The Buffalo Bills (4-2) matchup against the New York Giants (1-5) turned out be a nail-biter on Sunday Night Football, a deeply concerning development for the Bills given that they were playing against a team led by a backup quarterback with a depleted offensive line and one of the worst defenses in the league.
Buffalo ultimately pulled off a 14-9 win, but it was ugly. Tensions ran high as the Bills went scoreless throughout the first three quarters, leading to quarterback Josh Allen getting involved in a messy fight in the end zone.
While Allen earned applause from fans and teammates for defending his lineman, Bills head coach Sean McDermott was not thrilled to see their $258 million star put his body in harm’s way. Making matters worse, Allen revealed to reporters after the game that he needed X-rays on his right arm because he had tweaked it in the second quarter.
The 6-foot-5, 237-pounder is obviously stronger than your average quarterback, but McDermott issued a stern warning to Allen during his postgame press conference.
“He knows. He’s gotta be smart,” McDermott said. “But I’ll say this, we’re not backing down either. I don’t want our guys backing down, but 17 in particular needs to be smart. He needs to let everybody else fight the fight for him and he stays in the back.”
Fortunately for the Bills, Allen’s thrusting his throwing arm to push Giants linebacker Bobby Okereke didn’t cause further harm. “Josh had scans, all our normal so far on his shoulder,” McDermott said.
Sean McDermott Didn’t Have an Immediate Answer for the Bills’ Offensive Struggles: ‘I Don’t See Every Play’
Though McDermott credited Allen and the offense for coming up “with two critical scores that we desperately needed” in the second half, he didn’t have an answer for why the Bills have been unable to get things going early in games.
During last week’s 25-20 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in London, Buffalo was forced to punt on their first four possessions. During the first six drives against the Giants, the Bills punted three times, kicker Tyler Bass missed a field goal, wide receiver Gabe Davis fumbled and Allen threw an interception after his pass was deflected by Okereke.
During the first half, Allen completed 8-of-18 passes for 87 yards. He finished the game completing 63.3% of his passes for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a 15-yard dart to tight end Quinton Morris.
“You’re not going to like the answer,” McDermott said. “My head is sometimes down now being [that I’m] working with the defense. I’m not seeing every play. But at the end of the day, you got to find a rhythm, you gotta establish a line of scrimmage and get our quarterback in a good rhythm.
While McDermott’s defense has done an impressive job recalibrating after losing starters Tre’Davious White, Matt Milano and DaQuan Jones — the Bills kept the Giants from scoring even one touchdown — he’s aware the offense needs some attention.
“We gotta go look hard at it because it’s been a couple of weeks in a row that we’ve gotten off to a slow start. We’re better than that and we gotta work on that,” McDermott said.
“Sometimes you’ve got to find a way. You don’t have your ‘A’ game, and you gotta figure it out,” McDermott noted. “I thought our offense did a little bit of that in the second half, and it was good to see.”
Bills Face the New England Patriots in Week 7
The Bills offense will look to get back on track before their AFC East showdown against the New England Patriots (1-5). While there’s understandable concern over Allen’s consistency and offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey’s play calling, it’s not comparable to the Patriots’ disastrous situation under quarterback Mac Jones.
Democrat & Chronicle called the Patriots’ offense a “train wreck.” In their past three games, New England has lost by a combined score of 72-3. “Never mind not scoring, the Patriots have struggled merely to reach the opponents’ 20-yard-line this season.”
The Bills enter Week 7 as 9.5-point favorites to defeat the Patriots.