The Buffalo Bills (12-3) win against the Chicago Bears (3-12) on Christmas Eve was not pretty, but it was a win nonetheless. Not only was this the Bills’ sixth consecutive victory, but the franchise clinched their third straight AFC East division title after defeating the Bears 35 to 13 in Week 16.
While Buffalo struggled during the first two quarters and entered halftime down 10 to 6, the biggest question from fans and analysts was why quarterback Josh Allen wasn’t passing the ball to his No. 1 wide receiver, Stefon Diggs.
SB Nation‘s Bruce Nolan tweeted, “Stefon Diggs having zero targets at the half is something that should never happen ever,” while Cover 1 podcasts host wrote, “The lack of Stefon Diggs targets is baffling.” One fan tweeted, “I’m in favor of Diggs getting in Allen’s face and (politely) telling him to look his way. This is getting out of hand.”
While Diggs saw some action in the second half, catching two receptions for 26 yards, it’s not the kind of performance expected from one of the league’s top QB/WR duos. Several fans questioned if there was maybe a rift between the two players, while one person tweeted, “Allen is playing Stefon Diggs in the fantasy football playoffs today that’s why it has to be.”
The relationship between Allen and Diggs is just fine, according to the superstar quarterback. Allen said during the postgame press conference that the 9-degree, inclement weather at Soldier Field made it difficult to get him the ball, especially with the “winds and gusts.”
“Obviously, I wanna get 14 more involved and that’s something I got to continue to do,” Allen said. “I’m just trying to make the smart play and throw it to the open guy, but it’s not too many times that he’s not open,” Allen said, per New York Upstate‘s Matt Parrino. “So again, just find ways to get him the ball, and get him more involved in our offense. He is the best receiver in the game.”
“We want the ball in his hands,” Allen continued. “It’s no secret, you know, the type of player and person that he is. Whether it’s moving him around – the last thing I want to do is force-feed someone when it’s not there – but being more detailed and scheming him up, whether it’s at (the) one, two, or three, motioning him, getting off coverage. There are so many different ways that you can do that and obviously, I’ll talk to Dorse and figure out how we can best do that moving forward.”
With the windy conditions and freezing temperatures, the Bills’ run game successfully took over on offense as no receiver had more than three receptions. Running back James Cook (11 carries for a career-high 99 yards) scored a 27-yard rushing touchdown, Devin Singletary (led the team with 12 carries for 106 yards) ran it in with a 33-yard score, and Allen ran the ball into the endzone with a four-yard rush.
Both Allen & Diggs Broke NFL Records in Week 16
While this wasn’t a marquee game for either Diggs or Allen, putting up 35 points against the Bears in the coldest road game they’ve ever played was no small feat. While Allen had two interceptions against Chicago, he threw for 172 yards and two touchdowns, which was enough to surpass Dan Marino’s record for the most total touchdowns in a player’s first five seasons.
As for Diggs, who caught his 100th pass of the season during the opening drive of the third quarter, he became the sixth player to ever record at least 100 catches and 1,200 receiving yards in three-or-more consecutive seasons, according to Bills PR. The two-time Pro Bowler also became the first player to ever accomplish the feat in each of his first three seasons with a team.
Allen Is Looking Forward to ‘Quality Time’ With His Teammates in Chicago on Christmas Eve
While the weather in Chicago was frightful, the weather in Buffalo is an absolute nightmare, so much so that the Bills can’t go home. Just before kickoff of December 24, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted, “Buffalo’s airport is now scheduled to be closed until 11 am Monday, and so the Bills will have to work through their travel options to home from Chicago during and after today’s game vs. the Bears.”
After the game, NFL Network‘s Stacey Dales tweeted, “With Buffalo’s airport currently closed through Monday due to inclement weather, the Buffalo Bills will spend Christmas Eve overnight in Chicago. Per source, the plan as of now is to fly into a nearby airport at some point tomorrow morning, then bus back to Buffalo.”
With the division clinched, the Bills didn’t mind spending an extra night in the Windy City. “Allen says they wish they could get home tonight but the team is going to spend some quality time together tonight,” Bills reporter Maddy Glab tweeted. And based on the celebratory photos shared from the vistor’s locker room at Soldier Field, it seems the Bills will be partying extra hard in Chicago on Saturday night.
Tight end Dawson Knox said after the game, “No one knows anything about Chicago nightlife or anything on Christmas Eve,” per The Buffalo News reporter Katherine Fitzgerald. “I’m sure we’ll find something team-building, team-chemistry-wise. Thankfully, no curfew tonight.”