ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) — The Bills did what they had to do against the Panthers. They handled their business and they did it in pretty comfortable fashion.
Let’s be fair. There wasn’t much of a threat from Cam Newton and the guys in blue and black. The Panthers were never really going to have a chance of beating the Bills unless the Bills helped out a lot. Though there were a few dicey moments early, Buffalo never really came close to making this game a game.
The Buffalo secondary offensive pieces continued to impress. Dawson Knox was a factor early. He only finished with four catches, but two moved the chains on third downs. Gabriel Davis made it four TDs in three games with two more against Carolina. He continues to make plays and prove the passing offense doesn’t have to be the Stefon Diggs-Cole Beasley show with Emmanuel Sanders out.
Devin Singletary even helped close the game out with a career high 22 carries. He wasn’t spectacular, but he was more than effective. The Bills have no interest in a bellcow running back, even if Singletary made a fairly compelling argument for letting one guy dominate the backfield.
It was good to see the Bills defensive line make an impact. Three of the four sacks were from the guys up front including two from Efe Obada. We’ve talked all year about how the Bills need to find some sort of pressure from the defensive line. Even though they’ve struggled for most of the season, all will be forgiven if they can come up with three more sacks next Sunday.
Josh Allen looked pretty healthy. I did not think the foot injury limited him at all and he said the same afterward. More than any of the numbers, that might have been the most important part of his game.
Allen was a little loose with the ball. The fumble early could have completely changed the complexion of the game if the Panthers got just a little more favorable bounce. The interception at the end of the first half was the only thing that gave Carolina had any sort of life. It looked like the same type of pick Allen threw against the Jets at MetLife Stadium last month. To employ a beaten to the ground Bills cliche, that’s something he needs to clean up.
Give the Bills credit for managing a massive offensive line Covid mess. Dion Dawkins went on the list at the end of the week and Jon Feliciano joined him just a few hours before game time. The Bills always talk about next man up, but it’s way easier said than done especially at the absolute last minute.
Dawkins and Spencer Brown have both discussed how sneaky difficult it is to switch from one tackle spot to the other. Brown had to do it with a few hours notice and zero practice against a pair of elite edge rushers. That’s an assignment straight from the department of thanks, but no thanks. It looked ugly early, but the Bills figured things out up front more than enough to start scoring points and grab the commanding upper hand.
Buffalo probably played their B-minus game against Carolina and more than got away with it. That ain’t gonna fly next week in Foxboro. This team badly needs to get whole again on the offensive line. There’s no guarantee Dawkins or Feliciano will be back in time for next Sunday. Dawkins would be the preferred of the two to return. That would allow Brown to flip back to his more comfortable right tackle position and return arguably Buffalo’s best offensive lineman in Dawkins.
I’m sure the Bills will take whatever help they can get. The offensive line that played against Carolina is going to be in deep trouble against that dangerous Patriots defense.
Allen said after the Patriots lost that everything was still in front of the Bills. He was right then and he is right again now. Think about all the weird stuff, all the dumb stuff that has clouded this Bills season. The loss to the Jaguars. The litany of close defeats. The questions about physicality, run defense and whether or not this is truly a championship caliber team. That all goes away if the Bills can win one game next Sunday in Foxboro.
Buffalo would end up right back where we left them last January. Likely champions of the AFC East with a playoff run that starts at home.
All they could do against Carolina was give themselves a chance. Mission accomplished.