BALTIMORE, Md. (WROC) — We’ve known the Bills can win a whole lot of different ways.
They can win when Josh Allen throws for a gazillion yards. They can win with a defense suffocating the life out an opponent punching above their weight class.
In this game, they took the Ravens way to win and shoved it right down Baltimore’s throat.
The Bills ran it. They ran it with the quarterback. They hit screens. To both running backs and receivers. When the weather got messy in the third quarter, the Bills got rolling. Even though you’d think the Ravens would be the team to thrive in the rain. Grinding out first downs. Controlling the clock. That wasn’t Greg Roman’s team. His offense got shutout in the second half. It was Ken Dorsey’s squad.
This entire team had their head collectively lodged in their backside for the first 25 minutes of the game. There was no side of the ball, no player and no coach who deserves to be excused for how this contest began. To say the Bills showed up flat would be generous because it implies they showed up at all.
Mitch Moore said there was no panic on the sideline. No one was “manic” (good stuff by Morse casually dropping a ‘manic’ in the post game interview). It showed. The Bills really didn’t need to flip a switch in this game. A couple of underrated forced field goals kept Buffalo at least in touch and the end of the half touchdown made it a game at the break.
I thought coaching made a huge difference in the second half. I really liked Dorsey’s second-half gameplan, considering the conditions. He used Josh Allen’s legs wisely. The third quarter 4th and one play call was excellent, even if it only resulted in the field goal try the Bills already had secured. Dorsey went back to something similar on the tying touchdown. It was a far cry from the third and one run to Zach Moss in the first half that I think the entire stadium saw coming from a mile away.
The mix of shorter, safe passes to get playmakers in space was smart without having to reinvent the wheel. The screen to Devin Singletary late sealed the win.
Taron Johnson was highly complimentary of what Leslie Frazier did in the second half. Johnson said the Bills weren’t hiding coverage well early. They were showing a defense and then playing it.
“Coach was telling us we gotta not let them know what we’re in,” Johnson said. “That is what changed the whole game.”
Jackson looked much less comfortable until the final failed fourth-quarter drive. Adjusting has been a hallmark of this Bills defense in 2022. The Miami third-quarter TD last week is the only second-half points Buffalo has allowed in four games.
Give Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmonds huge credit for the way they played in the second half. No one has more responsibility than the linebackers for the incredibly difficult job of trying to tackle Lamar Jackson and his group of talented running backs. Milano, especially, was amazing. His second down tackle at the goal line was probably the play of the game. He led the Bills with 13 tackles. It felt like 1300.
It never hurts to have Jordan Poyer back. Two interceptions in the 4th quarter. His first two-interception game since college. Don’t discount the influence he likely had in keeping Mark Andrews quiet (2 catches, 15 yards). The Bills became only the second team to hold Lamar Jackson scoreless in a second half. The first team was… also the Bills… from the 2020 playoff game.
Buffalo did a nice job jamming the narrative that they can’t win close games into a bag and tossing it in the Chesapeake. It was only a matter of time before things bounced their way in a tight one. I thought they got the better of the borderline calls in Baltimore. A first half deflection confounded Patrick Queen and a second half deflection landed softly in Poyer’s mitts.
They also flawlessly executed the game-clinching drive. No coaching blunders. No Allen one-hoppers to open receivers. It’s one thing to score a game-winning field goal. It’s entirely another to make that field goal so close and so late that not only is said game-winning kick is a yawner for Tyler Bass, it’s a walkoff.
Here’s a scary thought for the NFL. This Bills team can not show up for 25 minutes on the road against the team that very likely might win a division and still pull out a W. They even pulled it off at significantly below full strength. This is a damn impressive victory.
As far as ways to win go, this is one the Bills will not want to repeat. It also likely meant an incredibly satisfying plane ride home.