Are we all okay? Because I almost passed out on that Taron Johnson interception. Apparently breathing is not a priority in my mind when the Bills seal a win against the Chiefs. Regardless of my own physical health, the Bills won in spectacular fashion, beating their rival Chiefs 24-20 in Arrowhead Stadium. This was the matchup that couldn’t get more coverage, that couldn’t have more storylines, and couldn’t have been more hyped up. The game itself delivered, but more importantly for Bills fans, it went their way this time.
There is so much to unpack from this game, and we here at Cover 1 will bring you as much information as possible from this incredible victory, but for tonight, we’re going to examine the most inspiring part of the game, the player that raised one particular (if rhetorical) inquiry, a position group that required a better performance, and a situation that remains an irksome area for the Bills to overcome.
Inspire-Defense and Leslie Frazier:
Some people, one might even say the typical reactionaries and jabronis you see on Twitter, said that Leslie Frazier was bad and McDermott is too loyal to him. One of these things is somewhat true; Sean McDermott is very loyal to Leslie Frazier. Why? Because he’s a damn good football coach. Frazier and McDermott were one of the first teams to implement the two-high, low blitz strategy against Mahomes and the Chiefs, and it’s something other teams have copied and adapted in games against the Chiefs.
Today the Bills put it together, keeping Mahomes under control, forcing difficult throws, and more importantly, finishing on plays they have missed in previous games against Mahomes and the Chiefs. Von Miller, in particular, showed exactly why the Bills went out and paid him, finishing with two TFL’s, and two sacks including an incredible effort sack on 3rd and long in the 4th quarter, forcing the Chiefs to punt the ball away.
Then to end the game, firmly and decisively on a Taron Johnson INT could not have capped off this effort any better. Holding the Chiefs to 20 points, and snagging two INTs of Mahomes, on the road in a very packed, loud stadium, in a critical game, takes more than just talent (which the Bills have), it takes incredible coaching (which the Bills also have).
The reactionaries can complain, wretch, moan, and overanalyze every play all they want, but the cold reality is this: this Bills defense is the best in the NFL, and it is largely because of their defensive coordinator, Leslie Frazier.
(Also, the Bills win another close game in 2022. On the road. Against their toughest opponent of the season)
This is not the usual inquiry, where a player or situation leaves us asking questions about what the next step forward is. No, this is a purely rhetorical question that will be answered anyways: how good is Josh Allen?
The Bills’ offense had its struggles, Allen contributing to some of those struggles at times. But when Bills fans watch Patrick Mahomes, they likely feel like he is a man that is borderline unstoppable to defend. That’s how Chiefs fans feel when their team has to play against Josh Allen. But it’s different; Mahomes is precise, a sharpshooter who can curve the bullet as if he’s in the movie Wanted. Allen can make some elite-level throws, but his personality comes through loud and clear when he bulldozes his way through the line for a first down, or when he hurdles yet another Chiefs defender for a first down in a critical situation.
There is simply no player in the world like Josh Allen. He is a 1 of 1, a prototype that was discontinued from production because he cannot be replicated. Quarterbacks don’t hurdle a defender on one play and then throw a dart in the end zone to their tight end (against the same defender, RIP Justin Reid) a few plays later. No quarterback that isn’t Joshua Patrick Allen, who finished 27/40 for 329 passing yards, 3 TDs, and 12 rushing attempts for 32 yards.
Require-Consistent run game:
Zack Moss was deactivated today, leaving Devin Singletary and James Cook as the ones required to tote the rock in a critical matchup. Singletary looked strong early, picking up chunks of yards, and finished with 85 rushing yards on 17 carries.
But the Bills seemed to go away from Singletary, and on the critical game-winning drive, Singletary had two opportunities to pick up the first down before it got to 4th down, and unfortunately could not get it either time. Cook was not out there often and was mostly ineffective when he was. It’s been a theme all season, but if the Bills want to make their games with the Chiefs and other tough opponents easier, they will need to find a way to run the ball more consistently.
The Bills have struggled in short-yardage situations all year, and it continued today as well. Some questionable play calls, and some poor execution on better play calls, led to frustrations in what was already a frustrating area for the Bills to be struggling in. In the end, the Bills managed to do what they needed to do, and maintained their foothold as a top-tier offense, but they absolutely need to continue to work in this area, figure out what works, and what isn’t working, and sooner rather than later.
The Bills will now head into their bye week, sitting at 5-1, atop of the AFC East, and putting the rest of the NFL on notice (again) that this is the best team in the NFL. Sooner or later the Bills will get Tre’Davious White back, adding to an already impressive defense. For now, though, the Bills get some well-earned rest, and Bills fans get to ride this high for a few weeks. The Bills’ next opponent will be the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football at 8:20 EST. Enjoy the win and the week off Bills Mafia.