Words From The Herd: Bills Finally Win a Close One
We’ve been talking for months how the Buffalo Bills haven’t been able to win a close game, especially after last week’s devastating loss in Miami. But now, that streak is over.
Buffalo’s 23-20 victory over Baltimore on Sunday ended their streak of winning 20 straight regular season games by 10 points or more. However, more importantly, their streak of losing seven straight one-score games is also over, as the Bills won their first one-score game since 2020. Sunday also marked the team’s largest come-from-behind victory since 2011 (when they picked off Tom Brady five times and overcame a 21-point deficit against the Patriots), as they erased a 17-point deficit to win their third game of the season.
The Bills found themselves in a 20-3 hole in the second quarter, but that never even phased them.
“We never felt like we were out of it. The energy on the sideline was never negative. We never felt like the game was over.”Von Miller on the comeback
QB Josh Allen and WR Isaiah McKenzie injected some life back into the team right before halftime, as the duo connected on a four-yard TD with nine seconds remaining to make it a 20-10 ballgame.
“To get points before the half knowing that they get the ball right after half… it’s huge for us. Instead of going down 20-6 or 20-3, it’s 20-10. One stop away and we’re back in this thing,” Allen said.Allen on scoring a TD before halftime
Sure enough, the Buffalo Bills came out and looked like a brand new team in the second half. Between two field goals from Tyler Bass (including the game-winner) and an Allen touchdown run towards the end of the third quarter, the Bills outscored the Ravens 13-0 in the second half. It was another week in which they blanked a team in the third and fourth quarters.
So far this season, the Buffalo Bills are outscoring their opponents 63-7 in the second half and have a +44 point differential in the third quarter.
What Was Said
So, how were the Bills able to respond to so much adversity and post their largest comeback victory in 11 years?
Bills HC Sean McDermott believes it came down to execution.
“I just think we were more disciplined, more assignment sound… there’s probably no magic to it, just guys executed and we just settled in probably a little bit more.”Sean McDermott on Buffalo’s gameday execution
WR Stefon Diggs echoed those statements, saying that it came down to details.
“The details were what was messing us up. We had some miscues on offense [which] put our defense in a bad spot. But when we get back to being us and playing football, that’s when things start going our way.”Stefon Diggs on the team’s performance
Some of those details that the Bills were missing were also on defense. LB Matt Milano said that, after seeing what the Ravens offense was trying to do a few times, they realized what they had to do to come out on top.
“We just settled in a little bit. They did some different stuff we’re not used to seeing, but guys were just making plays… I think that was the biggest thing… we started tackling better and making plays on the ball.”Matt Milano on Buffalo’s defensive adjustments
CB Dane Jackson, who played 99% of the snaps after returning from his scary neck injury just two weeks prior, said he doesn’t really know what was different about the second half but that the Bills know how to fight.
“We all come together and just continue to fight. We never give up. That’s been our big thing. That’s what we pride ourselves on, so just continuing to fight from start to finish.”Dane Jackson on the team’s resilience
Allen encapsulated all of those thoughts.
“We got a lot of heart, a lot of grit in this locker room. Like I said, we play with a lot of love for each other and typically when you have guys that do things the right way, work hard, and care about each other, you’re gonna have success.”Josh Allen on the state of the team
Bills Defensive Standouts
There were so many great performances Sunday, especially on the defensive side of the ball. You could honestly talk about any guy on this defense, whether it’s S Jordan Poyer or DT Prince Emili, because as McDermott said, everyone did their 1/11th. But I am going to limit myself to five players.
Poyer was unbelievable on Sunday, as he continued to bolster his case to get PAID. It was just his third game of the season, but All-Pro Po already has a league-leading four INTs after picking off Lamar Jackson twice, including this insane grab which set the Bills up for victory.
Poyer attributed it to having good vision on the play.
“I was just able to kind of play with some vision and just take advantage of his throw that he made.”Jordan Poyer on his crucial 2nd INT
Buffalo Bills DC Leslie Frazier talked about the importance of Poyer at his Monday afternoon press conference.
“He’s extremely valuable and the fact that we’re missing Micah now has kind of raised his value from a leadership standpoint as well as a playmaking standpoint for us as a defense.”Leslie Frazier on Jordan Poyer’s value
And that value doesn’t just come from the interceptions.
“Po’s just a leader, just a natural born leader. He knows how to rally us all together, get us all together and get us going no matter what the score is, no matter what’s happening on the field… off the field, he does a great job of leading.”Jackson on Poyer’s leadership
Matt Milano & Tremaine Edmunds
Milano and Edmunds have been outstanding this year. The two are asserting themselves as one of the best linebacker duos in the league. Edmunds had nine tackles and two TFLs Sunday, giving him 26 total tackles this season. Meanwhile, Milano tied a career-high with 13 tackles, including many in the open field and one big one on RB J.K. Dobbins on the goal line during the Ravens final possession, setting up Poyer’s interception.
Here is another play that shows how high of a level Milano is playing at right now.
Frazier was really impressed with what he saw from Milano.
“Matt had an outstanding game, he was all over the place.”Frazier on Matt Milano’s performance
He talked about both LBs and attributed their success to all the extra work that they put in behind the scenes, whether it’s after practice, in the film room, or in the weight room.
Poyer talked about the two from a complimentary football standpoint.
“You got guys like that running sideline to sideline, it makes our job on the back end a lot easier.”Poyer on Milano and Edmunds
Kaiir Elam & Taron Johnson
Aside from Greg Rousseau, who has been a monster on the defensive line thus far, I feel as though we are not talking enough about Elam and Johnson. You rarely hear their names, but that’s a good thing, considering they’re corners.
Starting with Johnson — he was matched up with Mark Andrews, a top-tier tight end who had 1,361 receiving yards and nine TDs last year. However, Johnson held him to just 15 yards on TWO catches. He took Andrews, Baltimore’s leading receiver, right out of the game.
As for Elam, he has stepped up big time after not getting the opening day start and with all the injuries in the Buffalo Bills’ secondary. He was only targeted ONCE on Sunday, while not allowing a single reception in 43 coverage snaps. And he’s been doing this right along, as he’s only allowed seven receptions all season.
Frazier has really liked what he’s seen so far from the young corner.
“A lot of guys would have been discouraged to have an injury at the corner position in Tre’Davious’ place and to not maybe get that first start, but to his credit, he handled it the right way.”Frazier on Kaiir Elam’s progress
McDermott shared similar feelings.
“Just super proud of all the guys. We’ve got a couple of young guys like Kaiir out there that [I’m] super proud of the way they’ve battled and learn and taking every week and just trying to improve, and that’s really us as a team. We’ve got to do that every week trying to improve, trying to evolve, make the adjustments we need to make and get ready for another good opponent this week in the Steelers.”McDermott on the rookie CB
And of course, Josh Allen did what Josh Allen does.
While his stats may not be eye-popping (19/36 for 213 yards, TD, INT; 11 carries for 70 rushing yards and a TD), he came up with the big plays when the Bills needed them most.
C Mitch Morse talked about Allen’s ability to always come through in those big moments.
“We don’t take that for granted. Our offense goes the way he goes. It’s a lot of pressure to have on one pair of shoulders, and he carries it with grace and he always executes when we need him most.”Mitch Morse on Josh Allen in clutch situations
I mean, just look at this…
Oh, and this…
Buffalo Bills Injuries
At Monday’s press conference, Sean McDermott confirmed that WR Jamison Crowder broke his ankle and will be likely placed on IR, while WR Isaiah McKenzie is in concussion protocol. As for DT Ed Oliver, DT Jordan Phillips, CB Christian Benford, WR Jake Kumerow, and OL Justin Murray, McDermott lumped them all together and said they are “improving.”
And as for CB Tre White, who is eligible to be activated off the PUP list this week, McDermott said they’re taking it “one day at a time.”
With only two healthy wide receivers right now (Diggs and Khalil Shakir) and a hobbled Gabe Davis, look for the Bills to elevate a WR (maybe two) from the practice squad this week. Tavon Austin, Isaiah Hodgins, and Tanner Gentry are all options. With Crowder and McKenzie both being slot receivers and returners, Austin may be the leading candidate to see some action next Sunday vs. the Steelers.
Bills OC Ken Dorsey said Monday that, the way they practice, every single guy should be prepared to play.
“We do the best we can to make sure… those guys are ready. It’s important to have guys in that role who understand that, at any point in the season, their number could be called because you never know what’s going to happen…”Ken Dorsey on game preparation
As for who might contribute to the Bills offense next Sunday, Dorsey didn’t want to get into specifics because it’s still early in the week, but said he has confidence in every guy on their roster to step up.
“If anybody can’t go, we’ve got a lot of faith in the guys that we have to step in and be able to make plays for us but, at the same time, we just gotta wait and see how the week unfolds before we make any judgements on anything.”Dorsey on the depth of the Buffalo Bills offense
*All quotes come from the postgame and/or Monday afternoon press conferences (via the Buffalo Bills YouTube channel).
Featured Image: Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports