The Bills knew what kind of game it was going to be.
They knew the weather would make passing difficult. They knew they had to be physical and win in the run game.
They just didn’t.
The Eagles trucked through a blustery afternoon in Orchard Park to the tune of 218 yards rushing, nearly 100 more than the Bills had allowed in a game all season. Philly also scored their last three touchdowns on the ground.
“They came in and handed it to us today,” Jordan Poyer said. “We weren’t able to stop the run. They were able to get some explosive plays.”
“We knew it was going to be kind of a weird game,” Trent Murphy said. “We knew they were going to be in a two point stance, running laterally and stuff. We wanted to not let them dictate how it was going to be played. (We wanted to) get off the ball and attack and I’m not sure all day I felt that attack presence.”
The big blow was Miles Sanders’ 65 yard touchdown run on the second play of the second half. It gave the Eagles a double digit lead that was only briefly relinquished. The Bills said the mistake there was a “fit” error. Micah Hyde called it a communication problem.
There were questions about the Bills’ 5-1 start because the teams they’ve defeated were mostly among the league’s worst.
They allowed a season high 381 total yards last week to the Dolphins and still won. The Bills don’t think a pattern is developing, but it may have been a sign that trouble was brewing.
“Sometimes you have a bad play and a good result,” Murphy said. “When you play a really good team like Philly, it catches up to you.”
“Last week was an ugly win. We understand a win’s a win, but there are things we did poorly,” Hyde said. “We did some ugly things that changed the course of this game and we try to get those things corrected.”
Before the bye, the Bills defense had not allowed a team to score 20 points in a game and they had only allowed consecutive scoring drives in one game.
Both the Dolphins topped 20 points and both scored touchdowns on consecutive drives. The Eagles had TDs on three straight possessions with halftime in the middle.
“Certainly they out-physicaled us,” Jerry Hughes said. “They came in there and imposed their will. We need to figure out a way to review the film, see how we can get better so we don’t let this go on for too much longer.”
“This is probably the loss that feels the worst, just from a defensive perspective (and) the way they gave it to us running the ball and stuff,” Lorenzo Alexander said. “That’s something we have to accept they did and not make excuses and get it corrected.”
Poyer acknowledged that the NFL is built to prevent good defenses from dominating every week. At some point, the Bills were going to allow 30 points because the current state of the game and its rules favor offense.
The good news is the Bills are still 5-2 and have plenty of reason to think this game is an exception and not soon to be the rule.
“Nobody was freaking out after the game. Nobody was panicking,” Hyde said. “We’ll watch the film and move forward.”