Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills have dispelled any doubt about who will now rule over the AFC East. Josh Allen set a record for the team’s playoffs by throwing five touchdowns which included two for Dawson Knox, and Devin Singletary ran for two touchdowns in the opening half of a 47-17 victory over the rivals from the division New England Patriots in their wildcard playoff game on Saturday night.
Allen ended up finishing 21-25 for 308 yards in an event that saw Buffalo scored on all of their seven possessions that did not end with an incline. In addition to his five touchdowns Allen ran to 66 yards.
After losing 35 out of 40 games against New England from 2000 to 2019 Buffalo have now beaten the Patriots in four of the five recent games, which coincided with the departure of Tom Brady for Tampa Bay. The margin of loss was the largest in New England in coach Bill Belichick’s tenurethat started in 2000.
While the winds were steady on Saturday but they Bills had a hot day in cold conditions, and the game’s temperatures of seven degrees (-14C). Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, meanwhile, struggled to finish the game with just 24 of 38. He threw 223 yards and two touchdowns for Kendrick Bourne, which included an eight-yarder in the last two minutes. Jones had interceptions twice during the final stretch of his season, with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions over the final five games.
The Bills made it clear that they would put the Patriots on the back foot immediately after the opening drive with Allen impatiently sitting in his pocket, before running to his right, to avoid an the sack. Prior to getting out of bounds, Allen made a pass of eight yards to an open Knox in the corner in the back inside the goal line.
Buffalo’s defense took out the Patriots opening drive by Micah Hyde having the speed and angle for leaping interceptions, taking the ball off just as Nelson Agholor was about to get it into the endzone. Jones had also been intercepted during the Patriots’ first second-half drive the play, as his pass meant for Hunter Henry was deflected by linebacker Matt Milano and picked off by Levi Wallace.
There was no better example of New England’s sluggish performance than the way they allowed Singletary to score with 16 yards of running to complete an 89-yard scoring drive that give Buffalo in front 27-0 with 1:53 remaining in the opening half. Allen made a flawless ball of 45 yards to Stefon Diggs, who took an opportunity to get a foot on the top defensive back in New England JC Jackson who was who was a Pro Bowl selection, up the right sideline. A couple of minutes further, Singletary eluded the entire Patriots defense to reach the goal line. As the fourth quarter was approaching the end of the game, and the game now effectively finished as a contest Allen made his last touchdown of the game for offensive tackle Tommy Doyle.
In the other game on Saturday, Joe Burrow led an efficient offense that scored six times with two touchdown passes. In addition, the rookie Evan McPherson made four field goals in they Cincinnati Bengals finally made it to the playoffs after the win of 26-19 in Las Vegas.
It was a win more than three decades in the making to the Bengals. After going from being the worst team to the top of AFC North with a young squad They ended an embarrassing postseason drought that stretched over more than 31 years and included eight consecutive losses.
“It’s a great win for us, for the city, for the organization,” Burrow said. Burrow who led his team in NFL with a.97 percent of completions this season. “But we knew this would happen and it’s not an extravagant celebration as the time we took the division. We’ve taken care of things. We’re ready for the following round.”
The Bengals were able to withstand an Raiders rush to nine yards during the final minute however, Derek Carr was intercepted on fourth down by Germaine Pratt to effectively stop the game.
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As a result of some questionable officiating from Jerome Boger’s staff which could have permitted his touchdown for Tyler Boyd to count when it shouldn’t In addition, the Bengals also extended an extended postseason absence to the Raiders. Las Vegas, who won the final four games of the season to get into the playoffs, had last had a postseason win in 2002’s AFC final game.
Cincinnati scored four points for four with scoring drives in the first quarter however, there was some debate. Burrow turned right to avoid being pushed and then threw the ball close to the goal line. Play continued , despite an error in the call by an official who believed Burrow had stepped outside of the bounds. Boyd took the pass for 10 yards at the middle in the goal line to take an early lead of 20-6. The play was counted against protests from players from the Raiders.
NFL rules 7 Section 2 Article 1(m) provides: “[W]hen an official sounds the whistle erroneously while the ball is still in play, the ball becomes dead immediately … If the ball is in player possession, the team in possession may elect to put the ball in play where it has been declared dead or to replay the down.”
Las Vegas ended up losing by seven points. Raiders temporary head coach Rich Bisaccia had few complaints and said the fact that “a lot of things went both ways” regarding the officials.
“I have enough problem doing my job, I can’t do the officiating, too,” said the official. “I didn’t really talk to them about it at that time and didn’t get an explanation.”