NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WROC) — It wasn’t just Duke Williams.
Sure, he caught the game winning TD and his story involves the most twists and turns, but Williams was hardly the only castoff who helped the Bills beat Tennessee.
The right side of the offensive line for the end of the game was a Spencer Long (released by Washington and the Jets the last two years) and Ryan Bates (an undrafted rookie who raised a few eyebrows because the Bills traded for him).
They were paving the way for 36 Year Old Frank Gore (“36 Year Old” seems a part of his first name these days) and T.J. Yeldon who, apparently, had exhausted all his chances with Jacksonville.
All they did was pave the way for a 50 yard, four first down drive that buried the final nail in the Titans.
Jordan Phillips was released in disgrace by the Dolphins almost one year to the day. All he did was put together a hat trick of Marcus Mariota sacks.
Seventh round rookie Darryl Johnson had a sack. Special teams journeyman Marcus Alexander was pressed into service at linebacker. The Bills D still allowed only seven points.
I didn’t think this Bills team would be a playoff squad because they didn’t have enough world beating talent at the top of the roster. What Brandon Beane has done is put his team in excellent shape to control the wild card race because the 10th through 53rd best guys on his roster are almost always better than the group on the other sideline.
This is why you sign 18 free agents in the offseason. Why you make sure there is NFL-caliber talent top to bottom. As the Bills proved on Sunday, they’re all going to matter at some point.
If you want to go all jaundice eye with this win, there’s certainly space for it.
Josh Allen made the big mistake. Again. And gave the other team a lifeline. Again.
Bills opponents have now missed six of eight field goal attempts this year and two of eight PATs. That’s an insane 50 percent success rate in a league where everybody but the Jets makes at least two of three kicks (the Jets have only tried six kicks).
The trend came to a head Sunday with Cairo Santos’ three field goal misses and, perhaps, the worst game management decision in the history of football which resulted in a fourth.
Add in a scrambling TD throw by Marcus Mariota that was negated because he was an inch across the line of scrimmage and that’s 16 points the Titans left on the floor while the Bills were standing around watching.
Yep, the Bills have been lucky, but they’ve been good, too. They’re now 4-1 with four games left against winless teams (Jets, Washington, Dolphins twice) and two more against 1-4 teams (Denver and Pittsburgh).
The path to ten wins never looked shorter, softer or more wide open.
Sean McDermott’s crew has earned this position. They have the best defense in the league which always keeps the game within reach. Then, they keep finding different ways to make the game winning plays late.
And lots of different guys who can do it.