Josh Allen leads Bills in heart-stopping 35-32 win over Rams (Observations)
Orchard Park, N.Y. — After giving up a 28-3 lead in the second half, Josh Allen led the Bills to a fourth quarter game-winning drive, connecting with tight end Tyler Kroft for his second touchdown of the game with :15 remaining to give Buffalo a 35-32 victory.
The Buffalo Bills defense collapsed in the second half and their offensive line started to break down against the Los Angeles Rams pass rush, led by All Pro Aaron Donald. Donald was a force, sacking Allen two times and recording two of his six tackles for a loss.
Allen was sensational for most of the game, but struggled with the pressure as the Rams started to claw their way back in the second half. Allen threw for 311 yards on 24 of 33 passing (72.7%) with four touchdowns and an interception.
Kroft started in place of Dawson Knox, who suffered a concussion last week and was in the NFL’s concussion protocol all week. Kroft scored just one touchdown in 11 games with the Bills last season, and almost equaled his season total of 6 receptions from a year ago in this game. He caught four passes for 24 yards and the two touchdowns.
Allen led the Bills to five total touchdowns, including a rushing score in the first half.
1. What’s going on with the Bills defense?
After holding the Rams to just three points in the first half, Los Angeles scored 29 points in the second as Jared Goff carved up the Bills' secondary. It didn’t matter who Goff went after, the Bills weren’t getting any pressure and Robert Woods and company were devastating the Buffalo secondary. Goff finished with 309 yards and a pair of touchdowns, one to Cooper Kupp and the other to Robert Woods, who both combined for 169 yards.
After Allen started off 0-for-2 passing on the first drive (ended in a 3-and-out), the Rams couldn’t stop the 23-year-old quarterback. He went on to lead four straight touchdown drives and put the game seemingly out of reach before the midpoint of the third quarter.
Allen hit rookie receiver Gabriel Davis on the second touchdown drive for a 39-yard completion to set up the Bills in Rams' territory. Allen threw it across his body moving to his left, and he completed to Davis, who made a brilliant catch while keeping his feet in bounds. On the next drive Allen connected on another gorgeous deep ball, hitting Cole Beasley down the right sideline for a 29-yard score. Beasley and John Brown crossed up and Beasley beat safety Jordan Fuller, and Allen put the ball perfectly in between two safeties.
Beasley led all Bills receivers with 100 yards receiving on six catches and made arguably the most important play of the game in the fourth quarter. With the Bills backed up on 3rd and 22 after a big sack that backed Buffalo up two plays prior. Allen hung in and delivered a ball over the middle to Beasley, who made the first down to keep the drive going. Beasley said because of the strong running game early he only had a handful of snaps in the first half. Beasley had five of his six receptions in the second half.
Rams tight end Tyler Higbee didn’t have his first catch until the third quarter, and a big reason why was because of the return of Matt Milano. On the first series, as the Rams were driving and picking up chunks of yards to get into Bills territory, Milano stopped them in their tracks. On a 3rd down he sacked Rams quarterback Jared Goff to force a long field goal, which Samuel Sloman missed. On a play later in the half Milano corralled slot receiver Cooper Kupp on a short route and limited him to just a 3-yard gain. Milano’s speed was on display in coverage and it looked like the leg wasn’t giving him any trouble.
When the ball was in Singletary’s hands all afternoon the second-year back made a handful of big plays. None were more impressive than a 34-yard reception where he made a would-be tackler absolutely freeze off a sensation juke move. Singletary is so sudden with his footwork and able to cut on a dime. He had over 5.5 yards per carry for the second week in a row and caught four balls for 50 yards.
After giving up nine catches against the Miami Dolphins last week, Wallace made a big play in the first half, jumping a route and intercepting Goff. Wallace played well in the first half and helped the Bills hold the Rams to just three points through two quarters.
On a day where Stefon Diggs was quiet from a statistical perspective, Davis stepped up and made big plays. He caught four passes for 82 yards and helped fill in for John Brown, who left the game with a calf injury. Diggs mentioned during the week that the Bills were prepared for the times when different guys would have to step up. With Diggs battling elite cornerback Jalen Ramsey all game, Davis did what he needed to do.
“It’s gonna come a time in the games where John Brown gonna have to eat, Cole Beasley gonna have to eat, Gabe Davis gonna have to eat. It’s just gonna have to be that way," Diggs said. "It just shows that we’re all in this thing together. We’re all trying to push everybody forward. Having success isn’t just one guy’s thing. We all have success as one.”
Epenesa looked like a different player this week, making an impact as a pass rusher. That impact came in the first half when he ran down Goff for his first career sack. It was a great read after a Goff play action fake. Epenesa charged hard and was able to make the play. Darryl Johnson was inactive for the first time this season, which immediately meant an uptick in playing time on the way for Epenesa. The rookie, who was inactive in Week 1, must be making strides in practice. He looked engaged, aggressive and active when on the field.
Up next: Buffalo Bills (3-0) at Las Vegas Raiders (2-1), 4:25 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 4, CBS
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