Bills bounce Ravens, reach first AFC title game in 27 seasons

Originally posted on Sportsnaut | By Matt Fitzgerald | Last updated 1/16/21

The first leg of the 2021 AFC divisional round was a gritty, throwback game determined largely by the mettle of defenses, as the Buffalo Bills emerged with a 17-3 home victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday evening in Western New York.

Usually, in a high-scoring affair, winners and losers can be determined rather easily. However, In increasingly rare cases such as these when there were so few splash plays made in any of the three phases of the game, it’s more difficult to find the positives.

In any event, we’ll give you the winners and losers from this Bills-Ravens slugfest.

Winner: Josh Allen, quarterback, Buffalo Bills

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The winning signal-caller lands here almost by default, and Bills wideout Stefon Diggs deserves an honorable mention thanks to his knack for getting open.

It’s an unavoidable narrative, however: Allen was the third QB selected in the 2018 NFL Draft, going seventh overall to Buffalo, while Jackson had to wait until the final pick of the first round (No. 32) to hear his name called after Baltimore traded up to get him. Talk about a sick walk-off move for Ozzie Newsome, netting an eventual second-year league MVP with his final first-round selection.

Anyway, Allen and Jackson have emerged as the most promising field generals from that class, along with top pick Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns. All of them were alive entering the AFC divisional round — how exciting!

But only one man could win Saturday in Buffalo, and it was Allen. There was clearly more trust in the Bills’ rising superstar, who isn’t quite the dual threat as a runner that Jackson is — who is? — but is the superior passer.

For better or worse, the Bills put the ball in Allen’s hands and told him to will them to the AFC Championship Game against a defense that boasts a pressure-heavy front and excellent back end headlined by cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey. Allen came through, finding Diggs for eight catches, 106 yards and a score. Allen ultimately delivered, finishing with 23 completions on 37 attempts for 206 yards and the touchdown to Diggs amid blustery conditions.

Loser: Justin Tucker, kicker, Baltimore Ravens

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Two bricked field goals off the uprights. It was truly shocking to see Tucker do such a thing, considering he’s quite literally the most accurate kicker in league history at better than 90%.

Josh Allen sets Bills franchise record for most passing yards in a season

By Erin Walsh | Last updated 1/3/21

Josh Allen is in the midst of his best season in a Buffalo Bills uniform, and he set another record on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. 

The 24-year-old set a Bills franchise record with a six-yard pass to Devin Singletary, surpassing Drew Bledsoe for most passing yards in a single season.

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Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick tests positive for COVID-19, out vs. Bills

By Zac Wassink | Last updated 12/31/20

The Miami Dolphins will be without some magic for the regular-season finale against the Buffalo Bills, a game that could become a must-win for Miami. 

NFL Network and ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe confirmed on Thursday that veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t be available through the weekend. Rookie Tua Tagovailoa, who was benched in favor of Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter of last Saturday’s win over the Las Vegas Raiders, will get the start at Buffalo. 

That was the second time this season head coach Brian Flores sat his first-year pro to insert a little “FitzMagic” into his offense during a contest. The decision worked to Flores’ benefit in Week 16. Fitzpatrick guided the Dolphins on a dramatic last-minute drive that culminated in a game-winning field goal to improve Miami to 10-5 overall. 

Fitzpatrick posted a 4-3 record as a starter this season and threw for 2,091 yards with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions overall. 

Jake Rudock, who has attempted five passes in meaningful NFL games during his career, was signed to Miami’s 53-man roster on Thursday and will serve as Tagovailoa’s backup for Miami’s biggest matchup of the campaign. 

The Dolphins can’t expect Buffalo to merely go through the motions on the first Sunday of the new year. The Bills may need to win to secure the No. 2 seed in the AFC postseason bracket. Miami can still make the playoffs with a loss, however, if one of the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns or Indianapolis Colts suffers a Week 17 defeat. 

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NFL world reacts to Bills winning AFC East for first time since 1995

Originally posted on Sportsnaut | By Matt Johnson | Last updated 12/19/20

The Buffalo Bills came into 2020 believing this year could be special. It all came to fruition in NFL Week 15, with the Bills’ victory on “Saturday Night Football” returning them to supremacy in the AFC East.

For nearly two decades, the New England Patriots have dominated this division. When Tom Brady departed in free agency, however, the divisional crown was finally up for grabs. After 11 consecutive AFC East titles, with 17 divisional banners in the 21st century, a new king sits atop the AFC East.

On Saturday, the Bills took the field with a shot at snapping their infamous streak. All Buffalo needed was a victory over the Denver Broncos to secure the AFC East. With Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs leading the way, this team came through once again in 2020.

It’s been 25 years since the Buffalo Bills last won the AFC East. While they have made the NFL playoffs twice in the last three seasons, those came as a wild-card team. This time around, Buffalo finally gets to hang the banner.

In that 1995 season, the Bills were led by head coach Mark Levy and walked away with the AFC East crown thanks to a 10-6 record. Jim Kelly was in the penultimate season of his Hall of Fame career, posting a 22-13 TD-INT ratio and going 10-5 as the starter.

After winning the division in 1995, Buffalo placed second in 1996 behind a 10-6 record. The club would post two more double-digit-win seasons (1998, ’99) before sliding into more than 15 seasons of futility in the cellar. Finally, that long 25-year stretch is over.

As the final seconds ticked away on Saturday night and Buffalo celebrated, the football world exploded with reactions to the Bills winning the AFC East.

To continue reading the full article, click HERE.

Bills defense got ‘some extra fire’ after seeing JuJu Smith-Schuster dance on logo

By Erin Walsh | Last updated 12/14/20

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has a rather disrespectful pregame warmup routine. On Sunday night, the Buffalo Bills didn’t take too kindly to it. 

Smith-Schuster has a large presence on social media, especially on the video-sharing app “TikTok.” Before every Steelers away game, the 24-year-old dances on the opposing team’s logo. This time, the Bills watched on as their Buffalo became a victim of Smith-Schuster’s antics. 

Bills safety Jordan Poyer and the rest of the Buffalo defense weren’t too happy about Smith-Schuster’s pregame show. After the Bills won 26-15, Poyer admitted seeing the Steelers star dance on the team’s logo helped motivate the team to hand Pittsburgh its second loss of the season.

“We felt the momentum of the game swing,” Poyer said, via Matt Parrino of “And I ain’t going to lie. Seeing them dancing on our logo pre-game and seeing all that, that turns you up a little bit. It kind of gives you a little second itch to come out and play with some extra fire. We were hyped up on the sideline, we had a big win. And we were just having fun.”

That extra motivation paid off for the Bills defense too, as they recorded two interceptions on Sunday night, one of which was returned for a touchdown. They also limited the Steelers to 224 yards and two touchdowns. 

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Cam Newton: Patriots ‘will turn this thing around’ after loss to Bills

By Erin Walsh | Last updated 11/2/20

The New England Patriots dropped to 2-5 on the season with a 24-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. This is something Bill Belichick’s squad isn’t used to, but with Tom Brady gone, it’s not necessarily surprising. 

Brady’s replacement, Cam Newton, has been less than ideal so far this season. The former Carolina Panthers signal-caller could’ve won the game for the Patriots on Sunday, but fumbled with 31 seconds remaining to seal the deal for Buffalo. 

Speaking on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” on Monday, Newton spoke about how he believes the Patriots will turn things around, beginning next week with the New York Jets. 

To continue reading the full article, click HERE.

Titans-Bills, Bills-Chiefs games moved due to Tennessee COVID-19 outbreak

By Zac Wassink  |  Last updated 10/8/20

The coronavirus outbreak  within the Tennessee Titans that caused the postponement of last weekend’s game between Tennessee and the Pittsburgh Steelers to Oct. 25 continues to affect the league’s schedule. 

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported late Thursday afternoon that Sunday’s game between Tennessee and the Buffalo Bills has been moved to next Tuesday pending results of additional coronavirus testing within the Titans. Additionally, the Oct. 15 matchup involving the Bills and Kansas City Chiefs will be shifted to Oct. 18. 

At least 23 individuals within the Titans have tested positive for the virus during the outbreak, and it’s been reported that players participated in unsanctioned in-person workouts when they were supposed to be isolating to avoid additional spread. Some have pushed for the NFL to force Tennessee to forfeit games until the club can safely field a squad.

Earlier in the week, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell threatened to strip draft picks and potentially force forfeits for teams found guilty of violating the league’s strict health and safety guidelines. 

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Another Titans player tests positive for COVID-19, game vs. Bills in jeopardy

By Blake Harper | Last updated 10/8/20

The Tennesse Titans continue to have an all-time disastrous start to the season, as they have had yet another player test positive for COVID this morning, along with an inconclusive positive test from Wednesday also being confirmed positive, bringing the organization’s total to 23 positive tests, including players and team personnel. At this point, the team’s scheduled game against the Bills is in serious jeopardy, and the idea of the Titans being able to play 16 games feels increasingly unlikely.

This is more bad news for a team that was already reportedly being investigated about whether or not they violated the league’s mandated health and safety protocols after photos emerged of several players gathering for practice after the team had shut down operations due to the initial outbreak. If they are found to be guilty of violating protocol, they could face severe punishment from the league, including fines and/or loss of draft picks.

The NFL is currently trying to figure out how the schedule can possibly work and according to Dianna Russini, there is a tentative plan in place that would be as complicated as you might imagine.

To continue reading the full article, click HERE.

NFL Officiating Source Confirms Bills-Pats Refs Were as Bad as You Thought

Written by Matt Clapp at Bloguin

The New England Patriots kept their hopes for an undefeated season alive with a 20-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Monday night, but the victory was overshadowed by some very questionable officiating calls in the game.

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe was told by an NFL Referees Associating source on Tuesdaythat the Bills-Patriots officiating crew indeed made some crucial mistakes:

A source from the NFL Referees Association, who has officiated dozens of NFL games, reached out Tuesday morning to gripe about the officiating on Mondaynight and explain how the crew botched a few calls. The seven-man officiating crew, led by referee Gene Steratore, made at least three crucial mistakes, according to the source:

  • An inadvertent whistle that negated a potential touchdown by Patriots receiver Danny Amendola.
  • Allowing Patriots running back James White to score a touchdown on a play that should have been whistled dead.
  • And running off the final 2 seconds of the game after Bills receiver Sammy Watkins rolled out of bounds.
  • The refs gave the Patriots credit for a 14-yard gain and tacked on 15 yards for an interference penalty on the Bills sideline.

“Guys are rolling their eyes over that performance,” the source said of his fellow officials. “That was really bad.”

All of the missed calls mentioned by the source were rulings you were also stunned about if you watched the game, so it’s nice to know you weren’t crazy for thinking these were really bad calls.

And not only were they bad rulings, but they were on potential game-changing plays.

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Monday Night Football Preview: Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots

Written by Brendon Donohoe

You may be asking yourself, this isn’t the NFL Sunday recap. Well that’s because holiday traveling is the worst. I will be recapping this past NFL weekend tomorrow. For now, here is a preview of tonight’s MNF match between the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots.

For the Bills, and Rex Ryan in particular, this is the Super Bowl part two. For the New England Patriots, this is potentially a very big bump in the road.

Earlier in the season, the Bills nearly came back to beat the Patriots, after trailing 37-13 in the 4th quarter. The Bills scored 19 unanswered points, but came up just short, losing 40-32. Since then the Patriots have remained unbeaten, and the Bills have gone 4-3.

The Patriots have suffered two huge offensive injuries since the last time these two teams have played. Within the past two weeks, the Patriots have lost starting running back Dion Lewis, and starting wide receiver Julian Edelman. The Patriots motto this season has been “next man up,” but at some point these injuries are going to catch up with this team, and there is a real chance it happens tonight.

The Bills are going to need all hands on deck if they wish to beat the Patriots in Foxboro, and that may not be a possibility. Two of the Bills top defensive backs, Aaron Williams and Kyle Williams, could miss the game, and the last thing you want when you face Tom Brady is to be missing the best players in your secondary. However, the key offensive players, Tyrod Taylor, Karlos Williams, Sammy Watkins, and LeSean McCoy, all appear ready to go tonight. The Bills are 4-1 when those players are active this season. That one lose? September 20th to the New England Patriots.

Tonight’s matchup has all the makings of a trap game for the New England Patriots, but the Patriots are no ordinary team. The best team in football isn’t losing a home game to a team they have beaten 27 out of the past 30 matchups. Unless of course, they choose to sit Brady and Gronk (which isn’t happening).

Buffalo Bills – 24, New England Patriots – 34