Goodbye, No. 1 seed in the AFC.
Goodbye, first place in the AFC East.
The Buffalo Bills came out hot on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings and found themselves up 24-10 at halftime, but the team absolutely collapsed when it mattered most on Sunday. Buffalo has now dropped two consecutive games and once again showed a lack of mental toughness when it mattered most.
The season is far from over, but Buffalo has not looked anything like a Super Bowl contender as of late and a big part of that falls on the shoulders of Josh Allen.
Allen made some great plays on Sunday, but he almost cost the team chances to win twice in the game.
After the defense forced a fourth and goal stop in regulation, Allen just needed to get the ball out of the end zone to seal the game. Instead, he fumbled the snap. It was recovered by Minnesota for a touchdown. Allen was able to get the team in field goal range to force overtime, but he crumbled when it mattered most in overtime.
After getting the Bills deep into Vikings territory, Allen tried to force a ball into the end zone. It went right to Patrick Peterson who intercepted it to seal the game.
Vikings 33-Bills 30.
Buffalo needs to come up with answers to their problems fast or else this season is going to get away from them. Following their loss, here is how Buffalo graded out.
Josh Allen made a lot of really good plays against the Vikings. He rushed for 84 yards and threw for 330 yards, but his terrible decision making once again cost Buffalo at the end of the game.
Allen deserves praise for playing at less than 100 percent, but the criticism for his mistakes need to be just as loud. Until Allen cleans up his decision making, Buffalo will pull away from good competition.
RUNNING BACK/FULLBACK: B+
Buffalo had success running the ball early with Devin Singletary finding the end zone twice, but Minnesota seemed to have all of the answers to the Bills’ running game in the second half.
Singletary had one fumble in the game, although it looked as though his elbow may have been down before the ball game out. Despite his two scores, Singletary was held to 47 yards on 13 attempts (3.8 YPC). James Cook was overshadowed by his brother in the loss as well. Cook finished with just 22 yards on five attempts while his older brother finished with 119 yards and one score.
WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT END: A
Stefon Diggs may have made the catch of the year for Buffalo on the final play of the third quarter. With the Vikings trailing by just 10, Buffalo faced a 3rd and 15 after Spencer Brown was flagged for holding. Allen took the snap and rolled to his right to keep the play alive before throwing a high pass down the field. Diggs would climb the ladder and haul the catch in with one hand to extend the drive.
Diggs continued to play like a superstar with a 12-128 stat line.
In addition to Diggs, Buffalo saw Gabe Davis, Isaiah McKenzie and Dawson Knox all make difficult grabs.
Gabe Davis played like a true No. 2 receiver in the game. He caught six passes for 93 yards and added a touchdown in the loss.
Isaiah McKenzie (4-37) and Dawson Knox (4-57) both made some good plays on offense as well. Buffalo needed players outside of Diggs to step up and it happened on Sunday. It just wasn’t enough to leave Highmark Stadium with the victory.
OFFENSIVE LINE: C-
Buffalo’s offensive line did a good job protecting Allen early and opening run lanes. By the second half, the unit struggled in both areas.
Devin Singletary and James Cook struggled to move the ball, Josh Allen took his fair share of hits and had to run more than Buffalo probably wanted and the unit also came away with some holding penalties.
A strong effort early did not carry over late.
DEFENSIVE LINE: B-
Early in the game, Buffalo’s defensive line fared well. In the second half, however, the unit disappeared for a long stretch before making some late plays including some key Kirk Cousins sacks to set up a 4th and 18. After the secondary failed the unit, Buffalo’s line made another big stop about one inch from the goal line.
The game looked to be over, but Allen’s QB sneak fumble proved otherwise. Late in Minnesota’s overtime drive, the unit showed up again.
Their performance was inconsistent, but the unit certainly made plays with A.J. Epenesa, Shaq Lawson, Boogie Basham, Von Miller and Ed Oliver all recording sacks.
Tremaine Edmunds was playing like a man possessed in the first half before he exited with a groin injury. Edmunds came close to two interceptions, but had ended up with two passes defensed. Buffalo’s defense missed Edmunds after he exited with Tyrel Dodson struggling to make big plays.
Matt Milano also stood out for Buffalo with two tackles for loss.
Dane Jackson and Christian Benford recorded interceptions in the game, but the duo and rest of the secondary also allowed far too many catches in key situations.
Minnesota has plenty of weapons and Justin Jefferson is the best in the business at wide receiver, but Buffalo’s secondary was put in situations to make plays and they failed time and time again when it mattered most.
The biggest mistake of the game goes to Cam Lewis. With the Vikings facing a 4th and 18 to keep their chances alive, Lewis had the chance to bat a pass to Justin Jefferson down. Instead, he attempted to intercept it and that gave Jefferson all he needed to haul it in. The game would have ended right there.
It’s easy to see how much Jordan Poyer is missed and how badly the team needs Tre’Davious White back on the field.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A+
Duke Johnson did a good job handling kickoff duties, Tyler Bass was perfect in the game and Sam Martin averaged over 50-yards per punt.
This unit did their job from start to finish on Sunday.
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