“So you’re saying there’s a chance!?”
-Lloyd Christmas, Dumb & Dumber
Don’t mind my use of a “Christmas” quote; ‘tis the season, afterall. It was a Lloyd & Harry-like effort that aided the Buffalo Bills’ (9-6) chances of making the NFL Playoffs.
Even though his numbers from the game will probably lose you your FFL Semi-Final playoff game, Josh Allen’s crucial efforts helped the Buffalo Bills, narrowly avoid a disappointing defeat in the process. The Bills secured a 24-22 win over a bad Los Angeles Chargers team (5-10); or should I say, “badly coached.” This victory comes at a critical time, as the Bills have been striving to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Facing a Chargers team already down their franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert & head coach (Brandon Staley was fired after letting a poor Las Vegas Raiders team hang +60 points on them in an embarrassing loss; a firing I predicted in Week 3), the Bills were expected to have an easy game. However, with North Dakota State Bison Easton Stick stepping in, the Chargers surprisingly led in the late stages of the fourth quarter.
What ended up being Allen’s final drive saw him make pivotal winning-plays for the Bills, especially his third-and-4 pass to Khalil Shakir, which not only put them well within field goal range, but also helped wind down the clock. Tyler Bass then sealed the game with a 28-second remaining field goal, ensuring the narrow win for the Bills.
The game raised more questions than answers about the Bills’ overall strength, but the win was crucial for maintaining their playoff push and the chance to secure the AFC East title, currently headed by the Miami Dolphins (10-4).
The night was challenging for the Bills, with head coach Sean McDermott feeling the pressure as the Chargers scored. McDermott has been the target of recent rumors surrounding NFL firings. The Chargers initially took the lead after a solid performance by Stick and capitalized on a Bills’ fumble to extend their lead to 10-0.
Allen reinvigorated the Bills with a 57-yard touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis, followed by a touchdown run just before halftime, setting a new NFL record for combined passing and rushing touchdowns in a season.
However, the game remained tense, with Allen throwing an interception early in the second half that led to a Chargers’ field goal. Despite being the favorites, the Bills struggled to secure a comfortable lead, with the Chargers keeping the score close.
The game’s climax saw the Chargers take a 22-21 lead following a Buffalo turnover. In response, the Bills orchestrated a vital drive, culminating in Bass’s game-winning field goal. The Chargers had a final chance, but Ed Oliver thwarted those chances with a late sack.
The Bills’ win was critical, albeit not as smooth as expected. It was a crucial moment that saved them from a potentially damaging loss and kept their playoff ambitions on track. Still, questions remain about the strength of this club compared to years past.
How far into the playoffs will the Bills go?
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