The Buffalo Bills are going to play in the AFC Championship game for the first time since 1994… and it feels good.
The Bills faced a red-hot Baltimore Ravens team in a game that was a defensive chess match, as Buffalo tried to stifle the stampede of Baltimore. While the Ravens tried to shutdown the high-flying Bills. The chess match was ultimately won by Buffalo defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, and he had the perfect game plan to stifle the NFL’s best rushing attack in the Ravens.
The game was tight throughout it and the 17-3 score line reflects that/
With that, here’s this week stock report from Bills Wire following the Bills’ win over the Ravens in the AFC Divisional round:
Matt Milano #58 of the Bills. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Starting with the obvious, Taron Johnson won the game for the Bills. As the third quarter was winding down, the Ravens were knocking on the door of Buffalo’s end zone. But as Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson dropped back and unleashed a fastball towards his tight end Mark Andrews, Johnson jumped the pass. Johnson read Jackson the entire way, making the interception look quite easy, but once the ball was his hands he had to outrace the entire Ravens offense. He took the ball from end zone to end zone, an exceptional 101-yard pick six.
Outside of the pick-six, Taron put pressure on Jackson when he dropped back to pass, stepped up in trying to stop the run with six tackles, and broke up a pass. Johnson had a slow start to the season, but in the back half of the season he improved his game. Becoming a key contributor for a resurging Buffalo defense.
Linebacker Matt Milano had an outstanding game against the Ravens, having an all around impact for the Bills defense. Throughout the game the outside linebacker was in the backfield making it difficult for Baltimore to run the ball. He also was one of the key factors in the poor passing performance from Lamar Jackson. Milano was rushing Jackson off the edge making him uncomfortable in the pocket.
Milano’s statline emphasized his utility, he had seven tackles and broke up two passes. With either the Browns or Kansas City coming up on the horizon he’ll need to have another great game.
Against the Colts in the Wild Card weekend, the Bills couldn’t create any pressure or stop the run… that couldn’t be said against Baltimore. The Bills front-four contained Jackson, and met their running backs in the backfield often. Hughes had a sensational game coming off the edge, he made Jackson uncomfortable, and forced the Ravens tailbacks to the teeth of the Bills defense. It was a performance that seemed almost unimaginable after his poor showing against the Colts.
Hughes finished the game with two sacks, three tackles, and two quarterback hits. As the longest-tenured member of the Bills, seeing Hughes put up such a big game feels good.
What more can be said about receiver Stefon Diggs? He’s been dominate all season, and against one of the best secondary’s in the league, Diggs again was dominant. He was the safety valve for his quarterback, making big catches on third down, first down, and the all important opening touchdown. Diggs finished the game with eight catches, 106 yards, and a touchdown.
It’s safe to say that Buffalo won the trade.
The rest of the defense, positives can be said about the entire unit. It took the whole group to stop one of the hottest teams in the league. Frazier called the perfect game, he knew what the Ravens wanted to do all night and made great calls. Quarterback Josh Allen, the pressure of the moment never fazed him, but he made some questionable throws throughout the game.
Bills’ Devin Singletary. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
The rookie receiver didn’t have a great game. Gabe Davis only had a few targets throughout the content, mostly in the end zone, but he couldn’t come down with a touchdown. His first target, Josh Allen threw him a great ball, but the ball slipped right through his hands. His second target he couldn’t create any separation from Baltimore cornerback Marlon Humphrey, so he couldn’t fully extend to make the catch.
After Davis’ great game against Indianapolis, the Bills would have wanted him to build on that performance. He couldn’t create separation, thus making him anonymous in the Bills passing attack.
The second-year back didn’t benefit from a great game plan, rushing the ball just twice in the first half. With those seven carries though he didn’t do enough. Singletary had just 25 yards, an average of 3.5 yards per carry. It’s also clear that the Bills coaching staff doesn’t trust Singletary, because the Bills gave him just two carries in the first half.
Singletary also had just three catches for 12 yards. It hasn’t been a great season for the back, but he’ll need be more productive if the Bills want to make a Super Bowl appearance.
Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has had a great season, helping develop Allen, and overseeing one of the best offenses in the NFL. Against the Ravens though, it wasn’t good enough. His game plan was too simple, making the offense one-dimensional. It was surprising that Daboll completely abandoned the run from the first snap, leading to just a field goal in the first half.
This may have been the toughest challenge Daboll have faced this season, but when the Bills needed points he didn’t put his offense in a good position.
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