Bills beating the Patriots are good for the soul (Week 16 recap)

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What a dominant performance from the Buffalo Bills. They needed a win and they delivered in style. The attack played out in a way that hasn’t been seen since before the bye, and I’d say it was even better. The defense made big saves as needed. And best of all? Special teams were only needed twice… for FGs. Absolutely no punt.

Great play. I feel confident enough to say the Bills are back. So what exactly happened?

1) The offensive line finds the rhythm

The Covid and the injuries cast a shadow over this already poor OL. With Ford and Feliciano absent and the uncertainty of Dawkins, it was very easy to get a negative view of how Allen might face what is one of the top ranked defenses in the league.

But OL surprised us all. They easily had their best game of the season. No sacks allowed, only four QB hits and, most importantly, gave him plenty of time to pitch. I have no idea what they ate for breakfast, but they need it in unlimited quantities every week. Or maybe it was Allen’s Christmas present? Who knows. OL still have their concerns, but this match has proven that they can ramp up when needed. This OL can protect the MVP QB well in the playoffs.

2) #ExtendLilSexy

Isaiah McKenzie has been fairly calm for most of this season. He started out hot as a comeback specialist, but then slowly lost that fire and eventually ceded the post to Marquez Stevenson. (A decision no one is complaining about.) His career as WR has been lackluster, mostly contributing to special teams or as a gadget player. With Gabriel Davis and Cole Beasley on the Covid list, his number was called. And it exploded.

11 receptions for 125 yards and a TD (average 11.4 yards per reception). Not only has he set career highs, he’s also had the second-most yards for a Bill this season (Diggs had 162 in Week 10 for the Jets). I started a petition to change her name from Lil Dirty to Lil Sexy. Why? Because he was damn sexy there. Allen was throwing the boulder at all speeds and in strange directions. McKenzie was out of phase. He had YAC at every reception and refused to come down. A reliable option for Allen when his usual receivers weren’t around. I see no reason not to do it again because of Beasley.

It’s lil sexy moment.

3) Joshua Patrick Allen – Undisputed MVP

Over the past few weeks, Allen has shown his frustration with his offense by taking the game into his own hands. He has always proven himself to be the best QB in the league, despite not being selected for the Pro Bowl (a huge snub).

This game however, it was on a whole new level. He’s not only proven that he deserves a Pro Bowl nod, but he should be firmly in the MVP race as well. 30/47, 314 passing yards, 64 rushing yards and three touchdowns. A monster performance. He refused to come down, and when his team called him, he answered damn well. Whether it’s throwing through his body in the middle, or taking the ball for himself and rolling the defense. Either way, he’s my MVP.

4) Safety duo for non-professional bowls

Speaking of Pro Bowl snobs, the NFL’s top safety duo have been running a league-wide clinic for weeks now. They make big physical games when it counts. They can read offenses like a book. More importantly, they keep this defense active.

They scared Belichick and Jones so much that the rookie QB only attempted 13 passes in the first half, finishing 14/32 for 145 yards and no touchdowns. It’s the same QB that people have loved for weeks. Unless he called it the Second Coming of Christ, he received no compliments. One more proof that this safety duo is the real deal and that it should be feared.

5) the aggressive Daboll and McDermott are back

I’ve been very critical of playcall lately. I hated it and felt they hadn’t exploited the strengths of the offense. There was no trust in Allen until they desperately needed it. But everything has changed in this game

The Bills didn’t kick. Let me repeat. No punt. Not one. They got 6/12 in the third downs and 3/4 in the fourth downs. Only one reader ended with a loss of sleeping bags. It was a game of declaration. There was nothing fancy; no flea flicker, no Statue of Liberty, no wildcat. But it was not necessary. It was a homecoming attack with just a little more aggression to tire out that New England defense. And it worked. The Pats’ defense seemed run down throughout the game, allowing 428 total yards and 33 points. Anyway, I want to see him for these last few games.

6) Red zone improvements

An advantage of a better playcall is the improvement in the offensive of the red zone. The Bills haven’t been good inside the 10s all season long, and it has been endlessly frustrating. Watching them walk the field with determination and then score a measly three is no fun for anyone.

This game, they made sure to change that. The Bills had seven red zone attempts, four of which resulted in touchdowns. A massive improvement from the start of the season when they would have limited RZ attempts (three or four) and only made one. I would love to see more of these attempts result in six points, but it’s a step in the right direction. They still have time to improve here. I like it.

7) However, Run D is still a problem

I really had to try and find some issues with this game. And the only glaring problem I could find was that the running defense is still crap. For some reason this defense has some physics issues. They let the infractions literally run through them in all of their games and it becomes a problem because their weakness is fully visible. This game was no different, allowing 149 rushing yards in just 27 attempts. Not great.

It must be said that despite this problem, the offensive did its job and scored points. It kept their defense off the pitch and took up valuable time on the board. It really stifled the Patriots offense and helped the defense tremendously. A perfectly balanced game, and a fine example of complementary football. This is what I want to see more of going forward. Opposing offenses can run whatever they want, as long as the Bills O keep a win out of reach by scoring the points first and stacking them.

Final

It was an absolute victory for the Bills. My heart was racing until the last minutes of the fourth quarter. But it was worth it. They’ve reclaimed the division’s top spot once again and, as long as they continue on that winning streak, then home court advantage and a playoff berth are within their grasp.

Go the bills!

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