Early on, it looked as if the bad weather was going to play right into the Baltimore Ravens‘ hands. The Buffalo Bills turned the ball over twice in their first three series and got off to an early 20-3 deficit midway through the second quarter. Josh Allen found Isaiah McKenzie with a four-yard touchdown pass with nine seconds left in the half to cut the lead to 20-10. The Bills’ defense put together a great effort, not allowing the Ravens to score a point in the entire second half. Here are some of our top takeaways from the win.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen outshines Lamar Jackson in battle of MVP candidates
The two Vegas front runners for the league MVP would have both enjoyed better conditions on Sunday for sure. But the slippery field did play into their abilities with their legs, as the two combined for 143 rushing yards.
While both looked uncomfortable throwing the ball in this game, Jackson only mustered up 144 passing yards while throwing two interceptions. Allen, on his end, threw for 213 yards, but 51 of those came on the game-winning drive, which ended with Tyler Bass’ 21-yard field goal with no time left on the clock. For one game, where they went head-to-head under the same conditions, it was Allen who emerged as the winner.
Matt Milano leads defense with impressive effort
The Bills defense has dealt with injuries for the entirety of this short season. With key injuries to regulars all around him, linebacker Matt Milano was all over the field, gaining 13 tackles, with two of them being for a loss of yards.
His biggest play of the game came on 2nd-and-goal from the Bills’ one-yard line, as he shot through the gap and tackled running back J.K. Dobbins for a loss of three. Two plays later, Jackson would throw an interception to Jordan Poyer in the endzone for what would be Baltimore’s final possession on the day.
Running woes continue for Bills running backs
Outside of Allen’s 70 yards rushing, the team’s running backs continued to struggle. The fact that they got down big early played into that of course, but it was Singletary’s fumble that helped contribute to that early lead. They gave Zack Moss a few touches, but he was only able to muster six yards on three carries.
One baffling result was rookie back James Cook not receiving a single touch. Knowing McDermott, that had something to do with ball security concerns in the nasty weather, but the lack of Cook in the offensive gameplan continues to be puzzling. While Singletary continues to be an average weapon out of the backfield, this team is missing the explosive playmaker at the position. Getting Cook more involved to see if he can be that guy will be necessary in the coming weeks.
Ravens choke big lead for second time in three weeks
This isn’t your dad’s Ravens defense. Two out of the last three weeks, the Ravens defense has totally collapsed in the second half of games in front of their home crowd. Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins had a historic comeback just two weeks ago at M&T Bank Stadium, and they followed that up with another one today versus the Bills.
While taming Allen and his prolific offense is no easy task, it needs to be said that the Ravens are struggling to get to the quarterback in key situations, and their secondary is below average, to put it nicely.
Defensive confusion leads to exchange between coach John Harbaugh and Marcus Peters
On the final drive, it seemed that the defensive players were confused on whether or not to let Singletary and Allen score on late game rush attempts. Half the team, including Peters, looked to have backed off on the Singletary carry but then was tackled at the three-yard line. Letting him score there with approximately a minute and a half to play, was the only way to give themselves a shot at victory, as they had no timeouts remaining.
The Bills were able to run the clock down to two seconds before calling a timeout to allow kicker Tyler Bass to come out for his first game-winning kick of his career. As Bass was getting set up for his kick, Peters and Harbaugh were shown shouting at each other on the sidelines, most likely over the confusion.
Bills kill “can’t win close games” narrative
Coming into the game, the Bills’ previous 20 wins had come by ten points or more. In contrast, seven of their last eight losses were decided by seven points or fewer. The local media was all over them this week after the Dolphins game, drumming up a conversation on whether or not that narrative is fair. The defensive play, the smart play calling, and the poise and execution of the offense in the fourth quarter, shows that description is not very accurate.