photo: Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports
By Nic Gelyon
The Buffalo Bills are setting themselves apart from the pack.
The Bills are now one of only four teams in the NFL that remain undefeated through Week Four. Their style of play — a rare combination of physicality and finesse — is reminiscent of last year’s Super Bowl-winning Kansas City Chiefs.
Sunday afternoon, in the Buffalo’s 30-23 win against the Las Vegas Raiders, Josh Allen threw for 288 yards, with leading receiver Stefon Diggs hauling in 115 of them. Running back Devin Singletary was also a force Sunday, touching the ball 23 times for 76 total yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.
Both teams played well: There were only four punts combined all afternoon- meaning that this was a game that came down to pure skill. And in that department, the Bills delivered.
That’s a tremendous sign if you’re a Bills fan, because this game officially told you that the Bills’ talent is a force to be reckoned with. You’re playing with fire when you play the Bills.
The Raiders also have a solid, young-but-inexperienced core with players like Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller. They also have a veteran spine, in guys like Derek Carr and Jason Witten. But the Bills proved Sunday that as a team trying to win now, they simply have a better foundation.
From the beginning, the game never really seemed in doubt. However, the game was a lot closer than it seemed, both statistically and in the score. The Bills only held a 17-13 lead going into halftime.
But was the game ever in doubt? The answer is no.
It comes down to the fact that this Bills team is maturing. It seems like an obvious statement to make- a Bills team that has been steadily improving for three-to-four years now is finally growing up. But maturation in football is an underrated concept, in ways you might not expect.
Right out of the gate, the Bills went down and scored on a 26-yard pass from Allen to rookie receiver Gabriel Davis. Less than five minutes into the first quarter, on the first drive of the game, Josh Allen passed six times. He made sure he went to weapons he trusted: Diggs, Singletary, Davis. The Bills let the Raiders beat themselves, as a Las Vegas penalty turned a Bills third-and-11 in to a third-and-six just over a minute into the game.
The Bills — Sean McDermott included — have learned how glorious it feels to make this kind of statement early in a game.
That first drive showed growing maturity in not only the Buffalo players, but also in McDermott. He knows that he doesn’t have a team that can afford to wait-and-see early in a game. McDermott practices the mind-game that is football. He knows that the statement his team made left a lasting impression on the Raiders.
McDermott made us all believe that the game was over before it had even started. All at once, Bills Mafia felt a collective trust in the Buffalo Bills. When’s the last time you’ve felt that?
My hot take for the day: these Bills can do what the Chiefs did last year. They can win the Super Bowl.
Two words: Justin Herbert.
Herbert, fresh out of college at Oregon, went toe-to-toe with Tom Brady’s Buccaneers in the Chargers’ 38-31 loss Sunday afternoon. Without much of a rushing attack to speak of, (46 yards for the Chargers compared the Buccaneers’ 115) Herbert managed to go touchdown to touchdown with Brady late in the game as the Chargers blew a 24-7 lead in the second half.
Herbert alone kept the Chargers in that football game.
Now, I’ve admittedly calmed down since Sunday. I’ve come to the realization that Herbert probably looked amazing the way Daniel Jones looked amazing against the Buccaneers last year. Tampa Bay has one of the worst secondaries in football. But he still showed laser accuracy while standing in the pocket. He looked poised in what was only his third NFL start. He had a chance to break records Sunday.
One thing, though, is for sure: Tyrod Taylor is starting QB for the Chargers no more.
We must stop worrying about the Green Bay Packers.
First: for Packers fans angry that they haven’t been to the Super Bowl since 2011- well, the Bills haven’t been to the Super Bowl since 1994. Argument over.
Anyway, the team that went 13-3 and got to the NFC Conference Championship last year did what they were supposed to do against the Atlanta Falcons. They did what three other teams haven’t really been able to do this season.
They took a sledgehammer to one of the worst teams in the NFL. They went into halftime with a 20-3 lead. They won the game 30-16, handing the 0-4 team their largest margin of loss yet Monday night.
The Packers are a real football team. After all, they are 4-0.
Oh, the Falcons. It seems I will never understand the Atlanta Falcons.
Dan Quinn is confused. Dan Quinn is frustrated. These are actual quotes from – guess who – Dan Quinn.
Jeff Schultz, Atlanta sportswriter for The Athletic, tweeted yesterday that “there’s no indication at this time that Falcons coach Dan Quinn is getting fired today”.
Who did get fired yesterday? Bill O’Brien, who led the Texans to the playoffs four times in seven seasons as head coach, reaching the divisional round twice- including just last year, when they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
Quinn has only made the playoffs twice since becoming Falcons head coach in 2015. His record is only 43-40 after 4 additional losses this season.
Quinn is quite literally the last one standing. It’s time for the Falcons to give up on this game.