ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Bills held a 17-point second half lead at home and somehow let it slip away, losing to the Vikings 33-30 in overtime. The offense and defense had equal opportunities to secure the win and failed.
Here are my 4 observations from the loss to Minnesota:
- Second half struggles – The Bills offense managed just 6 total points in the third and fourth quarters and overtime. Defenses are making adjustments at halftime and Ken Dorsey’s offense doesn’t have answers. The Bills don’t have a second half touchdown since the Chiefs game. They settled for 3 points last week against the Jets, and prior to that, it was 3 points against the Steelers. They had a big lead against Pittsburgh, so it didn’t matter, but the offense has failed to make big plays in the second half of the last two games and the result was two losses.
- Surprisingly solid secondary – You may look at that statement and roll your eyes, but the Bills defensive backs were solid. Justin Jefferson went for nearly 200 yards, but he’s doing that to a lot of defenses. The Bills were without Jordan Poyer, Kaiir Elam, and Tre’Davious White. The backups hung tough. Cam Lewis started at safety for the first time in his career and was very respectable, recording a career-high 8 tackles. Christian Benford was a big reason Jefferson was silent for the first 25 minutes of the second half. Benford had 3 pass defenses and an interception. Damar Hamlin had another strong outing and continues to be tough in run support.
- Red Zone failures – The offense has been abysmal inside the 20 yard line this season. They scored touchdowns on their first two trips inside the Red Zone, but reverted back to what we’ve seen most of the season, going 1-for-their-last-4 with 2 interceptions. This season, the Bills have scored touchdowns on 54% of their red zone trips that ranks 19th in the NFL. They are even worse at home. The Bills are ranked 27th in the NFL, scoring touchdowns on 46% of their trips inside the 20 yard line.
- The bright side – There’s no shame in losing to the 8-1 Vikings (the way they did is another story). At one point last season, the Bills record was 7-6, and they figured it out. Their next two opponents are the 3-6 Browns and the 3-6 Lions. The path to 8-3 should be smooth. After that, it’s a six-game sprint to win the division with four games against AFC East rivals.
Josh Reed is an award-winning journalist who has served as News 4’s Sports Director since 2015. See more of his work here.