The AFC Championship game! The Bills go to Kansas City next weekend to determine who gets to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl! It’s a crazy thing to say, and I have to be honest; I feel stunned saying it. I need to be pinched. I feel like I’m dreaming, but the boys in red, white, and blue are like a prophecy come true, and Bills Mafia is here to celebrate this anointed team.
I thought Baltimore was a horrible matchup for these Bills, but the coaches and players were ready with a game plan to stymie these bullies from Charm City. And the Ravens had a lot going for them. They controlled the clock (35.5 minutes to the Bills 25.5), had more third down conversions, better efficiency on third downs, had 120 more total yards, better yards per play, and ran almost 20 more plays! And yet, the score suggests this game wasn’t even close.
You’ve heard the narrative: if Lamar Jackson hadn’t gotten hurt, this game would have turned out differently, but let’s not let them decide what happened. This Bills D came to play and shut down Lamar and this offense when it mattered. When he got injured, the Bills were up 17-3, and I don’t know that Lamar could make up those points in the time left.
It sucked to see Jackson go out, but these things happen. And after the victory, Bills Mafia has been generously donating to Lamar’s favorite charity. Well done, Bills Mafia! The Ravens Walter Payton Man of the Year candidate had this to say about our fans:
Even though the game didn’t go as I hoped last night, waking up to countless donations from #BillsMafia is such a blessing. We are so thankful to all the fans who have made such an impact this season! @BuffaloBills @Ravens #TogetherWeCan @bradnikkibozeBradley Bozeman (@BSBoze) January 17, 2021
Classy, Buffalo. We love it. In case you somehow missed the game because an asteroid was heading to your town and you had to hide in a fallout shelter with no cable connection (still not an excuse), here are some highlights from the game:
And now, we take that good karma to face off against the presumed #1 team in the NFL all season, the Kansas City Chiefs but first, here are 10 things I think I think about this Buffalo Bills victory over the Ravens.
1. Taron Johnson is now accepting apologies.
Taron Johnson … dude has been balling. Johnson was just the guy we needed for this game against the Ravens. He’s tough as nails and unafraid to stick his face in the fan, and he finished the game with six tackles and a tackle for loss from his slot corner position. He was an integral part of this run defense. But, of course, he could still hear the haters. He heard the criticisms from talking heads, and against a QB who had never thrown a red zone interception and the Ravens set to tie the game, Johnson came up big. He watched Lamar’s eyes, drifted in the zone to cut off Mark Andrews’ route, intercepted the pass, and then had the stones to take the ball out of the end zone and outrun the entire Baltimore team on his way to a TD. This kid plays with guts and grit, and he’s easy to love, and that pick-six will go down as maybe the biggest play this season for the Bills. Well done, young man. I am hoping to see a few more #24 jerseys next week!
2. Levi Wallace changed the game.
Levi Wallace, like Taron, is often in the crosshairs of media criticism, but I think he made the play that really helped changed the game. That sack he had of Jackson early helped to stem the tide of an effective rushing attack by the Ravens. It was a huge play in a huge moment. Wallace was great all game, contributing against the run and the pass, and he finished with six tackles, a sack, and a tackle for loss. He is so underrated and unappreciated, but Wallace is a lunch pail kid, and he shows it week in and week out.
3. Tremaine Edmunds is balling.
The Kaiju sees monsters rising from the depths, and he destroys them. Man, since Edmunds has been healthy, he has been earning that C on his chest. He called a great game on the defensive side and had his boys ready. He, again, led the team in tackles with nine. He had a QB hit and a pass defensed and helped to corral Mark Andrews all day. I love watching Tremaine play, and he seems to be growing every week like a certain QB from Firebaugh, CA … more on that later.
4. Tyler Bass … needs to learn to kick in Buffalo.
A cause for concern, Tyler Bass struggled to kick in the winds of Buffalo. Now, I know that the best kicker in NFL history also missed two of three field goals, but one would hope that our home kicker would be better in the elements. He has been confident all season, and even his early struggles did not seem to get in his head. Here’s hoping he brings that cockiness into next week and is dripping some swag so cold all over the field agains the Chiefs. We will need him to get back to form.
5. Stefon Diggs hit the century mark yet again!
Josh Allen only finished with 206 yards passing on the day against this talented Ravens D. Stefon Diggs caught 106 of those yards. He is balling right now in a way I haven’t seen by a Bills wide receiver in … well, you know how long. Allen can go to Diggs when no one is open, and Diggs obliges. He makes impossible catches look easy, and he does so with an easy calm. We don’t see stupid drops, mistakes, miscommunications. No, the Allen to Diggs connection is right up there with the great duos: Manning & Harrison, Brady and Welker, Unitas & Berry, Laverne & Shirley, etc. These guys have something special together … let’s hope that love stays strong for years to come, as right now, they are the best QB/WR combo in the league!
6. John Brown rebounded nicely!
Man, what a game from Smoke! After a lackluster game against the Colts, John Brown collected himself and became Allen’s scramble drill favorite. John Brown tried to match Diggs for miraculous receptions, and he finished the game with eight catches for 62 yards! What a game! With Beasley neutralized, Brown came up in a big spot, and if we are going to defeat this vaunted Chiefs team, we are going to need all of our guys to be ready to ball next Sunday!
7. Horrible Harry, Justin Zimmer, and Ed Oliver played with fire!
Harrison Phillips is starting to play like he did at the beginning of last season. He looked good out there against this bully Baltimore offense. He and Justin Zimmer were flashing all over the screen and giving Jackson and the backs fits. They, along with their best guy, Ed Oliver, held the point of attack and limited the Ravens running backs to only 84 yards on 4.2 yards per carry. (Much of that yardage came on the first drive of the game.) Well done to the big guys in the middle! They turned into an immovable object and helped to make Lamar uncomfortable all game.
8. Devin Singletary made his mark!
Look. I know that Singletary only had 25 yards on seven carries in this game, but on Buffalo’s most important drive, their TD drive, Motor powered his way in in key runs for first downs. That twelve yard prize fight through the Ravens D was a masterclass in guts, and Singletary deserves a lot of credit for Buffalo’s ability to move the ball on that drive.
9. Leslie Frazier deserves another head coach position.
What a game plan by the old coach, Leslie Frazier. He and McDermott put together the perfect plan to restrict this dangerously hot Ravens team, and after all he’s done for Buffalo in his time there, Leslie Frazier certainly deserves another bite at the head coaching apple. He has an amazing voice that makes you want him to read books to you as you go to sleep. He’s calm. He’s cool. He does things the right way, and if he leaves the hallowed halls of Bills Stadium for a HC position, I’ll be rooting for him. But selfishly, I hope he stays. He is a great contributor to this team, and let’s get something clear: we would not be in the AFC Championship game without him this season.
10. Josh Allen did what he needed to win.
Allen didn’t have a flashy game. He didn’t blow up the scoreboard. He only finished 23 for 37, 206 yards passing, and a single touchdown. That hardly seems like a big day, but he didn’t have to do much. The thing is, he did what he needed to do, and when it mattered most, he got the job done. One thing I took away from this performance was how well he is throwing smoke routes this season. His ability to get the ball out of his hands quickly and throw a dart accurately in the flat, leading the receiver (like on that Diggs’ TD), is a huge encouragement, as this was not a strength of his game in years’ past. We looked poised and calm against a great defense on Saturday, and we are going to need that guy next weekend against the Chiefs.
- How about that block by Tre White against Lamar Jackson? It was textbook clean and ensured a Johnson TD. THAT is leadership!
- Man, when Edmunds and Milano are on, they are tough to beat. I’d love to see this duo keep playing together for years to come. Every time I watch a game with Candice (We are undefeated when we watch the game together.), she says of Milano, “They better keep that guy!” You fellas know this … if they could bottle that sort of enthusiasm and good luck for the Bills, it would be the greatest aphrodisiac in the history of man! #LuckyGuy
- Beasley and Davis were held to zero catches on six targets. That just goes to show how good this Ravens team was. Kudos, Baltimore. We’ll see you next year … and I suspect many years to come.
- Hahahahaha! Nick Wright! Hahahahahahaha!
- To all those out there clamoring for a dome or making bitch-ass excuses about “best teams” will show up in domes (ahem, Kurt Warner), STFU! No dome in Buffalo! What? You want to follow in the illustrious footsteps of the Lions and the Vikings? Before the domes, the Lions won championships, and the Vikings went to the Super Bowl. #NoDomeInBuffalo
Thank you all for reading! I’m so psyched for you, and I am going nuts. Bills gear is going to be on all week! If you have any question, comments, or would like to share the secret to how one gets that Tyler Bass swag, hit me up on Twitter at @adamnannini
Stay safe, and be ready for this matchup against the Chiefs!