ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) — Despite trailing at the half and turning the ball over four times, the Bills were able to grind out a 29-15 win against the Falcons and clinch a playoff spot.
On a snowy day at Highmark Stadium, Josh Allen and Devin Singletary each ran for two touchdowns. Singletary ran for 110 yards on 23 carries while Allen ran for 81 yards on 15 carries.
With the Rams defeating the Ravens, the Bills clinched a spot in the playoffs. They can lock up the AFC East with a win over the Jets next week in Orchard Park.
The fourth playoff berth in five seasons came with little fanfare. That’s what happens when you’re expected to make deep playoff runs.
That success is in no small part due to head coach Sean McDermott, who Dion Dawkins called the spearhead of the team.
“He’s a stone-cold killer in the face but he knows exactly what he’s doing,” said Dawkins. “He knows what to do, he knows how to fuel his players and he knows how to lead the right way.”
“I’m just one piece of it and it says a lot about Terry and Kim [Pegula] and what they give us and the resources they’ve provided for us over the years and the partnership with Brandon [Beane]. And then the coaches doing a phenomenal job, a lot of good players for us through those four or five years now and it’s been a team effort,” said McDermott.
It was not Allen’s finest day through the air, as he tossed three interceptions. He only completed eleven passes of 26 attempts for 120 yards.
“That’s our goal at the start of the year, to give yourself a chance to win the Super Bowl,” said Allen. “You can’t do that unless you make the playoffs. Everything that we want is in front of us. I know a few weeks back, it seemed pretty dull. But we’ve got guys in this locker room that just want to help this team win.”
The Bills held the Falcons in check, as Matt Ryan threw for less than 200 yards, Mike Davis and Cordarelle Patterson combined for 70 yards on the ground, and Kyle Pitts had 69 yards before leaving the game with a hamstring injury.
The game got off to an ominous start for the Bills when Marquez Stevenson fumbled the ball after fielding a punt. The Bills recovered the ball in their own end zone and the Falcons got two points on a safety.
After the Bills’ defense got a stop, the offense went 69 yards on 15 plays as Allen capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run.
On the ensuing drive, Gregory Rousseau sacked Matt Ryan who fumbled, which was recovered by Harrison Phillips. The Bills quickly cashed in on another Allen touchdown run, this time from four yards out. The Bills led 14-2.
After a field goal by the Falcons, the turnover problems started for the Bills. Allen threw the ball into coverage in the red zone and was intercepted.
The Falcons took advantage, with Ryan connecting with Kyle Pitts for 61 yards to get Atlanta into the red zone. Mike Davis capped off the drive for a one-yard touchdown run.
Allen threw a touchdown on his next attempt, this time getting intercepted by Rochester-born A.J. Terrell. The Falcons kicked a field goal just before halftime to give Atlanta a 15-14 lead.
The start of the third quarter was the same story. Allen’s pass was intercepted after getting deflected near the line of scrimmage for his third of the day.
The Falcons couldn’t do anything with it decided to punt on 4th and 17 at Buffalo’s 32-yard line.
Allen and company finally got things rolling on the next drive. They ran the ball ten times on an eleven-play drive that ended with Singletary finding the end zone from six yards out. Allen hit Cole Beasley on a two-point conversion to take the lead 22-15.
After another Atlanta punt, the Bills went 65 yards on 12 plays with Singletary punching in another touchdown. Buffalo led 29-15.
The Falcons got all the way down to the one-yard line when it appeared Ryan ran in for a touchdown, however, he was ruled short. Ryan was called for taunting on the play, which still counted after the touchdown was taken off the board. That pushed them back 15 yards and they turned the ball over on downs.
The Bills were able to run out the rest of the clock for a 29-15 win.
“Job’s not finished,” said Jordan Poyer. “We’ve got an important game next week, Jets coming here with a great opportunity for us to win the AFC East here in front of our fans.”
The Bills will look to turn their wild cart berth into an AFC East title next week with a win over the Jets next week at home at 4:25.