Josh Allen always gives the Bills a shot.
Bills Coach Sean McDermott, who is too often stuck in 1995, yet again, punted and kicked field goals far too often in Buffalo’s 33-27 overtime road loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But if there’s a takeaway from the most dramatic game in Week 14, it’s that as long as Josh Allen is the Bills’ quarterback, they’ve got a shot.
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Nothing went right for the sinking Bills early Sunday. The run defense was gashed and Tom Brady picked apart McDermott’s defense with ease, as the Buccaneers built a 24-3 halftime lead. McDermott both settled for a 21-yard field goal in the first half while trailing 10-0 and punted from his own 43-yard line with 2 minutes 18 seconds left in the third quarter when the Bills still trailed by two touchdowns.
Those decisions were in line with his past. McDermott, the defensive-minded coach, hovering his foot above the gas pedal but never stomping down, settled for chip-shot field goals in a loss to Kansas City in last season’s A.F.C. championship game.
Stymied by timidity and a porous run defense, and down, 27-10, Allen led scoring drives of 75, 46, and 70 yards in the fourth quarter to force an overtime Buffalo had no business being in. Allen threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns, and led the ground game with a rushing touchdown and 109 yards, more than double the team’s next closest runner.
Of course, Tampa Bay pulled through in the end. Brady’s 58-yard touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman dropped the Bills to 7-6, two games behind the New England Patriots, who had a bye, in the A.F.C. East.
Since storming out to a 6-3 record through mid-November, Buffalo’s flaws have become apparent. They’re not big and not overly physical, not ideal in a conference where teams carrying Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor are building postseason cases, and where the Patriots and Browns continue to brawl.