“I’m good,” Allen said. “Clean.”
A 37-3 rout of the Washington Commanders was so clean-cut Sunday that Allen and his teammates in their all white uniforms barely got dirty, despite playing on a muddy field. That didn’t go unnoticed for teammates on defense who forced five turnovers as Buffalo won a second consecutive game since a rough season-opening loss.
“It looks like I didn’t even play today: all-white jersey, not even dirty,” said safety Micah Hyde, who had one of four interceptions of Sam Howell. “The guys up front were just getting after the quarterback. It was just awesome to see.”
The Bills (2-1) have outscored opponents 75-13 since losing at the New York Jets in overtime in Week 1. This would’ve been a shutout if not for the Commanders kicking a 51-yard field goal with 46 seconds left.
Allen threw and ran for a touchdown and never got sacked. He was 20 of 32 with 218 yards passing, including a 35-yard TD pass to Gabe Davis, and added a 10-yard scamper into the end zone among his 46 yards rushing.
“It’s easy to play the game when your defense comes up for you like that and puts you in good situations,” said Allen, who criticized himself for an interception on third-and-20 that effectively functioned as a long punt. “Our offense did what we had to do, but our defense balled out.”
The Bills tormented Howell, sacking him nine times to go with the interceptions by Terrel Bernard, Hyde and Tre’Davious White and A.J. Epenesa — the last being a pick-6 that sent many Commanders fans to the exits. They also forced a fumble, improving to 19-2 since 2019 when facing a quarterback who has made 16 or fewer NFL starts.
It was just the sixth time since the Super Bowl era began in 1966 and first time since 1995 that a defense sacked a QB nine-plus times and picked him off four-plus times.
“Our big thing was just attack, attack, attack, pressure, be physical — make them uncomfortable,” Epenesa said. “That’s our comfort zone. When we’re flying around and we’re playing aggressive like that, that’s just us as an identity and that’s what we’re trying to establish and keep that going throughout the entire season.”
Making his fourth start for the Commanders (2-1), Howell lost for the first time as a pro, with many of the offensive line woes that were masked by wins against Arizona and Denver finally costing them. Howell was 19 of 29 for 170 yards.
“We played about as bad as we can play,” Howell said. “Just got to be better.”
Joey Slye’s field goal in the final minute helped Washington avoid the first shutout of the Ron Rivera era that began in 2020. It also would’ve been the first time a unit run by Eric Bieniemy was shut out since he became Kansas City’s offensive coordinator in 2018.
A 38-10 thrashing of the Raiders was apparently just the start of the defensive dominance for Buffalo. The last time the Bills had five or more turnovers was Oct. 3, 2021 against Houston.
The nine sacks were Buffalo’s most since 10 of Washington’s John Beck on Oct. 30, 2011, in Toronto.
Bernard became the first NFL player with two or more sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery since Chicago Bears Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher in 2007. His pick was the fourth in a row by a Buffalo linebacker this season, a streak Hyde ended in the second quarter with his first interception since Jan. 15, 2022 in the playoffs against New England.
“It’s been fun,” Bernard said. “Just building confidence that I can do it.”
Washington’s defensive line of Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen, Montez Sweat and Chase Young that generated back-to-back victories by forcing turnovers was rendered ineffective. The Commanders did not sack Josh Allen once in 32 passing attempts before he was pulled for backup Kyle Allen when the game got out of hand.
Commanders TE Logan Thomas was inactive a week after being concussed on his TD catch at Denver.
Bills: Host unbeaten Miami next Sunday, fresh off the Dolphins scoring 70 points.
Commanders: Visit the defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl