The Buffalo Bills defeated the Las Vegas Raiders by a score of 30-23 on Sunday. Buffalo got off to a fast start once again, this time from a 26-yard touchdown pass from Josh Allen to Gabriel Davis. On Raiders opening drive, they answered back with a field goal to get on the scoreboard. The Bills offense continued to score without difficulty, an 11-yard touchdown pass from Josh Allen to Cole Beasley extended the Bills lead to 14-3. The Raiders and Bills traded field goals before Vegas scored a late TD to cut their halftime lead to 17-13.
In the third quarter, the Bills defense tightened up as they only gave up 3 points, seeing the Raiders pull within one. The Bills offense answered right back again, with a one-yard Josh Allen touchdown. Following a Josh Norman forced fumble, the Bills would score again with a one-yard touchdown run from Devin Singletary, making the score 30-16. The Raiders inched back and cut the Bills lead to 30-23, but that is as close as they got after the Bills well-coached hands team would recover an onside kick and prevent the Raiders from getting another chance at a comeback.
Here are my observations from the game:
1. The Bills showed that they can close out games.
After last week’s scare from the Rams, the Bills showed that they do have a sense of urgency, especially on the road. The fast start also helped, but if the Raiders would have jumped on the Bills early, then I think it would have been a different game. The Bills defense, however, showed that when it mattered, they can step up and make a play, helping to close out a game without too much of a scare.
2. The Bills are 4-0 for the first time since 2008.
This year after seeing a 4-0 start, I expected the Bills to contend not just for the AFC East, but for much more than that. When the Bills started 4-0 during the 2008 season, they ended up finishing 7-9 and obviously missed the playoffs. The point being is that this is a different Bills team that has had two playoff runs in three years, and the biggest difference of all…they have a franchise quarterback. This season, if the Bills make the playoffs, chances are they will be hosting a playoff game at Bills Stadium for the first time since it was called Rich Stadium.
3. Josh Allen plays through the pain and comes back even better.
Josh Allen left the game before halftime but technically did not miss an offensive play. With the MVP-caliber quarerback lighting up the league this season, the concern among the fanbase was justified. Personally, I knew he was going to be fine, but I still had some fear creep in watching him walk directly into the locker room. Even with an aching shoulder, Josh Allen threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns.
4. Was releasing Stephen Hauschka a mistake?
I think so! Bass was two for four on field-goal attempts against the Jets. Against the Raiders, he missed an extra point. I see that as a fed flag, but I understand – without OTA’s and a regular training camp this was an unusual offseason for all. Given the unique season, and the fact that he is just a rookie, we should have held on to Hauschka. But we all have different opinions on that…
5. The Bills have a chance to go 5-0 for the first time since 1991.
The last time the Bills were 5-0 was the year I was born. Marv Levy was the head coach, and the Bills had superstar players such as Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith, Darryl Talley, Don Beebe, Steve Tasker, and Andre Reed. Buffalo ended up playing in Super Bowl XXVI that year but unfortunately losing 37-24 to the Washington Football Team (at the time, they were still the Washington Redskins).
We all need to enjoy this win over the Raiders and take it one game at a time, I know I sure am. But the best thing about being 4-0…you have the chance to go 5-0.