What a week this was!
The Bills are reeling from two straight losses and turnovers and blown leads, and they catch a break with the 3-6 Cleveland Browns coming to raucous Highmark Stadium.
But this is western New York, and we all know anything can happen once we get into November. And happen it did, with 77” or more snow dumping it’s Lake Effect on Orchard Park, and by Friday the game was shifted to Detroit.
A quick aside to those of you who now say “See, if we had a dome we’d have played here”. Not true. It was FAR too dangerous to even try to get to the stadium. We move on.
Almost lost in the world wide coverage of Buffalo’s latest snow storm, is the fact the Bills came into this game reeling from two straight losses, with both directly attributable to Josh Allen interceptions or an end zone fumble. Allen wasn’t solely responsible of course, as he was getting little run support and felt like he had to do it all.
In the Bills 31-23 win over the Browns in Ford Field, Allen showed a lot of doubters that he is still a winner who can adapt when it matters. This wasn’t a big game for Allen statistically, as he hit 18-27 for 197 yards and a touchdown, adding only 7 yards rushing on 3 carries. But it worked, because Allen didn’t try to do it all himself, and had NO turnovers. He was careful, but still made some Allen-like throws downfield on target, with Gabe Davis and tight end Dawson Knox contributing key catches. Stefon Diggs didn’t get a look until the 2qtr, but bounced back after a hug and quiet pep talk from Coach Sean McDermott.
Allen also received the best run support he’s had all season, as both Devin Singletary and rookie James Cook rushed for 86 yards apiece. Singletary scored a TD and Cook averaged 7.8 yards per carry.
Did the snow storm and change of plans have an effect on the Bills? No question.
They kicked off and watched backup qb Jacoby Brissett drive the Browns on a 6 minute drive resulting in a TD. Brissett passed for over 300 yards with 3 TD’s, and he was sharp early.
This was bad.
At one point in the 2qtr, the Browns led 10-3 and had the ball at midfield. At the moment they were outgaining the Bills 180-12 in yardage. The Bills could do better than that in six feet of snow.
But praise Bills Mafia. Brissett fumbled a center exchange and Matt Milano, who else, recovered. The game changed dramatically after that. Even with the absence of some Bills defenders like Greg Rousseau and Tremaine Edmunds, the Bills D was stout when it mattered. Amazingly, predictions the Bills would have trouble stopping freight train Nick Chubb didn’t happen. Chubb finished with 19 yards on 14 carries, a 1.4 yard average.
Back to the drive.
Allen led the Bills to one of six field goals from Tyler Bass, and then directed a beautiful end of the half drive some 78 yards on 11 plays, capped by a 5 yard bullet to Diggs for the TD. The Bills led 13-10 at the half, but unlike the last two games, they increased the lead in the second half.
One worrisome aspect of Allen’s much publicized elbow injury, is that everybody knows it. In the 2nd qtr, Browns LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah clearly, on a replay, whacked Allen’s right elbow as both were going out of bounds on an Allen scramble. Not only was there no flag, but even the announcers, including former Bills Hall of Fame James Lofton, didn’t mention it.
The Bills don’t have long to enjoy this one, as they flew right back to Buffalo for a couple days before turning right around to fly back to Detroit to face the Lions on Thanksgiving Day.
Right now next week looks like sunny and in the 40’s, so flying to Detroit shouldn’t be a biggie, especially since we already know the forecast for Ford Field.
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