Josh Allen, Bills blast Seahawks in potential statement win

Sal Maiorana
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Never mind beating the now-impotent New England Patriots last week, as sweet and cathartic as that was for the Buffalo Bills.

On a remarkably gorgeous Sunday afternoon at Bills Stadium, the Bills achieved something far greater. They welcomed to town the NFC’s best team in the Seattle Seahawks, led by MVP candidate Russell Wilson, and put on a dazzling show thanks to Josh Allen’s rejuvenated arm and a defense that forced four turnovers.

When it was over – and there were times when it seemed like it would never be over – the Bills owned a 44-34 victory that improved their record to 7-2 and dropped the Seahawks to 6-2.

It’s not too often that the Bills are involved in one of the marquee games on the NFL schedule, but just like they did last season in Dallas and then again in Pittsburgh, they rose to the occasion in a big way.

Their 44 points were the most they’ve scored in the Sean McDermott era, and it came thanks to a passing offense that, with the exception of a notable problem in pass protection, was nearly unstoppable. Allen completed 24 of 28 passes for 282 yards and three TDs in the first half alone.

He finished 31 of 38 for 415 yards, becoming the first Buffalo quarterback since Drew Bledsoe in 2002 to have two 400-yard games in the same season.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) rushes for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

If ever the first play of a game foretold what kind of day we were in for, it was this one as Andre Roberts, rather down the ball in the end zone on the opening kickoff, took it out and raced 60 yards to the Seattle 45 and the track meet was on.

Three Allen passes later and it was 7-0, the score coming just 1:25 into the quarter on a 25-yard crossing route to Isaiah McKenzie. Seattle went three-and-out on its first possession, and the Bills quickly drove 72 yards in 10 plays with Allen finding Tyler Kroft in the back of the end zone for a one-yard touchdown. 

The Seahawks got cooking on their second possession and moved to the Buffalo 5, but here, the Bills defense – which did a lot of bending – came up with its first huge play. They stopped Travis Homer on a third-and-1 play, and when Seattle went for it on fourth down, Jerry Hughes pressured Wilson, then prevented him from taking off and running. He finally had to throw into coverage in the end zone and Jordan Poyer picked it off.

Buffalo then made it 17-0 with a 54-yard drive that ended with Tyler Bass’ 44-yard field goal and you began to wonder if the Bills were going to run away with it because the Seahawks looked completely incapable of stopping them.

And after the Seahawks got on the board with Wilson plunging through the middle on fourth-and-goal to cap a way-too-easy 85-yard drive, the Bills came right back with an incredibly efficient five-play, 75-yard march. They never even got to a second down as Allen completed five straight passes to cover the distance, the last four yards to Gabriel Davis to make it 24-7.

Seattle cut the gap to 24-10 by halftime on a field goal by Jason Myers, and the Bills recouped that with one of their own to start the third as Jerry Hughes strip-sacked Wilson and Tre’Davious White recovered at the 23.

It was a terribly disappointing outcome, though. After a sack and a penalty, the Bills had second-and-27, but Allen threw a great pass to Davis for a 39-yard gain to the 1. However, the Bills failed to challenge that it was a touchdown, which the replay seemed to indicate. And then, they failed to score on three plays and had to settle for Bass 22-yard field goal.

It was 27-10, but that turn of events felt ominous, and it was for a short time. Seattle drove right downfield to a four-yard touchdown run by Deejay Dallas, and after a Bills three-and-out, the Seahawks made it a one-possession game at 27-20 when Myers made a 44-yard field goal with 1:56 left in the third.

Needing a response, the Bills had one, though they also caught a very fortunate break. On a third-and-9 from the Seattle 34, Allen was sacked for what would have been the eighth time in the game, but Jamal Adams was flagged for holding on Cole Beasley and it gave the Bills a first down when it looked like they’d be punting.

From there, John Brown made a huge play on a third-and-16, catching a quick pass and scooting 33 yards to the 2, and Zack Mass would score two plays later to make it 34-20 with 11:20 to play.

White then picked off Wilson and returned it to the 3 and Allen scored on a keeper to push the count to 41-20. It took all of 48 seconds for the Seahawks to answer as Wilson threw a 55-yard touchdown to David Moore, and when the Bills punted on their next possession, again, the nerves began to jangle.

But A.J. Klein strip-sacked Wilson and made the recovery at the Seattle 19 and Bass tacked on a 31-yard field goal.

Still the Seahawks would not wave the white flag and Wilson threw a 7-yard TD pass to Metcalf with 1:51 left to cut the gap to 44-34, but the Bills were able to recover the onside kick and run out the clock.

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