If there’s one thing I’ve learned in a lifetime as a Buffalo Bills fan, it’s that you can’t live and die with each win or loss. Sometimes, a game comes along where you just have to burn the film and move on. Week 3 against Miami was one of those games. Hats off to the Dolphins for surviving the war of attrition, but let’s be clear… This was not a game that Miami emphatically took away, nor was it a game that the Bills gave away. Someone had to win, and someone had to lose. This just wasn’t our week. With that said, on to this week’s risers and fallers…
Faller: Josh Allen
Josh Allen set career highs in pass attempts and completions. He threw for 400 yards, rushed for another 47, and threw two touchdowns against no interceptions for the second week in a row. Now, for the bad part. Allen fumbled three times, losing one inside his own ten to set up Miami’s first score. With a first and goal from side the five, he failed to get into the end zone. By my count, he threw five balls that absolutely could have been picked off, three of which probably should’ve been.
In what would have been a career day for a lot of passers, Allen managed to come up just short when the moment was biggest. Luckily, Allen seems to have made a habit of putting games away early. However, I would’ve felt better the next time we found ourselves in a close game knowing that he had found a way to win the close ones instead of us always losing.
Faller: Sean McDermott
Let’s start by saying McDermott isn’t responsible for this particular loss. Taking into account Gabriel Davis’ dropped touchdown, Matt Milano dropping what would have been a walk-in pick six, Tyler Bass’ missed field goal, and Isaiah McKenzie’s inability to get out of bounds on the final play, Buffalo had plenty of opportunities to win this game on the field that were not impacted by any poor coaching decisions. That said, Buffalo’s last 20 wins have come by double digits. While part of that is game planning, a bigger part is superior talent and an MVP caliber quarterback.
Meanwhile, Buffalo’s last eight losses have come in one possession games. Unfortunately, that is far more indicative of being outcoached than outclassed. To be clear, this is not a call for McDermott’s firing, nor is it a lack of faith in him as the coach of this team. It is, however, a disturbing trend and one that needs to be monitored moving forward.
Riser: Leslie Frazier
It’s impossible to overstate how well Leslie Frazier did with this Buffalo Bills defense this week. Tua Tagovailoa was held to 186 yards passing, and the running back duo of Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert managed only 32 yards on 14 combined carries. While it appears that part of the gameplan was for the offense to control the clock and keep the undermanned defense off the field as much as possible, they still performed admirably when called into service. Tyreek Hill was held to just two catches on four targets for 33 yards, and while Jaylen Waddle did shake free for two long passes on one drive, he was mostly contained for the rest of the game.
Tre’Davious White, Ed Oliver, Micah Hyde, and Jordan Poyer. All were missing for a game against a quarterback who threw for 460+ yards and led four touchdown drives in the fourth quarter the week prior…. And this undermanned defense kept the Bills in the game the whole time. Enjoy Frazier while he’s here, as he should be a head coach again sooner rather than later.
20-0 was always a pipe dream for only the most delusional Buffalo Bills fans. The league is too deep, and there is too much parity for a team to truly make a run like that. But a loss on the road, in that weather, with a depleted defense and decimated secondary, makes it a little easier to swallow. To overcome all of the challenges Buffalo came into the game with, and still come within yards and seconds of a game-winning field goal attempt is reason for hope moving forward. This is still a loaded roster, led by a top tier quarterback, with excellent play callers on both sides of the ball. Expect them to right the ship and have the team ready to go moving forward. We’re on to Baltimore.
Featured Image: Wilfredo Lee/AP