Few gave the Bills much of the skin after their loss to the Patriots earlier this month. The revenge savored yesterday thanks to a 33-21 victory brings them back to first place thanks to the brilliance of their quarterback Josh Allen.
• Read also: The Bills join the Patriots at the top
On December 6, the Patriots made quite a stir, winning 14-10, attempting just three assists throughout the game in high winds in Buffalo.
In more normal climatic conditions in Foxborough, the Bills showed that those who had delivered their funeral oration had royally gone astray. Allen played at the height of his talent, collecting 314 yards through the air with three touchdown passes. He has also become, according to ESPN Stats & Info, the only quarterback with Peyton Manning to have two games of three touchdowns at Foxborough since 2000.
Allen was once again the only one who lifted the rushing game with 64 yards. When the conductor is on fire, the Bills play brilliant music and can beat any team.
The Bills pivot was at his best when the Patriots came back in the fourth quarter and closed the lead to 26-21.
There are many young quarterbacks
back that would have frozen in such a moment against the band of Bill Belichick.
Instead, Allen was in total control, orchestrating the fatal 13-play-for-75-yard streak that ended in a two-yard touchdown pass to Dawson Knox.
Previously, he was sublime improvising in his sleeve to join Stefon Diggs and convert a third critical essay. He was even smoother on a fourth down conversion a few games earlier, where he took down Jamie Collins and JC Jackson to pick up the first game himself. From the big Allen! And all behind a crippled offensive line.
It must also be said that the aggressiveness of head coach Sean McDermott paid off, as the Bills converted three out of four fourth down attempts. In a large-scale duel, he thus demonstrated to his team all his confidence.
The Bills could be all the more dangerous in the weeks to come if they continue to give a bigger role to receiver Isaiah McKenzie (11 receptions, 125 yards, one touchdown).
Never before had he seen so much action. His effort was made necessary because Cole Beasley missed the meeting due to COVID-19. McKenzie is so explosive he deserves to play more.
Change of direction
With two games to go, against the Falcons and the Jets, the Bills now have a serious option for the division title for a second straight year.
The Patriots, who looked invincible during their seven-game winning streak, have now dropped their last two games. Mac Jones (14 for 32, 145 yards, two interceptions) had his first painful moments.
It’s the inevitable hard-learning of a rookie quarterback who comes at the wrong time. It must be said that it is not helped by a group of receivers less worse than last year, but still not solid.
In the Belichick era, this was only the fourth time the Patriots had entered a game in December or January in which the winner took control of the division. For the first time, the Patriots lost in this context.
This shows how huge this victory for the Bills is.
What an offensive performance from the Bengals! The Bengals are approaching a first division title since 2015. They have swept the Ravens and Steelers this season.
The Buccaneers secured their playoff spot by claiming their first division title since 2007. The defense has given up just 15 points in two weeks.
Their victory over the Vikings ensured the Rams a playoff presence. It was nothing elegant, however, with three interceptions from Matthew Stafford. Still, it’s a fourth playoff appearance in five years under Sean McVay.
The unequivocal victory, combined with the loss of the Chargers, secured the Chiefs a sixth straight divisional championship. This team has regained its offensive vigor, while the defense continues to dominate.
Why the Jets? For their victory against the sorry Jaguars? No, but because with another loss for the Seahawks, the first-round pick they got in return from Jamal Adams continues to gain value. It would currently be the seventh pick.
The Chargers shot themselves dangerously in the foot by laying an egg against the Texans. They played negligent football with three turnovers. Suddenly, a place in the playoffs becomes very uncertain.
The Panthers head coach continues to persist with his system of alternating quarterbacks. Both Sam Darnold and Cam Newton didn’t get the job done, but it’s hard to find your rhythm in this absurd game of musical chair.
The Jaguars running back tore his Achilles tendon early in the duel with the Jets. His season is obviously over, but at such an advanced stage in the campaign, it’s highly likely that even his 2022 season will be in jeopardy.
It smacks of the end for the Mauves, after a hard setback against the Rams. The attack was not up to par, despite three turnovers caused by the defense.
The Broncos have amassed just 158 yards against the Raiders. Quarterback Drew Lock missed another chance to show the organization could have faith in him.
5 games of the week
1. Quite a trio!
The Bengals are becoming a dangerous offensive machine. Quarterback Joe Burrow ended the game against the Ravens with 525 yards and four touchdowns. This is the fourth highest total yardage in history. Tee Higgins caught 12 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns. Ja’Marr Chase had seven receptions for 125 yards. All three are under 25 years old. This promises explosions for many years to come.
2. Run, Zach, run!
A game in the duel of the shallows between Jets and Jaguars proved to be significant. Jets quarterback Zach Wilson surprised everyone with a touchdown on a 52-yard long rush. It was the longest touchdown for a quarterback since 2015 and a franchise record for the Jets. As spectacular as the game was, it demonstrated the incredible ineptitude of the Jaguars on defense. The pursuit effort was deplorable. This team deserves to be demoted to another division. Or another galaxy …
3. Fatal return
In the duel between Vikings and Rams, the Mauves seemed to come back in the game in the third quarter. Approaching three points behind Los Angeles after another Matthew Stafford interception, however, they had their legs sawn off. Brandon Powell caught their punt and then galloped 61 yards for the touchdown. It was only a second touchdown this season in the NFL on a punt return and the game gave wings to the Rams, whose offense was stagnant.
4. Beautiful moment
Earlier this season, Eagles tackle Lane Johnson missed three games because he suffered from anxiety disorders. He’s since been back, playing at a high level in the shadows, but he lived his moment in the spotlight yesterday against the Giants. In his one-sided victory, he caught a five-yard pass from Jalen Hurts for a surprise touchdown. A great moment for the star player who became the first Eagles tackle to register a touchdown in 11 years.
5. Poor Lions …
Once again, the Lions fought with the energy of desperation and deserved better against the Falcons. Deprived of their quarterback Jared Goff, it was with Tim Boyle that they went into battle. The latter did not do badly under the circumstances (24 for 34, 187 yards). Except with the chance to win the game with 33 seconds remaining, at the Falcons’ 9-line, Boyle saw his pass intercepted by linebacker Foyesade Oluokun. Another heartbreaking loss for the Lions!