All week the Buffalo Bills defense was doubted. All week the experts said that Lamar Jackson could not be stopped, but rather just contained to minimal damage. All week the Bills remained confident that they could shut down Lamar Jackson. And did they ever.
By the time the dust settled, the Buffalo Bills defense had played their best game in the Sean McDermott era, leading the team to a 17-3 win in the Divisional round of the AFC Playoffs. Considering the moment, what was at stake, and the quarterback on the other side, the Bills’ defense hand delivered them to the AFC Championship game next Sunday with a performance for the ages.
The 3 points that were surrendered to the Ravens are tied for the fewest that a Sean McDermott defense has given up while in Buffalo. For the Ravens, their 3 points scored were the fewest that Lamar Jackson ever scored as a member of the Ravens. This was the first game that Jackson has been held without a touchdown. The Bills defense held Lamar Jackson to 34 rushing yards, his second lowest output of the season.
While the Bills offense struggled to move the football for most of the night, it became clear that the only way to the AFC Championship game was through their defense. Facing 3rd and goal as the Ravens were threatening to tie the game late in the 3rd quarter, Taron Johnson and his 101 yard pick six put the game out of reach and provided a demoralizing 14-point swing. As of now, that play stands alone as the play of the season for the Bills, one that will be remembered for years to come.
The Bills will continue their magical season next Sunday at 6:40pm. As of now we know the date, we know the time, and we know what is at stake: a trip to the franchise’s fifth Super Bowl, exactly 30 years after their first one. What we do not know is the location and the opponent. If the Browns are able to defeat the Chiefs tomorrow then the AFC Championship game will be in Orchard Park. If the Chiefs knock off the Browns, then the Bills would travel to Arrowhead to play for a spot in the Super Bowl. While we all will be glued to our TV’s tomorrow, take some time to enjoy this one; days like this only come around every 27 years…