It may not have been the prettiest of victories, but a win’s a win. The Buffalo Bills improved their record to 7-3 Sunday afternoon after defeating the Cleveland Browns at Ford Field in Detroit, 31-23. Similar to how the team found a way to get out of their buried, snow-covered homes and get to Detroit on time and safely, they found a way to scrap out a much needed win.
The offense looked completely broken in the first half, as they only had two field goals before WR Stefon Diggs’ five-yard TD reception put them up 13-10 with 14 seconds left. Buffalo scored another touchdown on a five-yard run from RB Devin Singletary, as well as FOUR field goals in the second half.
The difference in this game was the Bills’ rushing attack. It appears they learned something over the last few weeks about being more balanced on offense and keeping the ball on the ground to chew clock when they’re leading in the second half. Singletary only had one rushing attempt through the first 23 minutes of the game, but finished with 18 carries for 86 yards and a TD. RB James Cook also had a great day in the backfield, tallying another 86 yards on 11 carries.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott spoke on some of that balance.
“I just think we got into a good rhythm. [We were] a little bit off in the first quarter with some things there, and it was good to kind of get settled in and get into a rhythm and I think we got some points on seven of the last drives of the game.”McDermott about finding a rhythm
QB Josh Allen was 18/27 for just 197 yards and a TD. But, his streak of throwing two INTs ended at three games. TE Dawson Knox and WR Gabe Davis were the leading receivers on the day; Knox had 70 yards on seven receptions, and Davis had 68 yards on five grabs. Diggs finished with 48 yards and a TD on four catches.
Allen said that it was great getting the run game going on Sunday.
“Devin and James both ran the ball well and it’s a credit to our guys up front for making those holes for them. If we can run it like that, we’re going to continue to run it, that’s no secret.”Allen on the run game
The defense, who was missing LB Tremaine Edmunds, DE Greg Rousseau, CB Kaiir Elam, and CB Tre White, stepped up big time and made many key stops to preserve the victory. Yes, they allowed a late TD as well as 324 passing yards to QB Jacoby Brissett, but they held one of the NFL’s leading rushers in Nick Chubb to just 19 yards on 14 carries. LB Matt Milano was exceptional once again. He finished the day with 12 tackles, 3 TFLs, one sack, and a fumble recovery.
Bills DT Jordan Phillips said after the game that not only is Milano playing like the best defensive player on their team, he’s playing like the best defensive player in the league.
What Was Said About the Snow and Bills Mafia?
So, aside from the game itself, what else was said after a crazy last few days?
McDermott started his press conference by saying how proud he is of his team and the City of Good Neighbors.
“I want to say how proud of the players I am and the staff for the work that they put in to get here first of all, and the performance that they put forth today, the effort that they put forth… and to everyone back in Buffalo who helped us get here, how much we appreciate them and are thankful for them.”McDermott on the win
He went on to say how incredible it was to even get to Detroit. Their support and development team helped round up the herd.
“The players never once said, ‘I can’t do it.’ They just said, ‘What do I need to do?’ And I think that says a lot about them.”McDermott on his players’ drive
As for how coach got out, he said a neighbor called in a front loader to dig him out, citing multiple neighbors who texted him saying that they were ready to help.
“You call it the City of Good Neighbors for a reason.”McDermott on WNY
Josh Allen said that his neighbors also helped him. Squirrel Winters, Marc Braun, and Norm Marshall spent over THREE HOURS digging out the Bills superstar. For more on this insane story, watch this package from News 4’s Patrick Ryan.
Bills DE Von Miller, who said he rode with Coach McDermott since he lives right down the road from him, started his press conference by thanking everyone who made this game possible.
“First and foremost, I want to say thank you to the community of Buffalo and Orchard Park for helping me and my teammates get out and get to the facility and make the plane. The whole community chipped in and really helped plowing… and picking everybody up on snowmobiles and tractors and everything for us to get here. It’s and honor and a privilege to be a part of that community.”Miller on living in Buffalo
Meanwhile, S Jordan Poyer said that his whole neighborhood helped dig him and his family out.
“Oh man, my snow story? Shoutout to the whole neighborhood, my neighborhood was super awesome. We were outside shoveling for about two hours… I just had a really cool experience.”Poyer on his snow experience
LT Dion Dawkins, the Shnowman himself, said that Bills EVP/COO Ron Raccuia picked him up and brought him to the facility.
“That was a first. Not being able to drive my own vehicle and having Ron come walk to my house, literally, from up the block where it was paved… and me walking from my house all the way up the block to get in the SUV so they could take me to the facility.”Dawkins on getting to the facility
Dawkins, who broke out the Scott Chandler snow shoveling dance after the game, said that Bills Mafia was amazing yesterday.
“It was like a home game to me. There were nothing but Bills fans here and they definitely made themselves present.”Dawkins on Bills Mafia
Bills DE Shaq Lawson said that this past weekend proved yet again why the Bills have the best fans.
“You gotta give them all respect, man. That’s true love. They travel through all that snow… it can’t get any better than that.”Lawson on Bills Mafia
Another Bills defensive lineman, Tim Settle, encapsulated everyone’s thoughts after the game.
“It was crazy, it was definitely exhausting with all the traveling, all the snow, all the weather… but we found a way to get it done.”Settle on his snowstorm experience
Back to Detroit We Go
The Bills will have to do the same over these next four days (minus digging through 77 inches of snow). They have a quick turnaround and will be back in Detroit on Wednesday for their Thanksgiving matchup with the Lions at 12:30 pm.
“When you go through and share an experience like this, it can bring a team closer together.”McDermott on the lasting impact from this weekend
Maybe this game was a wake up call for the Buffalo Bills, similar to that Tampa Bay game last year, when they had no offense in the first half, found it in the second half, and never looked back again? Only time will tell.
*All player quotes come from the postgame press conferences (via the Buffalo Bills YouTube channel).
Featured Image: Kevin Siracuse