it on Saturday. Catching 11-of-13 targets for 147 yards, Diggs had his sixth 100-yard receiving game of the season. It comes as no surprise that Diggs leads the NFL with 111 receptions and is third in the league with 1,314 receiving yards. In his first season in town, Diggs is having a career-year.
- Jerry Hughes
I think we all need to watch this one again. Had it not been a blowout, Jerry Hughes’ effort on his touchdown return may be one of the bigger stories of the week. In any event, it was a great showing of a player motivated to reach the end zone. It makes you wonder if he could teach the running backs a thing or two?
Bills fans, many of you have waited since 1995 for this very moment. The Buffalo Bills are AFC East champions for the first time in 25 years. It is an incredible accomplishment and one that should be enjoyed by all. Early appearances show that fans are prepared to do just that. Watching thousands of fans show up to support their team in an otherwise tough year, you can’t help but feel the emotion and jubilance expressed by our loyal fanbase. It is a special time to be a part of Bills Mafia.
What’s next for the Buffalo Bills?
With the AFC East division clinched, the Bills have good reason to be proud of what has been accomplished so far. However, upcoming games against division rivals leave little time to celebrate, with the New England **Patriots coming up on Monday Night Football and the Miami Dolphins in Week 17.
Fans should have nothing to panic about, with a matchup against Bill Belichick’s crew coming up. Buffalo won the first game 24-21, and the **Patriots have struggled as of late, losing two games in a row.
Facing a Miami team with Tua Tagovailoa now at the helm may present a different challenge. Buffalo also won their first matchup, 31-28. Miami, currently at 9-5, likely will be fighting for their playoff lives, but that game will be in Buffalo.
With four consecutive wins, the Buffalo Bills appear to be getting hot at the right time as they get ready to head into the playoffs. As Jerry Hughes said, “The job ain’t done yet.”
BillsFans.com - Andrew Buller-Russ