ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) — It wasn’t always pretty, but the Bills finished their season with a 27-10 win over the Jets to clinch their second-straight division title. Leading by one score for a large portion of the game, the Bills got two touchdowns late to seal the AFC East. It’s the first time they’ve won the division at home for the first time since 1995.
The Bills are the 3rd seed in the AFC playoffs and it’ll be round three against their division rivals. They’ll take on the Patriots on Saturday night at 8:15. The game will be televised by CBS and on Channel 8 WROC in Rochester.
Winning the division wasn’t nearly as easy as it was last season, but the team isn’t surprised they had to fight to the final game of the season.
“People get kind of carried away with success from the previous year,” said Josh Allen. “Every year is different, every situation that you’re in is different. It’s not easy to win in this league, it’s not easy to win a division.”
“We hit every phase of adversity. Going into the postseason, we understand that feeling,” said left tackle Dion Dawkins. “From understanding that feeling, it should only help us put the best foot forward.”
“There’s a lot of lessons that you learn throughout the course of a season that you try and use and apply later in the year,” said head coach Sean McDermott. “I think we’ve done that to this point, we’ve got to continue to do that.”
Last year, the Bills won the division on the road in Denver. The team was greeted by a swarm of fans at the airport, but Sunday’s win was the first time since 1995 that the Bills clinched the division title at home.
“This team is Buffalo through and through. I just feel like we’ve failed, we’ve learned our lessons, after those losses we’ve learned,” said safety Mich Hyde. “We got back in the building and we’ve worked. That’s just how we got dialed. We just work hard, we play with a chip on our shoulder, it’s kind of just that blue-collar way.”
“To feel the energy from the crowd and I know that this hasn’t been done here in a long time” said Allen. “So to go out there and do that and be able to experience that with them, that’s something I’ll remember for a while.”
Allen had an up-and-down day, completing 24 of 45 attempts for 239 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 64 yards on the ground. Stefon Diggs was force-fed the ball early and finished the first half with eight receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown. He finished with nine catches for 81 yards and that touchdown. Devin Singletary continued his strong play, with 19 carries for 88 yards and a touchdown. He added two catches for 24 yards and a score.
The Bills quickly moved down the field on their first drive, capping off with a touchdown throw from Allen to Diggs. Allen, in the grasp of a defender, found Diggs in the near corner of the end zone who just barely got two feet in bounds for a highlight-reel catch.
After the Bills forced a three and out, Allen and Diggs nearly connected for a second touchdown, but Diggs was unable to get two feet down on a would-be 23-yard touchdown. The Bills settled for a field goal to make it 10-0.
The Bills would force another three and out and blocked the Jets’ punt, but turned the ball over on the ensuing possession.
Neither team could get anything going on offense until late in the second quarter when Zach Wilson hit Keenan Cole for a 40-yard touchdown on 4th down. That made the score 10-7.
After a three and out for both teams, the Bills had a two-minute drill and got all the way to the Jets’ three yard-line, but had to kick a field goal as time expired in the half for a 13-7 lead.
Matt Haack struggled punting all day long, with three straight punts netting less than 30 yards. But the ugliest one was when he couldn’t field the snap, tried to run around, and eventually punted for seven yards as he was being tackled by a defender.
The Bills’ defense was able to get a stop and force a field goal to keep the lead, 13-10.
The Bills finally got their offense back on track early in the fourth quarter. Allen started off the drive running for 32 yards to get into the red zone. On third and goal from the one, Devin Singletary plunged in for a one-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 20-10.
The BIlls added one last score with less than four minutes remaining as Allen connected with Singletary for a five-yard score.
The Bills and Patriots split the regular season series, with each team winning on the road. The Bills got the most recent matchup, defeating the Pats in Foxborough to pave the way for their division title.