Week in and week out, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen continues to raise the bar for what his team can do this season and he did it once again Sunday night.
Despite a slow start, Allen led the Bills to a 26-15 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football in Orchard Park.
The Bills found their rhythm towards the end of the first half and carried it over into the second as they scored 23 unanswered points, with two touchdowns coming in the first eight minutes of the second half.
Allen completed 24 of his 43 pass attempts for 238 yards and two touchdowns while only being sacked once. He also opened the second half with a streak of eight straight passes without an incompletion for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
With his second touchdown pass of the evening, a 13-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Gabe Davis, Allen scored his 35th total touchdown this season. He surpassed Jim Kelly’s former single-season franchise record of 34, which he set in 1991.
The former Wyoming quarterback was aided by the play of wide receiver Stefon Diggs who had 10 receptions for 130 yards and one touchdown. He scored his lone touchdown of the game with 10 minutes, 23 seconds left in the third quarter when Allen hit him for a 19-yard pass that put the offense into the end zone for the first time of the night.
With his 10 receptions on Sunday night, Diggs set a few records of his own. His 130-yard performance brings his season total to 1,167 yards, which is the highest-season total of his career with three games left in the regular season. He also tallied his 100th catch of the season on Sunday, which tied Eric Moulds’ franchise record he set in 2002.
Diggs could surpass that record next week, but on Sunday, when the Bills got going, Diggs was leading the charge.
“He just wants to win, he wants the ball in his hands and he’s a competitor,” Josh Allen said during his post-game interview on Sunday Night Football. “The ultimate goal for him is winning football games and I appreciate him and what he does for our football team. He does everything. He gets open, catches the ball, makes plays after the catch, just an all-around great team guy. You’ve seen him on the field, he can’t be stopped.”
With the win, the Bills are 10-3 for the first time since 1991 and have the opportunity to win their first AFC East title since 1995.
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The Momentum Changer
With less than a minute to go in the first half, nickel cornerback Taron Johnson jumped a route that was intended for JuJu Smith-Schuster. Johnson returned the interception 51 yards for a touchdown to put the Bills up 9-7 after a missed extra-point attempt going into halftime.
It was the first time the Bills defense has scored a touchdown since Jordan Poyer picked off Tom Brady in 2017 and returned it for a touchdown. Not only was it a solid play by the Bills, it was also a momentum changer according to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.
“There was a no question,” Tomlin said in his post-game video conference. “We made a few plays in the first half defensively, they made few plays that were more significant than ours. That pick-six was the significant play, so you have to give them credit.”
Johnson suffered a concussion later in the game and wasn’t able to return, but he still finished the game with seven total tackles and one pass deflection.
The defense was cooking throughout the second half though as well as Levi Wallace also picked off Ben Roethlisberger with 7:17 left in the fourth quarter and the Bills ate up the rest of the clock with a 13 play, 52-yard drive to seal it.
All Eyes Turn to Cleveland
Buffalo can clinch their second straight playoff appearance tomorrow night with a Baltimore Ravens loss.
Along with beating the Steelers, the Bills needed help from the Los Angeles Rams, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Browns can finish it off with a win over Baltimore Monday night. Cleveland has currently won four games in a row, but they opened the year with a 38-6 loss against the Ravens in Baltimore.
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