Josh Allen did everything in his power to carry the Bills to the finish line on Sunday but he and team couldn’t overcome a 21 points deficit and some spotty officiating. Tom Brady hit Breshad Perriman for a 58-yard touchdown in overtime. It was Brady’s 700th career touchdown pass.
The Bills record falls to 7-6. There are 4 games left in the regular season and the Bills the will have to be nearly perfect down the stretch to make the playoffs.
Here are my 4 observations from Sunday night’s loss:
- Hero ball at it’s best. Josh Allen sometimes gets criticized for trying to make the huge play instead of taking the safe or “smart” play. The Bills need a “hero ball” quarterback if they’re going to compete with the best teams in the NFL. Allen made some risky decisions and was running around with his hair on fire at times and that’s exactly why the Bills were able to rally and nearly beat the defending Super Bowl champs on the road. Allen finished with over 300 yards passing and over 100 yards rushing proving once again that he is a special talent. Allen ended up in walking boot after the game and that’s the risk of playing the way he does but it’s late in the season and there’s a sense of urgency. Josh Allen is the Bills’ fastball.
- Now what? The narrative of this game, this team and this season seemed to change 50 times on Sunday. When the Bills trailed 24-3, I was really wondering if this season was toast and if we would see this Bills team rollover but the second half told a much different story. I don’t like moral victories but here we are. The Bills outplayed the Buccaneers in the second half and despite the loss changed some storylines. Sean McDermott’s squad reminded everyone that when they are clicking on both sides they can play with the top teams in the NFL but consistency is an ongoing issue.
- Stars vs Stripes. I hate when fans say the reason their team lost is because of the refs because … IT’S. NOT. TRUE. The officiating didn’t help the Bills outcome but they weren’t the reason for a 21-point deficit or Perriman getting wide open for the game-winning touchdown. However, too often the refs are missing big calls at crucial times, taking the game out of the hands of the stars. Stefon Diggs was absolutely held in the end zone late in regulation. Levi Wallace was called for a very questionable pass interference on Mike Evans in overtime. The Bills threw the ball over 50 times and somehow the Buccaneers secondary, which isn’t full of all-pros, wasn’t called for one penalty. Every game there are 50-50 calls and the Bills didn’t seem to be on the right side of any. These things are suppose to even themselves out during the season … I guess we’ll see.
- Inside the numbers. Josh Allen became the fourth player in NFL history to pass for over 300 yards and rush for over 100 yards in a single game. Allen attempted a career-high 54 passes. Dawson Knox hauled in his eighth touchdown, extending his single-season record for a Bills tight end. Cole Beasley was targeted 11 times and had 9 receptions for 64 yards, his most productive day since the end of October against Miami. Defensive tackle Harrison Phillips had another productive game: 6 tackles, 1 TFL. It was the Bills first overtime game in the regular season since 2017, when they beat the Colts 13-7.
Josh Reed is an award-winning journalist who has served as News 4’s Sports Director since 2015. See more of his work here.