Let’s get this right out of the way… the Hail Mary defense still needs lots of work.
Beyond that, the good news is the Bills played their C+ game and still got a win.
The parts of the 2020 Bills that have been so much fun through 10 games were mostly a drag against the Chargers. Stefon Diggs had only 39 yards receiving–his lowest total as a Bill. Josh Allen beat his season low by just three yards. (And that season low came in the game against the Patriots where the weather was downright awful. The opposite of Sunday’s gorgeous-for-late-November Orchard Park setting). Cole Beasley nearly had more yards passing than he did receiving.
The offense had chance after chance to put the begging-to-be-beat Chargers away and they turned it over on three straight possessions. Were it not for the “Dear God, What Is That Thing?” finish Anthony Lynn authored, the Bills 4th quarter offense would have won Sunday’s ugly award. No small feat for this game.
This difference was Buffalo’s plan B options playing like plan A.
The defense continued to attack and continued to have success. There were three more sacks, another 4th down stop and a Tre White interception that (finally!) led to the put away points. A.J. Klein further solidified his role as designated blitzer, adding another sack and a half to a three game run that’s now up to 4.5 sacks. The Bills were the first team since week three that held the Chargers under 20 points.
For the third time in five games, the Bills rushed for more than 100 yards. Devin Singletary and Zack Moss put up 141 yards on just 20 carries. That’s a little over seven yard a pop if you need it.
Even the Bills passing game found some “secondary scoring”. Gabriel Davis started for John Brown and led Buffalo with 79 yards and a touchdown. Sure, the touchdown was a play you or me could have easily made. However, his other two catches were high level, big physical receiver type plays.
The motto for this Bills season was “Find a way”. However, the motto for any Super Bowl team is “find a lot of ways”. Every team in the NFL has one or two things they do well, one or two methods to create a win. The teams that go deep in January don’t rely on that elite quarterback or that great defense. They can win with a variety of ways and a variety of players.
The Bills passing game will be back. Brown will be healthy. We’ve seen over and over how dangerous Sean McDermott’s team can be with their top trio of pass catchers and Allen firing on all cylinders.
Now, imagine that with a running game that averages seven yards a carry or a defense that can consistently make big plays or a fourth receiver who can contribute field flipping catches on any throw.
We’ve seen all three from time to time this season. The defense now has three straight games of at least three sacks and one turnover. That might be the supporting actor with the best chance to put the Bills “show” over the top.
Teams that make noise in the playoff have options. The Bills proved they may be finding some against the Chargers. On a day that wasn’t very easy on the eyes, it’s an A-plus result.