ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) — Lorenzo Alexander made the point after the Bills knocked off the Bengals that good teams wouldn’t mess around taking that game to the final drive. Those are the teams that separate themselves from the rest of the league.
The Bills aren’t that team — not yet.
The Bengals first first down of the game came at the two minute warning before halftime. A garbage time play got them another before the half and it felt like a miracle they had that many.
Even as the Buffalo offense frittered away a few first half opportunities to bury Cincy — a red zone field goal, a red zone fumble and a two minute drill Josh Allen couldn’t quite finish — the Bills still were in total control.
They had this. Without a doubt.
And then Josh Allen tried to give it away.
The interception he threw in the third quarter is as bad as decision as you can make. Worse yet, it isn’t a brand new development. We saw it in the preseason against the Lions. We saw it in the Blue and Red scrimmage. We saw it last year.
It might be the double-edged sword of this Bills QB, at least for a while. As much as hero ball giveth (the 3rd and 17 dart to John Brown on the run in the first half was a thing of beauty), it just as easily will taketh away.
It nearly lost Buffalo a game they had no business losing. A game that would have had Western New York dining out on “Same Old Bills” all week.
Give Allen credit for finding a way to engineer his second fourth quarter comeback of the young season and saving this thing — and it was no finesse drive.
Dawson Knox broke out the Truck Stick to turn a 20-yard play into 50. Allen rushed for the next 21 yards and had to fight for all of them. The escape from pressure to set up first and goal was particularly grit worthy.
Although Allen’s reliance on scrambling can be a headache, it’s a huge ace to have in the hole.
Before Knox’s 49 yard catch and bulldoze, Allen’s previous nine passes had netted 13 yards and an interception. The Bengals seemed to make an adjustment.
Even if the “prototypical” NFL QB would adjust back through the air, Allen’s ability as an athlete is plenty effective. He can still make plays even while developing as a thrower.
Winning while growing is a good thing, even if it doesn’t look all that pretty. Most good young quarterbacks don’t grow while losing. Even Andy Dalton made the playoffs his first five seasons.
Look, the Bills can’t play this game again next week. Maybe not even most weeks.
But it was enough against the Bengals and enough to reach 3-0.
It’s hard to separate from the league if you aren’t already starting near the top.